Board members


Directors at Large


Time Zones


Barbara Schmidt

Barbara lives in Germany and is active in the genealogy community there, including the development of its first national virtual genealogy conference. She is a partner representative for GenChat. Since joining the board as a director, Barbara has developed IGGP's marketing materials and social media presence as well as moderating the German partner call. Among her goals for IGGP is to emphasize efforts to support partner societies in their work.

Kenneth W. Heger

Co- Vice President
Ken is a partner representative for the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society. He is retired from the U.S. National Archives and lives in the United States. Ken has both a personal and professional interest in German genealogy and is an expert on little-known records at the Archives that are useful for genealogy research. He is leading an IGGP effort to expand the use of these governmental records for genealogical research.

Dirk Weissleder

Co-Vice President
Dirk Weissleder, born in Hannover, Germany, took his first steps in genealogy in 1982. He is co-founder of the WEISSLEDER family association and was just re-elected chair of the Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft genealogischer Verbände (DAGV), the umbrella of genealogical societies in Germany. Dirk is another co-founder of IGGP, and became General Secretary of the International Confederation for Genealogy and Heraldry (CIGH) in 2019 — further demonstration of his goal to connect genealogists worldwide.

Edie Adam

Edie Adam is a retired journalist and IT specialist whose German ancestors lived in the Russian Empire. Her relatives emigrated to the U.S. after World War II, and she has been researching her family history for more than 25 years. Edie has been a volunteer in several record indexing projects related to Germans in Russia and Poland, and is a past president of the Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe.

Gary Heyn

Gary's lifelong interest in genealogy and history stems from the stories of his great-grandmother Lydia Heyn about the “olden days.” He lives in Minnesota, and this is his first time as a member of the IGGP board. His professional experience is in corporate governance. Gary has been serving as the treasurer of the Germanic Genealogical Society. In May, he published a nonfiction novel, Standing at the Grave: A Family”s Journey from the Grand Duchy of Posen to the Prairies of North Dakota. It follows the journey of his 3rd great-grandmother and her children from Gembitz Hauland Posen to America.

Directors at Large

Sabine Akabayov

Sabine lives in Israel but is a partner representative for the Ahnenforscherstammtisch Unna. She is a professional genealogist with expertise in U.S., German and Israeli research as well as forensic genealogy. This is the first time she is serving on the IGGP board. She participated in the DNA discussion at the 2023 conference and is involved in the introduction of a DNA-Stammtisch in Germany to help researchers learn about analyzing and utilizing their DNA data. One of her goals for the IGGP is to help existing partners to reap the benefits of the partnership.

Andrea Bentschneider

Andrea is based in Germany and is among its leading expert genealogists. Her work is driven by her belief that every ancestor's story deserves recognition. She has been president of partner the Association of German-speaking Professional Genealogists since 2013, and has helped shape modern standards and accreditation systems for genealogists in Germany. Her global experience, including a decade in New York City, has honed her adaptability and intercultural understanding. This is the first time she is serving on the IGGP board. One of her goals is to help partners benefit from each other”s experiences and possibly create joint projects.

Garry Finkell

Garry Finkell was born and grew up in Albany, New York. He has a master’s degree in Industrial and Management Engineering and for much of his career did social research for the state of New York. For the past 15 years, he has worked as a medical researcher. He became a member of Palatines to America in 2009 and has held various positions in the New York Chapter. He maintained the YouTube channel for PalAm, in addition to the Facebook page for the New York Chapter. Garry created and maintains the IGGP YouTube channel, and is collecting videos for the playlist promoting the partner societies.

Timo Kracke

Timo Kracke is a hobby genealogist who has more than 25 years of experience in genealogy. He volunteers for several German societies and is the VP of the Oldenburgische Gesellschaft für Familienkunde e.V. Since 2012 Timo has been the voice of the German Podcast „der Genealoge“ and in 2014 he started the Kids-Genealogy project „die Familienforscher“ where he publishes guides and ideas about involving kids in genealogy.

Owen M. McCafferty II

Owen is a genealogist with expertise in the former German minority of southwest Lithuania (known as the Deutsche aus Litauen) as well as Polish and East Prussian research. He lives in the United States and is the founder and president of the partner society, the International Association of Germans from Lithuania (IAGL). He is the only board member who has contributed research for the BBC television program Who Do You Think You Are? This is the first time he is serving on the IGGP board; one of his goals is to help involve the next generation of genealogists and society leaders.