Board Bios

Paul RoltschPresident

Graduated in 1982 from Michigan State University with a BS in Analytical Chemistry. I have been doing my genealogy for the last 25 years with one fraternal from Hamburg and Uthelde. My wife’s family is from Germany as well. I have worked with various statewide volunteer organizations for the past 30 years including a stint where I worked the State of Michigan Education Technology Plan back in the 1998. I have a technology background having worked in Software Development for a Michigan company. I currently am the Newsletter Editor for the Michigan Genealogical Council.

Brenda Leyndyke – Secretary

Brenda Leyndyke’s German roots are deep on her maternal side of the family. Those roots are in Prussia and Bavaria. She has made familial connections in present day Germany. Brenda is the past President of the Michigan Genealogical Council. She updated the “Research in the States-Michigan” book published by the National Genealogical Society.  For the past twelve years, Brenda has written an award-winning genealogy blog, Journey to the Past, a two-time winner of Family Tree Magazine’s 40 Best Genealogy Blogs. Brenda has served roles in Michigan genealogical and historical societies and is looking forward to serving as Secretary of MIGGS.

Ed Redmer – Treasurer

Ed has degrees in Engineering and Business Administration from the University of Michigan. He retired from the Michigan Bell Telephone Company as an Engineering Design Manager responsible for Detroit and the Downriver Detroit areas. His family has been rooted in the Detroit area for over 100 years. His interest in family history began with some chance discoveries in the Burton Historical Library in Detroit.

Ed has served in several capacities in the Genealogical Society of Washtenaw County, the Michigan Genealogical Society, the Irish Genealogical Society of Michigan and the Michigan Germanic Genealogical Society.

Shannon Gordon – Director (expires 2023)

I graduated from the University of Michigan, German Language and Literature, in 1989.  I studied in Freiburg in the Junior Year Abroad program.  I have taught German and English for both high schoolers and adults, and have done some translation.  I am a rural mail carrier in Dexter, MI.  I’m a member of the Society for American Baseball Research, focusing on the 19th Century; and of the American Name Society, where I focus on nicknames within the field of onomastics.  I have several German lines in my family tree, but the clearest one traces back to Gotha in Thuringia.  Some of my ancestors left their home in the mid 1800s, and eventually established several meat markets in Detroit.  I’m working toward certification in Genealogical Research through Boston University. 

Rodger Wolf – Director (expires 2024)

I graduated from Western Michigan University in December 1972 and began working at the University of Michigan. I needed to leave the University to obtain my Certified Public Accountant license. I returned to the University and continued working until my retirement in July 2010. I began my genealogical research that same year. I have many German brick walls but was able to trace one line back to Kinderheim, Germany. The late Jan Tripp and I started the DNA Special Interest Group as part of the Genealogical Society of Washtenaw County (GSWC) a few years ago and I still chair it to the present. I have been on the board of GSWC for many years. I have been the Treasurer of the UM Retirees Association for many years.

Julia Hanneman-Schoenbach – Director (expires 2025)

Julia Hanneman-Schoenbach has been exploring family history for over 40 years.  She has Pommeranian and Saxony German roots, as well as Luxembourg, Norwegian, and Cornish (Cornwall, England) ancestors,  She has also helped her husband with his Bavarian, Posen, and Hungarian ancestors. ; She is active in the Waterford Genealogical Society, where she is the second Tuesday evening of the month convenor  (first 30 minutes for any Germanic questions);  she also  belongs to the Cornish Connection of Lower Michigan, and Southwest Wisconsin Cornish Society  She grew up around Milwaukee Wisconsin.  She is a speaker registered with the Michigan Genealogical Council. Continuing to work as a chaplain, she lives in Waterford, MI with her husband.