Project Leadership

» Administrative Section
» British Section
» German Section
» French Section
» Spanish Section
» Dutch Section
» Portuguese Section
» Italian/Latin Section


Administrative Section

Jill Crandell (Project Leader)

Jill Crandell is an assistant teaching professor in the Department of History and the director of the Center for Family History and Genealogy at Brigham Young University. She received her B.A. in family history and M.A. in history from BYU, and she is an Accredited Genealogist® in Midwestern U.S. research. Her areas of specialty are U.S. family history, with emphasis in the Midwestern States, and LDS history. She is married to Bill Crandell, and they have five children.


McKall Ruell (Student Executive Director)

McKall Ruell is 23 years old and was born in Provo, Utah, but lived in Manti, Utah from 2005 until coming to BYU in 2015 where she is majoring in Family History with a minor in World Dance. Before coming to BYU she attended Snow College in Ephraim, Utah for 3 years. McKall returned from serving a full-time mission in South Carolina in December 2014 where she learned first-hand about southern hospitality. McKall is the oldest of four children and her favorite thing to do, besides family history of course, is spending time with her family. She also loves Musical Theater and participated in the Manti Music and Dance company. She taught ages 3 to 12 at Manti Music and Dance which helped her to discover her love for teaching.


Jose Pablo Higueros Lopez (Student Executive Director)

Pablo Higueros is from Guatemala City, Guatemala. He is a freshman Pre-Management Major (looking into an Entrepreneurship Major) and a Portuguese Minor. In 2014, he served a mission to the Utah Provo Mission and returned home in 2016. In his time in Provo he decided to come back to study at BYU. He is the oldest of three children and enjoys playing the piano and playing many sports, including soccer. His father has inspired him to work in family history since he was little, and he is excited to work on the Spanish Immigrant Ancestors Project.



British Section

Miyamoto Jensen (Section Supervisor)

Miyamoto "Miya" Jensen is 22 years old and was born and raised in Laie, Oahu, HI. Her nationalities includes Samoan, Hawaiian, Japanese, German, and French. She is the oldest of five children and loves to surf with all her family members (parents, siblings, aunties, uncles, cousins) at popular spots along the North Shore of Oahu. Just recently on November 13th 2015, she married the love of her life: a handsome 6'4 Idaho farm boy in the Laie Hawaii Temple. In January 2014, Miya returned from serving a full-time mission in the Japan Tokyo Mission. She is majoring in Family History with a Polynesian Family History emphasis. Her favorite things include dancing to Beyonce, exercising, laughing with her friends, watching "Psyche" with her husband, country swing dancing on date night, beating her in-laws in card games, and doing family history work.


Rachel McAllister (Verifier)

Rachel McAllister is a 23-year-old junior at BYU from Flower Mound, Texas. She comes from a family of 9, with 5 beautiful sisters and a really awesome brother-in-law. She is currently studying Sociology, with minors in Non-Profit Management and International Development. Her dream is to work helping refugees, either through non-profit organizations, or through human rights law. She recently returned home from the best year and a half of her life (so far), serving a mission in Tokyo, Japan. Rachel loves to dance, travel, hike, cook, eat (especially Japanese food) and go adventuring! Her ancestors are from Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, Germany, and Switzerland. She loves being able to help others help their ancestors through genealogy.


McKall Ruell (Verifier)

McKall Ruell is 23 years old and was born in Provo, Utah, but lived in Manti, Utah from 2005 until coming to BYU in 2015 where she is majoring in Family History with a minor in World Dance. Before coming to BYU she attended Snow College in Ephraim, Utah for 3 years. McKall returned from serving a full-time mission in South Carolina in December 2014 where she learned first-hand about southern hospitality. McKall is the oldest of four children and her favorite thing to do, besides family history of course, is spending time with her family. She also loves Musical Theater and participated in the Manti Music and Dance company. She taught ages 3 to 12 at Manti Music and Dance which helped her to discover her love for teaching.



German Section

Sadie Shelton (Section Supervisor)

Sadie Shelton is a 19-year-old Sophomore at BYU from Boise, Idaho. She comes from a family of six with three super cute younger sisters. She is currently studying Microbiology and hopes to become a doctor one day. She recently returned from a study abroad in Vienna, Austria. She has obtained a love of German from her mom and a love of family history from her grandma. Sadie loves to read, play the piano, and nerd out at whatever superhero movie is currently playing.


Adam Evans (Verifier)

Adam Evans was raised as the oldest child of six in a happy little valley not far from BYU. He grew up wanting to dig up dinosaur bones until he started taking his first real language classes in high school and hasn’t looked back since. Between 2012 and 2014 he served a mission in the Alps, learning German and a few dialects that claim to be German. He is currently working on two majors in German and Japanese, but still finds time whenever possible to study Arabic, Russian and Welsh. Adam unexpectedly discovered a love for family history when he received a church calling in it, and has spent numerous hours researching his roots back to England, Germany, North Ireland, Scotland, Switzerland and especially Wales. When he isn’t learning about languages or ancestors, Adam’s other passions include travel, western animation, international cinema, dancing, all kinds of games and learning 14th century swordsmanship.


Jennica Baird (Verifier)

Jennica Baird was born in Provo, Utah. She grew up in the middle of four brothers until her little sister came when she was eight years old. During her mission in Berlin, Germany, she found out how amazing family history is. In that time, she found hundreds of names to bring to the temple. She loves playing and watching soccer (German soccer). Her major is currently Industrial Design and hopes to return someday to Germany to design soccer equipment for Adidas.



French Section

Mara Hurst (Verifier)

Mara Hurst is a 20 year old Junior from Vancouver, Washington. She learned French in high school and served an LDS mission in French Polynesia. Her major is International Relations, with an emphasis in European Politics, and she hopes to work with the State Department someday. She speaks French, Spanish, and Norwegian, and is working on Icelandic. Genealogy has been important to her ever since she was called to be a Family History Consultant during high school, during which time she found out about her strong Norwegian and German roots. Mara loves to watch soccer, learn languages, study history, watch The Office, and eat all kinds of food. She is also passionate about all things Scandinavian or relating to cats.


Rosalee Farmer (Verifier)

Rosalee Farmer is a 22 year old Junior studying Communication Disorders. She grew up in Kirkland, Washington and is the sixth of seven kids with four sisters and two brothers. She loves hiking and spending time with her family. She served an LDS mission in the France Paris Mission and loves the french language and culture. She has always loved helping her dad with their Swedish family history and is enjoying learning more about family history work. Rosalee loves to play both ultimate frisbee and volleyball but she also enjoys reading fantasy books when she isn't busy reading textbooks. She plans on graduating from BYU in April of 2019 and starting grad school right away so that she can become a voice therapist one day.



Spanish Section

Virginia Gutierrez (Section Supervisor)

Virginia Gutierrez was born in Porterville, California, and was raised there and in Tepetlixpa, Mexico. She is a double major in Latin American Studies and Microbiology. Her double major explains her two passions: diseases and her own culture! She ultimately desires to help Latin America with the health issues they face. In 2014, she was called to serve in the Lisbon Portugal Mission. She was thrilled to serve in Portugal, seeing that her sister had served there nine months earlier. Consequently, she speaks English, Spanish, and Portuguese. She is excited to use her language skills to help with the Immigrant Ancestors Project!


Jose Pablo Higueros Lopez (Verifier)

Pablo Higueros is from Guatemala City, Guatemala. He is a freshman Pre-Management Major (looking into an Entrepreneurship Major) and a Portuguese Minor. In 2014, he served a mission to the Utah Provo Mission and returned home in 2016. In his time in Provo he decided to come back to study at BYU. He is the oldest of three children and enjoys playing the piano and playing many sports, including soccer. His father has inspired him to work in family history since he was little, and he is excited to work on the Spanish Immigrant Ancestors Project.


Jeffrey Fraatz (Verifier)

Jeffrey Fraatz was raised in Coban, Guatemala. He is the second one of four children in his family. He served his mission in Los Angeles, California (2015-2017) where he learned that he wanted to be more involved in helping people, that’s how he chose his major and minor. He has plans to major in Public Health, with a minor on psychology. He is excited to use his skills in the language of Spanish in order to help in the Spanish Immigrant Ancestors Project.


Francisca Zeballos (Verifier)

Francisca Zeballos is from Santiago, Chile. She is a senior in Family studies and business management minor, She is hoping to work in either an educational leadership position or as a high school counselor. She is the fourth child of five. All of whom have attended BYU. She loves to cook, hike and read. All of her family members have worked on family history, which has motivated her to be part of this project and to work on her own ancestors which coincidentally also come from Spain.


Nicole Gomez (Verifier)

Nicole Gomez is 25 years and was born in Coyhaique, Chile. She is a Pre-management major and transferred to BYU from the LDS Business College. In 2017, she came back from serving a mission in the Germany-Berlin mission. She is back at the center after being at LDS Business College and her mission, which shows how much she loves the Spanish Immigrant Ancestors Project. She is again excited to work here!



Dutch Section


Portuguese Section

Larissa Vecchi (Section Supervisor)

Larissa Vecchi is a Freshman Communications major with an emphasis on News Media. She was born in São Paulo, Brazil and has spent her youth moving between countries. Consequently she speaks both Portuguese and English, and sees herself as a mix of both cultures. She is the youngest of four children and shares her unique background with her three brothers. Her Brazilian ancestry inspires her work with genealogy. She loves her people and loves the opportunity to help with indexing and individual family trees. Larissa is grateful to be studying at BYU and is excited to be reopening its Family History Portuguese department.


Hannah Concha (Verifier)

Hannah Concha was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She studying English at BYU (at the ELC) to go on to her masters degree in Sport Acupuncture. She graduated with a degree in Physical education and acupuncture. She served a mission in Recife, Brazil in 2012. She is the third of four in her family. She speaks Portuguese, Spanish because her father is Bolivian. She is very happy to work in the Portuguese project and to help with family history as she always helped her family members with theirs. She is also excited to work in Portuguese to help people of her nationality with their genealogy.


Luciana Chase (Verifier)

Luciana Chase is from Sao Paulo, Brazil. She is graduated in Law School from a Brazilian University, and is currently doing a Masters in Comparative Law at BYU. She speaks fluent Portuguese and English and basics in Spanish. She is married and sealed at the Kansas City Temple. She loves Family History and that is the reason that she is currently serving a Family History Mission (2017-2018). She is really excited to work in the Portuguese Immigrant Ancestors Project.



Italian/Latin section

Sariah McMurray (Section Supervisor)

Sariah McMurray is a senior here at BYU, majoring in European Studies with a minor in Family History. She grew up in a military family but claims Ohio as her home state. Her interests include traveling the world, trying new foods, and learning new cultures. After serving full-time in the Italy Milan Mission she fell completely in love with its language, culture, and people, and since then cannot get enough of anything Italian! She plans to continue doing Italian Family History and hopefully working internationally in her future as well.


Michael Bresciano (Verifier)

Michael Bresciano is a senior at BYU, majoring in Latin American Studies with a minor in Global Business and Literacy. He is from a family of New York-Italians and proud of his Sicilian heritage. Michael served a full-time mission to Cuiabá, Brazil. As lover of food and culture Michael loves to travel and learn new recipes and languages. He has been to Japan, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Canada, and the USA. He speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese. He is also desperately trying to learn Italian for his job as an Italian Verifier for the BYU History department but is very excited to be working on the Italian Immigrant Ancestors Project.