Project Leadership

» Administrative Section
» British Section
» German Section
» French Section
» Italian Section
» Spanish Section
» Dutch Section
» Portuguese 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.


Charlotte Noelle Champenois (Student Executive Director)

Charlotte Champenois was born in Denmark and lived there until the age of nine, when she and her family moved to Provo, Utah. She returned from her mission in Berlin, Germany, one year ago; as such, she speaks Danish, English, and German on a daily basis because she loves all three. Realizing how much family history work means to her, she declared a major in Family History, and is also studying German and Editing. Her love of genealogy stems from indexing and from doing her own family work, both of which have been a joint family effort the last few years. Among other things, Charlotte loves German, hiking, airplanes, and spending time with family and close friends.



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.


Maren Peterson (Verifier)

Maren Peterson was raised in Visalia, California. She is in her third year at BYU majoring in History and minoring in Political Science. Her favorite time periods of history are Colonial America and WWII. She is hoping to work in museums with archives. Her hobbies include reading, writing fiction and making and selling journals. She visited London for a few days a couple years ago and she now enjoys working with the British records. It gives her a chance to learn more about a country she loves and learn more about it's history.



German Section

Charlotte Noelle Champenois (Section Supervisor)

Charlotte Champenois was born in Denmark and lived there until the age of nine, when she and her family moved to Provo, Utah. She returned from her mission in Berlin, Germany, one year ago; as such, she speaks Danish, English, and German on a daily basis because she loves all three. Realizing how much family history work means to her, she declared a major in Family History, and is also studying German and Editing. Her love of genealogy stems from indexing and from doing her own family work, both of which have been a joint family effort the last few years. Among other things, Charlotte loves German, hiking, airplanes, and spending time with family and close friends.


Sadie Shelton (Verifier)

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.



French Section

Craig Staples (Section Supervisor)

Craig Staples is currently a Civil Engineering major, with a minor in French Studies. He is from Marysville, California, and is the fourth of seven children. His three brothers served missions in Chile and Argentina. He loves sports, especially soccer which he has played since he was five years old. He enjoys playing basketball, tennis, and volleyball. Craig graduated high school in 2011 as valedictorian, where he started learning French. After graduation, he started his mission in the Paris France Mission, a combination of France and Belgium. He served there from September 2011 to September 2013. Upon finishing his mission, he started school at Brigham Young University. He has worked in various jobs, including lawn care, medical supply retail, and French tutoring. He loves the French culture, speaking French, and attempting to recreate French pastries. He often says that if he was not born in America, he would have been born in France. Despite the fact that his Family History experience is limited, Craig felt that this job would help him become better acquainted with Family History as well as give him an opportunity to improve his French reading skills.


jennifer wenyi (Verifier)

Jennifer Wenyi was born and raised in France in a city called Rennes in Brittany. Her family was converted when she was 9, and she served a mission in Madagascar between 2013 and 2015. After her mission she moved to Provo in order to study English at the ELC-BYU (BYU English Language Center) and then hopes to transfer and study Psychology at BYU-Provo. So, Malagasy French and English are some of the languages that she speaks. She likes music, sports and spending quality time with people. Her interest for genealogy comes from her passion for history and her desire to do the work for her Congolese ancestors (Africa).


Haley Grizzell (Verifier)

Haley Grizzell is currently a Political Science major. She is from Aurora, Illinois, and is the second of six children. Her brother is serving in the Italy Rome mission. She loves to read, travel, and try new foods. She enjoys playing tennis, and was a member of her high school’s tennis team, playing both singles and doubles. She has played trombone since she was in fourth grade. In 2016, Haley graduated from high school and received an award recognizing her as the most promising and dedicated Social Studies student in her graduating class. She started school at Brigham Young University in Fall 2016. She has worked as an English and reading tutor, a hostess at a sit-down restaurant, and most recently as a Quality Department intern at a food science company in Bloomingdale, Illinois. Haley took French as a child, and took all the French classes available at her high school. She was able spend a few weeks in France her freshman year of high school, and loved every day of it. She loves French music and food. She has recently done some research on her French ancestors and was excited to participate in the Immigrant Ancestors Project. She hopes to improve her French reading skills and gain a deeper understanding and love of French culture.



Italian Section

Sadie Fuller (Section Supervisor)

Sadie Fuller is from Maple Valley, Washington. She is studying Experience Industry Management at BYU and is one of five children. She served in the Milan, Italy mission from May 2013 to November 2014 where she learned the Italian language and developed a great love for the Italian people and culture. She often tries to make Italian dishes like Spaghetti alla Carbonara but misses the food in Italy. Sadie plans to work in corporate event planning when she graduates and loves to travel, eat, hike, read and spend time with family and friends.


Marco Pesci (Verifier)

Marco Pesci is from Cedar Hills, Utah. He is the third child of four siblings and is an Italian-American. Marco is currently studying Pre-Management and plans to obtain a minor in Italian. He served an LDS mission in Milan, Italy from 2014-2016. Here his love and appreciation of the Italian language and heritage was truly solidified. Because of the connection he shares with Italy and the Italian people, Marco finds great satisfaction and drive in working in this section of the Immigrant Ancestors Project.



Spanish Section

Nathanael Jensen (Section Supervisor)

Nathan Jensen was raised in Dayton, Ohio. During middle school he moved with his family to Okinawa, Japan. Interestingly enough, he started his studies of the Spanish language in the island of Okinawa. After spending 5 years in Japan he returned to Ohio with his family where he graduated high school. After graduating Nathan left to serve an LDS mission in Guatemala. He fell in love with the language, the three wheeled taxis, tortillas, and the Guatemalan people! After returning home he began his studies at BYU and is currently majoring in Neuroscience. He hopes to attend medical school and become a physician. He loves to show off on his skateboard, BYU sports and family history!


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.


Virginia Gutierrez (Verifier)

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!



Dutch Section

Altheda Geurts (Section Supervisor)

Altheda Geurts was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, but moved to Washington DC when she was eight because her mom joined the US Navy. Four years and a newfound love of libraries later, Altheda’s family was stationed overseas at Naval Air Station Sigonella near Catania, Siciliy, Italy—home of the best food in the world. Over the next three years, she traveled across Europe and throughout Egypt and Ecuador, developing a love of new people and places. Altheda finished high school in Clarksville, MD before heading off to BYU as a freshman in 2011, where she bounced between majors like Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Recreation Management, and Art History. After serving in the Maryland Baltimore Mission office from 2014-2015, she wizened up, joined BYU’s Family History program, and has not looked back since.



Portuguese Section

Mariana Souza (Verifier)

Mariana Souza is from São Paulo, Brazil. She moved to Provo in 2014 to study English, and later on she went to LDS Business College to study interior design. In 2017 she started studying construction and facilities management at BYU. She is the oldest of three girls and her hobbies include reading books, watching TV shows, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and with her family when she is in Brazil or they are in Utah. She misses the warm weather of Brazil but is happy and excited to be able to come to BYU and work with the Portuguese section of the Immigrant Ancestors Project.


Larissa Vecchi (Verifier)

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.