Family History Library British Isles Research Team

September 9, 2019  - by 

The purpose of the British Isles research team is to help you discover, gather, and connect your family from areas such as Australia, New Zealand, and, of course, the British Isles. If there is anyone who understands the challenges and triumphs you’ve faced while doing British Isles genealogy, it is this group.

This team is known for their passion for teaching others, both at the Family History Library and around the world, and they love sharing what they know about effective ways to track down ancestors.

Meet the Team

Each member of the team plays a unique role in helping you with your British Isles research.

  • Dan Poffenberger is the manager, known for his determination in solving tough family history mysteries and for his kindness.
  • Phillip Dunn brings 40 years of research and experience to the team. His focus is on England, Scotland, and Ireland.
  • Craig Foster is known for his wealth of knowledge, especially on how history has shaped the family history records of the British Isles.
  • Kori Robbins is the newest member of the team. She’s an Anglophile who has a great love for helping others find their ancestors.

The team also answers some of the questions posted on the online community and helps train the missionaries you meet on the Family History Library’s British floor. They are always on the lookout for helpful items that we can add to our collection to help you further your research.

A foresty british isles landscape with a castle in the far distance.

Staying Up to Date

The British Isles team works hard to keep their knowledge current. That way, when you ask them questions, you are getting the most up-to-date answers.

This means swapping useful websites or collections they find with each other and attending professional conferences. They also spend a lot of their time in the trenches, doing their own family history and exploring archives in places such as Ireland and England.

It’s a lot of work, but the British Isles team is driven by much of the same stuff that drives your own research. It is an area of the world that somehow feels familiar to members of the team, as if a part of them belongs there. Their quest for knowledge and the tolerance for going cross-eyed staring at lines of cursive comes from a need to discover the story of their family and of themselves.

For help with your British Isles research, check out the 2019 British Isles Research Seminar on September 23–27. You can attend these classes at the Family History Library or watch the classes via an online webinar.

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  1. I sure could use a little help, roots from my grandfathers side of my family all come from England, Scotland, and Ireland… for me, that’s where it is difficult.. roadblocks on a few great grandfathers and grandmothers… help….

  2. There is not much mention of Wales. My family comes from Anglesey and Caernarfon area with the later one from Denbighshire. As you can see my name is Jones and family Evans, Row lands, Morris; with a series of ap’s and ferch’s. The assistance I get is very sparedic as no one in Salt Lake seems to be interested in Wales. I visit the various institutions to get information when I am overin my home country. Last time I obtained over a thousand names and have since carried out the Temple work for them. I still have problems with those relatives in or prior to 1500s

    1. Cliff, Thank you for all the diligent work you have been doing with your family history! A resource that might be helpful to you is the FamilySearch Wiki. There is a great country page that explains in depth about Wales genealogy. Hope it helps!

  3. One of the greatest tools that any UK family researcher can use is the government General Records Office (GRO) database. This is found at I know it only starts at 1837 but it allows UK families to discover those “little ones” who were born and died between census records. Not all families made it to the 1911 census when the question was asked as to how many children had been born to the couple and how many were still living, so this is a fantastic way to check and often find missing “little ones”. I may be speaking to the converted but when we thought our family lines complete for a generation think of our surprise and joy when checking this database we found additional ones never before found or even mentioned. These all show the mother’s maiden name so you can easily check that they are with the right family. I hope this helps as well.