James M. Beidler writes Roots & Branches, an award-winning weekly newspaper column on genealogy that is the only syndicated feature on that topic in Pennsylvania. He is also a columnist for German Life magazine and is editor of Der Kurier, the quarterly journal of the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society. He is also an instructor for online Family Tree University.
He was the President of the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors from 2010 to 2012, and is the former Executive Director for the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania. He served as national co-chairman for the 2008 Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Philadelphia.
Beidler is also frequent contributor to other periodicals ranging from scholarly journals such as The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine to popular-interest magazines such as Ancestry Magazine and Family Tree Magazine. He also wrote the chapter on genealogy for Pennsylvania: A History of the Commonwealth, published jointly by the Penn State Press and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
As a lecturer, he was a part of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council’s acclaimed Commonwealth Speakers program from 2002 to 2009, and has been a presenter at numerous conferences. In addition to being a member of numerous genealogical, historical, and lineage societies, Beidler also sits on Pennsylvania’s State Historic Records Advisory Board as well as the selection committee for the Pennsylvania Digital Newspaper Project.
Beidler was born in Reading, PA, and raised in nearby Berks County, where he currently resides and is an eighth-generation member of Bern Reformed United Church of Christ. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Hofstra University in Long Island, NY, with a BA in Political Science in 1982.
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