log in


Our Next Meeting: 

Apr 9, 2022
Click here to watch live on Facebook

Presentation: Laurie Werner Castillo

Why Can’t I Find My Family? — Digging Deeper on Surnames

Meeting Location – The LDS “Red Chapel”, 4050 North Timpview Drive (650 East), Provo, Utah
Click here for Map

The regular monthly meetings of the Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group are held on the second Saturday of each month, except December, from 10 AM to noon. The meetings are free and open to the public. They are held at the Red Brick LDS Chapel, 4050 North 650 East (Timpview Drive), Provo, Utah, usually in the Cultural Hall.  If you would like to receive email notification of classes planned for the next meeting, go to our blog page for instructions on how to subscribe. The Group is experimenting with live streaming of the main presentations through Facebook. To watch it online live click on UVTAGG Facebook website link in the box above and view the meeting remotely.

Laurie Werner Castillo

So many things can happen to a surname over the course of time. If we lose track of that name, we lose track of our ancestral family and research grinds to a halt. This presentation will examine the most likely sources of name variations and teach you to be on the alert for them. Some changes are a matter of literacy, communication issues such as accents, translation, transcription errors and so much more.


Laurie Werner Castillo is the 1st Vice President of UVTAGG and is a professional genealogist who has done historical background research for books and family research for private clients. She has written articles for publication and presented at numerous conferences, national, state and local, including RootsTech, FGS (Federation of Genealogical Societies), UGA (Utah Genealogical Association), and BYU (Brigham Young University). She has worked with the UGA in several positions and for many years has been a Family History Missionary, Consultant, and Teacher at the BYU Family History Library, a Stake Family Records Extraction Director, and a Ward Temple and Family History Consultant. She specializes in research in continental Europe and Scandinavia, especially Germany, Sweden, France, and the Netherlands. She has researched most everywhere in the U.S. and particularly enjoys New England, Midwest, and the “Western Frontier”. Besides all this, she is a U.S. Census specialist and is well-versed in Early LDS Research. Laurie was born in Santa Monica, California and raised in West Los Angeles. In high school she participated in musical groups and was a point guard on the girls basketball team. She attended BYU where she met and married Jerry Castillo from San Antonio, Texas. Jerry also works with technical aspects and teaches classes at UVTAGG. Laurie graduated from BYU with a BS in Family and Consumer Economics and the Castillo’s live in Orem. She was a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Trainer for the City of Orem, Utah, and did Earthquake Preparedness presentations. They have two grown children and 6 grandchildren.

The following class is scheduled after the main presentation (Start Time 11:10).

Class Presenter: Laurie Werner Castillo

BIO: See above

Title: Pinpointing Ancestral Locations with Surname Distribution Maps


Online surname distribution maps are now available as a tool to help locate the place of origin for a surname. Some map systems allow comparison of where 2 or more names occur, helping you to see where ancestral families came together. Many types of maps are available for a number of countries of the world.

Please note: Additional classes will be taught at the meeting location when meeting attendance justifies it.

The meetings are always open to the public and generally open with announcements that include what is happening in technology that effects family history work. A featured guest speaker will then make a one hour presentation on a topic of general interest relating to some aspect of technology and genealogy. Following the main presentation 3 or 4 classes are taught relating to technology and genealogy. These are at all levels from beginning to advanced and typically include classes about various genealogy programs and instruction for using the Internet for Family History work. The classes vary from month to month. There is a list of teachers and their specialties on the Teachers page. A few of the teachers have provided class outlines or summaries for some of their classes. For information about the meetings or about the Group, email us at uvtagginfo@gmail.com or call or text Gerhard Ruf at 801-602-5048.