About Dr. Shelley Murphy

Dr. Shelley Murphy

Dr. Shelley Murphy is the Descendant Project Researcher joining the Division for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in March 2021.

Her background spans with nonprofit and local government work focused primarily on real estate, affordable housing and fair housing discrimination issues. An avid genealogist for over 30 years, Dr. Shelley Viola Murphy, aka “familytreegirl,” was born and raised in Michigan, now living in central Virginia. She conducts genealogy workshops at local, state and national conferences. Murphy is known for her inspiring & interactive “SO WHAT” with genealogical research, along with interesting problem-solving methodology lectures such as the use of Timelines.

Murphy is also a coordinator and instructor at the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI) and serves on the Boards of the Library of Virginia. Albemarle Charlottesville and Fluvanna Historical Societies. She is the President, Coordinator and Instructor at the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI) and has developed educational programs for the Center for Family History at the IAAM. She holds membership in AAHGS NGS, APG, DAR, and local genealogy groups. Dr. Murphy’s personal research focuses on Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia/West Virginia, South Carolina, and Tennessee.


DM (Doctorate in Management – Organizational Leadership)
MA (Organizational Management)
BS (Social Psychology)


African American
Civil War
Federal Records
Land Records
Lineage Societies
Military (WW1 and WW2)
Revolutionary War


National Genealogical Society
Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, VA
Albemarle/Charlottesville African American Genealogical Group, VA
Central Virginia Genealogical Association
Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, VA
Jefferson County Historical Society, WV
Benzie County Historical Society, MI
Franklin County, Historical Society, PA
Virginia Genealogical Society, VA
Society of First African American Families of English America

9 Responses to About Dr. Shelley Murphy

  1. KTC says:

    Good morning, Shelley. I just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I look forward to reading each and every one of your genealogical posts. You certainly have some fascinating kin!

  2. Katherine e. Slaughter says:

    Hi Shelley. Id love to talk with you sometime about a research issue and share info.

    Let me know when you might be available. I assume you have my email from below.

    Kay Slaughter

  3. Jean M Bohnhoff says:

    Cheri Hudson Passey suggested that I contact you. I just watched a video about 1619 and I am in tears. My 4th Great Grandfather was Samuel H Goin, 1801 to 1885.
    My 5th Great Grandfather is Jordan D Gowen/Goin, 1780 to 1854. 6th GG William Goin 1750-1815. I had a DNA test done and found a cousin. Her name is Cheryl She has been doing genealogy for 30 years. She sent me this video and says we are related to the 1619 20 and odd.. In my DNA, I am 0.5% Angolan and Congolese. Cheryl also said we have a cousin, Kathryn Knight who wrote the book “Unveiled The 20 and Odd”. Could this possibly be true that I am a descendant of the 20 and odd?
    Jean B

  4. Katherine Wendt says:

    Do you know of any researchers who tweet about their enslaved ancestors from South Carolina? I would be interested in following their work.

    • Yes, I would do a search for South Carolina pages on FB, Just Ask is one. Also find the researchers who research African American’s and follow their pages. Cheri Hudson Passey is one.

  5. Lorraine Powers says:

    Good Evening
    I am particularly interested in the research you have done on Goings. That is my maiden name. My father was born in Lima, Ohio and other Goings seem to be from that area.

  6. Dale Hastin says:

    I am trying to research my granddaughter’s lineage and have major problems prior to 1870.
    I have found Derry Wyche Sr. had signed a
    Georgia, Returns of Qualified Voters and Reconstruction Oath Books, 1867-1869
    Does this mean he had been enslaved?
    He is supposedly the s/o T.C. or T.L. Wyche & Leah Wyche. The only TC/L Wyche I found was a white plantation owner who died in GA.
    Are you able to help me?
    I’ve been doing research for over 40 years and this is the hardest lineage I have ever worked on.

  7. Carla Richardson says:

    Very informative

  8. Andrew Dibble says:

    Dr. Murphy,
    My name is Andrew Dibble and I’m researching the Thomas S. Lovett family, the developer/owner of the Hill Top House Hotel in Harpers Ferry, WV. in 1888. I’m also want to learn more about an African American business owner during the late 1800’s- early 1900’s.
    Segregation, Jim Crow and racial tension were prominent during this time. Any help would be appreciated to learn about the Lovett family, Storer College, or Harpers Ferry.
    Thank you,
    Andrew Dibble

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