About Me

LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG®



Certified Genealogist®

I worked as a tax lawyer for 35 years before retiring as a Partner/Principal from Ernst & Young in 2013; however, genealogy has long been my avocation. I am now an author, lecturer, and a Facilitator (teaching assistant) in the Boston University Genealogical Research Certificate Program (online). In 2016 I began a three-year term as a Trustee on the Board for Certification of Genealogists, and in 2017 the Board elected me as Treasurer (a member of the Executive Committee). In 2018 I volunteered as a Mentor for ProGen 37 (the independent course of study that I completed as a student in ProGen13).


Board-certified Genealogist (no. 1065), effective 10 September 2015, Board for the Certification of Genealogists®, Washington, D.C. 

*The words Certified Genealogist and the designation CG are registered certification marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic competency evaluations, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office. 


John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, B.A. 1975

New York University School of Law, J.D. (1978), LL.M. (Tax) (1982)

Bar Admissions ( I am no longer engaged in the practice of law)

New York (1979)

Washington, D.C. (1983)

South Carolina (1998)

Genealogical Education (Highlights)

Boston University Center for Professional Research (Certificate in Genealogical Research, Spring 2011)

Genealogical Institute on Federal Records, 2012 (Formerly the National Institute on Genealogical Research)

ProGen Study Group 13, July 2011-January 2013

GenProof 25 (Mastering Genealogical Proof Study Group) (October 2013-January 2014)

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, January 2016 (Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum); January 2017 (You Be The Judge: A Practicum Using Standards to Evaluate Genealogical Work); January 2018 (A Practical Approach: Establishing Genealogical Proof With DNA).





First Place, International Society of Family History Writers and Editors, 2013 Excellence-in-writing Competition, Category 5 (Unpublished Material by Published Authors); for the article "Searching for the Slave Owners of Isaac Garrett: Expanding Research Beyond Online Sources."

A Guide to Researching African American Ancestors in Laurens County, SC, and Selected Finding Aids (Xlibris, 2016) was named as a Finalist in the AFRICAN AMERICAN Category of the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the world's largest not-for-profit book awards program for independent publishers and self-published authors.

2017 Phillis Wheatley Literary Award (for literary works dedicated to the history of enslaved or indentured people of African descent in the United States of America prior to 6 December 1865), Sons & Daughters of the U.S. Middle Passage 

Lineage Society

Sons and Daughters of the United States Middle Passage,  Registrar General (10 March 2017-Present). Hear about this lineage society on blogtalk radio, and read the edition of the SDUSMP Newsletter that lists my "Honored Ancestor."

Genealogical and Historical Society Memberships

Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Life Membership, Greenville SC Upstate Chapter

Association of Professional Genealogists, National Capital Area Chapter

Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Life Member

Avery Institute of Afro-American History & Culture, Charleston, SC, Life Membership

Fairfax Genealogical Society

Genealogical Speakers Guild

International Society of Family History Writers and Editors

National Genealogical Society, Life Membership

New England Historic Genealogical Society

South Carolina Genealogical Society, Laurens District Chapter

Utah Genealogical Association