About Us

The Heritage Education Commission is an organization developed for the purpose of creating, initiating, and conducting programs and projects which aid in the preservation or restoration of the cultural heritage in the service of the Upper Midwest region.

The Commission's board of directors meets on the first Tuesday of the month at 4:00 pm 521 Main Ave,  Moorhead, MN
Commission Members are:



First Year

Les Bakke


Les Bakke, Information Technology Director Emeritus, MSUM, is a past president of the Heritage Education Commission. He is currently coordinating the Commission's Veteran's Oral History project which is dedicated to collecting oral histories from area veterans, especially WW II era veterans. Les has been a Commission member since 1994. He is also the Commission secretary.


Angie Beaton Angie Beaton joined the Heritage Education Commission in 2015. As a graduate of NDSU’s Public History program, presenting history in a compelling way to the public is a particular passion of mine. I’m very interested in all types of educational opportunities that are outside of a traditional classroom and in providing opportunities for life-long learners to continue their history education. Helping people with family histories is a great way to spark an interest in history that could reach past their particular genealogy. I also have experience working with oral histories – both doing interviews and in transcription work – and feel that oral histories are an excellent resources to capture stories and experiences from members of the community that would otherwise not have a chance to share them. My professional experience with the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County and with the FM Nordic Culture Clubs has further sharpened my interest in helping people learn about their heritage. 2015
Linda Folk Linda, a graduate of Concordia College, spent a career in health care until retiring in October 2013 to the Detroit Lakes area. A trunk load of old family photos and letters started Linda's interest in family history when she was in fifth grade. In addition to other sources for genealogy, she has used the Torah, Holy Bible, Koran, Norse Sagas and The Hjemskringla to trace her family history. Linda created a colorful family history book for the younger generations of her family. She is a member of Gudbrandsdalslaget, an organization for descendants of immigrants from the Gudbrandsdal Valley of Norway. Linda has traced her maternal lines directly to several Viking Kings including Harald Harfagre "Fair Hair", Saint Olaf II Haraldsson of Norway and Harald "Blue Tooth" of Denmark. Her husband's and her own paternal lines were traced to English, French and Spanish royalty. She has had fun making family connections with many famous and infamous individuals. Linda wants to make it easy for anyone to get started or to continue learning their family history stories. 2018
Dave Gaboury Dave graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead with a degree in Computer Science, followed by a 30-year career at Great Plains Software and Microsoft. He started researching his family history in the mid 1990s and began attending some of the HEC Family History Workshops at that time. Now retired, Dave spends a lot of time researching his French-Canadian ancestry, going all the way back to the origins of New France and Acadia, and continuing through immigrations to several New England states. 2018
Luana Gilstrap Luana began working on her family history in college. She earned her B.A. in English from UCLA and remained there to earn her Masters in Library Science. She has worked as a genealogical librarian in two different libraries. Over the years she has taught family history courses at colleges, been a presenter at numerous genealogy seminars, and for five years was an instructor in the training program at the Los Angeles Regional Family History Library. Recently she was asked to be the Director of the Fargo LDS Family History Center. Her travels have taken her into courthouses, libraries, and archives across the United States and in England and Ireland. 2016

Kristi Kaiser

With a degree in Zoology from NDSU, Kristi  has worked for more than 20 years in the computer industry at Great Plains/Microsoft.  Beginning her family research in 1976, she was bitten by the geno bug and has been researching ever since.  Her areas of interest for genealogy research include regional history of the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin as well as countries including Canada, Ireland, Luxembourg, Germany and Poland. 


Markus Krueger Ex-Officio, special representative from the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County 2015
Cady Mittlestadt

Cady Mittlestadt is a writer, researcher, and consultant living in Moorhead. She is an alumna of Concordia College, with degrees in History & Latin. As a former associate in the institutional archives - she regularly took on researching genealogical requests for alumni and their families. As the Director of Operations at Silver Goat Media, a regional publishing and media company, she has a passion for helping first-time and established authors alike bring stories and research to life. With special interests in web design and marketing - she manages the HEC social media. Her own genealogical research has recently taken her to 16th century England and colonial America.

Carol Sibley Carol has been a Commission member since 2017. She has an undergraduate degree in English Education and Master's degrees in Library Science and Children's Literature. She is Professor Emerita from the Minnesota State University Moorhead Library where she worked as the Curriculum Center Librarian for over 30 years. She is especially interested in projects to motivate young people in explore their own family history. Carol's research has uncovered that both sides of her family include ancestors who were immigrants arriving in America before the Revolution. 2017
Jim Soderberg Jim Soderberg, a graduate of Dunwoody College of Technology in architectural drafting spent a career as a Certified Professional Supermarket Designer with SUPERVALU, INC and Dakota Refrigeration Inc. Currently, I am semi-retired. I was given a head start with my genealogy as I was fortunate that many family members had spent time researching and documenting our family tree. In 2008, I felt the need to dig deeper so I investigated ancestry.com, and have never stopped. My research has taken me to Sweden, Norway, and China, but what I find most fascinating is my mother’s side that is English & Irish and the connection with American history. I have traced relatives back to the Mayflower, Revolutionary War, and my relation to Abraham Lincoln. I was invited to membership of the Heritage Education Commission in 2014. 2014
Tony Tilton Tony Tilton is the morning director for ValleyNewsLive and General Manager of Moorhead Community Access Media and Television. Tilton is a graduate and on-call adjunct professor of film and music at MSUM and is a founding chairperson of the Fargo Film Festival as well as the chairman of the annual popular culture festival ValleyCon and Fargo-Moorhead Comic-Con and several other local and regional events and non-profit organizations. 2014
Kris Thompson   2019
Marie Williams Marie’s family has been doing family history for as long as she can remember. She served a Family History Mission with her husband in Guam and Micronesia. There they established family history centers for people to trace their genealogy. They coordinated with government agencies to obtain access to vital records and arrange for their digitization. 2018

Margaret Zeren

Margaret's interest in Family History Research started in High School with the required project to write her family history that was when she learned that her Irish Great Great Grandfather was a ship captain on the Great Lakes. Since then, she has attended the HEC Family History workshop for over 25 years and joined the Commission in 2011. She was a presenter at the 2012 workshop, served as Vice President and is the current President.