Mount Vernon Genealogical Society - Founded 1991
Founded 1991

1500 Shenandoah Road
Alexandria, Virginia 22308
Telephone:  (703) 768-4101
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MVGS 3rd Annual Lock-In

Twas the day before the lock-in and all through the Hall (Hollin that is), MVGS planners and helpers were setting up rooms for the third year.  They set up room 112, 216 and 217 for classes, 218 as the giveaway info room, and of course the Research Center would be open.  As the tables and chairs were being arranged the planners were conscious of the fact that outside a March Nor’easter was blowing yesterday and today.  Trees were being toppled onto power lines and homes; lights were going on and off throughout the community.
The planners had registered 42 MVGS members and three non-members, set up an email system to notify everyone if there was inclement weather; but if the lights were out email would definitely be “snail mail;” and of course classroom projectors and computers would be inoperable—bummer.  Hollin Hall had agreed to give us a key to open the facility.  Their staff was home this Saturday and we would be on our own.  What to do?
It was decided that one of us would visit Hollin Hall before sunrise on 3 March to see if the parking lot lights were on.  If they were on, the building should have power, and we could proceed with the meeting.  Glory Days—the landscape lights were on so let’s get on with the show.
The doors opened at 830AM Saturday morning and we ended up with 38 of the registered attendees and six walk-ins for a total of 44.  Not bad even with the wind still blowing outside.  The day progressed pretty much as planned with everyone attending four of the 12 class options.  We did have one of the instructors stuck in Key West and unable to return in time because of the storm and airline cancellations.
MVGS Mouse Pad          Rhonda Trent
Ancestry Bag                  Trish Green
Ancestry Bag                  Brenda Knitter
MVGS 1yr Membership  Janell Blue
Ancestry Bag                  Craig Wolf
1 Month    Lisa Coyle
Family Tree Maker          Gill Siegert
Family Tree Maker          John Cross 1yr      Janet Kowall
Fold3 1yr Subscription    Clare Coulter
Ancestry Bag                  Rita Phelps
Ancestry Bag                  Susan Skypeck
Lunch time found everyone in room 112 eating their sack lunch and discussing their personal ancestry trials, tribulations and successes.  After lunch, tickets were drawn and door prizes were awarded totaling over $350 dollars.  The lucky winners are shown left.
The rest of the day proceeded with attendees going to two remaining sessions and the day wrapping up around 315PM.
Everyone had a good time and also hopefully  learned something.  The day consisted of three tracks; Beginner, Technical and Research with 12 differing sessions; everyone having a choice of attending four of the hour-long briefings.
The end of the day found the planners and helpers rearranging all the rooms the way they found them, putting tables and chairs away and returning the Hollin Hall keys.
Thanks to everyone who braved the receding winds to attend, and all those who participated in the planning and setting-up of this event.

MVGS February Monthly Meeting

Malissa Ruffner shared textual record finds that have shed new light on her family tree and hopefully inspire her audience to visit (or re-visit) the National Archives Building in downtown Washington, D.C.
Malissa holds degrees in law and library science. After working in a variety of fields, she heeded the call of genealogy in 2009, becoming a Board-Certified Genealogist® in 2014. She is the director of the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records (Gen-Fed), formerly known as the National Institute on Genealogical Research (NIGR), held annually at the National Archives (NARA) in Washington, D.C.
She has served on the Executive Board of the Maryland Genealogical Society since 2012 and was recently appointed managing editor of its journal.  This Journal is published three times annually and includes over 500 pages per year of Maryland source records, family histories, “how-to” articles to improve genealogical research skills, book reviews, and other features. The Journal is a must for anyone researching their heritage in the state of Maryland.
She is currently working for the Georgetown Memory Project, tracing descendants of slaves sold by Jesuit Maryland plantations in 1838.

Inclement Weather

It's that time again when Mother Nature gets excited and decides to disrupt us humans.  Did you realize our February monthly meetings for 2015 and 2016 were cancelled because of bad weather?
Snowy Tree
Let's presume you are scheduled for a SIG group meeting or a census training session today at Hollin Hall, and when you get up it is snowing.  Do you get dressed and prepare for the class or stay home and miss the class?
The answer is fairly simple – check the status of the Fairfax County Government.  If the Government is closed or delayed, all "scheduled" activities (that's MVGS and your SIG class) will NOT meet.  Hollin Hall will be CLOSED.
I gave you the simplistic answer, but if you want to read the Hollin Hall inclement weather policy just click HERE.
If you are not sure, call the Senior Center at 703-765-4573 to verify closing information.
We sure found out that March can came in like a LION...

Library Catalog Now Online!

The Mount Vernon Genealogical Society library catalog has now been ported to the website as a fully functional interactive on-line application. The cataloging system software in the Research Center was no longer supported by the developer.
You now have access to all the information in our library holdings from anywhere you have internet connectivity. A number of features, not found in the index system previously online, are now available to members and the public. Searches by “Subject”, “Location” and “Media Type” can now be made on almost 2800 holdings in the library. Further searches can then be done on “Title”, “Author” and “Call Number”. Once the desired list of records is found they can be “printed” to a PDF document by clicking on the “PDF List” icon.  Additionally, each record can be viewed and printed by clicking on the “eye” icon. Clicking on the “Broom” icon will clear the information in the selection or search box. In addition to searching the database for individual records by "Call Number", "Title", and "Author", the entire database or any filtered selections can be sorted by "Call Number", "Title", or "Author" by clicking on the word at the top of each column.
Clicking on the “View Categories” icon provides another method of search for desired material. Categories of holdings can also be filtered by “Subject”, “Location”, and “Media Type”
The library catalog will always be current now because library accessions are available for viewing as soon as they are put into the online system. Previously the indexes were only updated periodically.
This additional Society benefit would never have been possible without the hard work of volunteers who planned and executed the library database conversion; thank you Jeanne Wilson, Anne Barber, and Gerry Ward.
You can find the library catalog HERE.

Dotted Divider Line
  NARA Guides
NARA Guides
March 29
Comparing Genealogy Databases and Getting the Most Bang for your Buck
Instructor:  Sharon MacInnes    The class will compare a variety of genealogy databases to determine how helpful they are to the researcher.  The databases would include Anestry, MyHeritage, and FindMyPast.  Also mentioned would be the resources included in Fold3,, Genealogy ...
April 2
Entering Information onto Find A Grave
Instructor:  Linda MacLachlan    Purpose of the workshop is to learn how to add information onto the Find-A-Grave website.  The class is limited to 12 people; 6 of those will need to bring their own laptops, etc.   In addition ...
April 4
MVGS Methodology SIG
Instructor:  Chuck Mason   "Solving Research Problems and Dead Ends"   Do you have an ancestor who you cannot find or conflicting evidence about an ancestor?  Learn how to gather and evaluate evidence to solve the problem.  Sessions will include ...
April 5
New England SIG: Searching Databases on
Webinar Moderator: Linda MacLachlan   Live broadcast: 14 December 2017   Presented by: Don LeClair, Associate Director of Database Search and Systems  Description: holds more than 1.4 billion searchable records with new databases and names being added each week. Join ...
April 6
Fairfax Genealogical Society Spring Conference
                                  Registration is now open for the 2018 Spring Conference! Visit their conference webpage for more information!