By Harold McClendon, Jr.
The Mount Vernon Genealogical Society (MVGS) was established in 1991 to encourage the affiliation of persons interested in pursuing their ancestral heritage. This is accomplished through education, information sharing and research assistance. Our Society operates out of the Hollin Hall Senior Center, 1500 Shenandoah Rd. Alexandria, Virginia, in the eastern part of Fairfax County.
MVGS provides monthly programs with national and regionally prominent speakers, a research center with numerous genealogical publications and computer access to popular databases, education classes, a website, a bi-monthly newsletter and Special Interest Groups (SIGs).
Being part of a society helps you become a better genealogist no matter where your ancestors lived. MVGS isn’t solely focused on researching Virginia; we just happen to live here. By joining, you are able to connect with others who are passionate about researching their ancestors. You can be connected to a network that keeps you informed of the latest products, news and educational opportunities locally and nationwide. Our meetings provide members with an opportunity to network with other genealogists, share research findings and access genealogical assistance. It is also an opportunity to make lasting friendships with others.
As you gain a specialized skill, MVGS provides you with numerous avenues to share this skill with the membership by writing an article for the newsletter, volunteering in the research center or presenting a class or monthly lecture.
MVGS meets at the Hollin Hall Senior Center from 1:00 to 3:00 pm on the third Tuesday of each month. Access to the Center, which is operated by Fairfax County, is open, free of charge to all individuals who attend an MVGS event.
Except for December, monthly meetings always feature a speaker presenting a genealogical or historical topic. Recent presentations have included topics on DNA, methodology, case studies, immigration, data base updates, African American research and historical events to name a few. A social is provided after the presentation with refreshments provided by volunteers. As a member, you have access to a recording of the presentation available on the members-only portion of the website.
The Research Center is normally open Tuesday through Thursday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. It contains 3,000 books and periodicals covering a range of locations and topics of interest to genealogists. There are computers with access to a number of genealogical databases. A catalogue of holdings may be found on our website or available in the center.
Training and Education classes are provided by our members to assist other members with their research. All of the classes are held at the Hollin Hall Senior Center during weekdays. Recent classes included topics such as entering info using FamilySearch.org, how to organize and manage your research, accessing early church records and small group research help. Members can sign up on-line for classes.
The full MVGS newsletter, published bi-monthly, is e-mailed to members with back issues of the available on the “Members Only” section of the website. The newsletter contains information about upcoming lectures, training classes and SIGS. It also contains instructional articles of interest to genealogists and programs at other genealogical organization in the area that might be of interest to our membership. On alternate months, you will also receive an electronic bulletin of upcoming genealogical events throughout Fairfax County and beyond.
The MVGS website, www.mvgenealogy.org, contains the latest information on upcoming events including monthly presentations, SIG meetings and training classes. There is also information about l other local repositories and a link to National Archives Research Guides. The “Members Only” section contains the newsletter, access to previous presentations, program handouts, a membership roster and link to the surname project database.
Special Interest Groups:
Special Interest Groups are established when a group of members with similar interests get together. Our members currently have access to SIGS on Methodology, Writing, German, Midwest and New England. Each group usually meets monthly for two hours where a member of the SIG makes a presentation. Meetings are held at various locations in the area, depending on the topic.
All of these benefits are available to our members for $20 for an individual and $25 for a family (2 family members). Membership runs from January through December.
A big benefit for a small amount!