Mount Vernon Genealogical Society - Founded 1991
Founded 1991

1500 Shenandoah Road
Alexandria, Virginia 22308
Telephone:  (703) 768-4101
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Speaker Biographies

“Finding Records of Claims Against the Fed Government:”  (Claire Kluskens)  Claire has been a Senior Reference and Projects Archivist at the National Archives (NARA) in Washington, D.C. since 1992 and a genealogical researcher since 1976. She specializes in census, immigration, military, and other records of high genealogical value. Her geographic specialties are New York, Ohio, Vermont, the Midwest; and Washington, DC.
She has spearheaded the completion of more than 300 National Archives microfilm publications, and now manages digital projects. She lectures frequently and has published extensively in national, state, and local genealogical publications.
Claire received her BA in Economics/Political Science from Capital University and her law degree from Ohio State University. She is an alumna of the Gen-Fed program and has served on the Board of Directors of the National Genealogical Society. She is also a long-standing member of MVGS.
"Research in Washington DC Using the Library of Congress:"  (Charles S. Mason, Jr., CG)  Chuck is a Certified Genealogist, specializing in Southern New Jersey and 19th and Century Death Records.  He is a graduate of NGS’s American Genealogy: Home Study Course, (1994), is an instructor for the NGS course Beyond the Basics, a graduate of the National Institute for Genealogical Research (NIGR) at the National Archives (1996 & 2001), the Institute of Genealogy and History at Samford University (2010), and has attended numerous NGS conferences, state and local conferences in the Washington, DC area and in New Jersey.
"Digging for Roots Just Down the Road at the Library of Virginia:"  (James Drewry)  Jim is a retired federal government attorney, after 40 years of public and private law practice.  10 years of experience using various kinds of genealogical resources, including repositories like the Library of Virginia, the National Archives, the DAR Library, and university special collections.  Member of the Mount Vernon Genealogical Society for 10 years and present Board member.  Three-time prize-winner in the MVGS Writing Contest.
"Old Town Fairfax City Historic Records:"  (Victoria Thompson) is originally from the ancient county of Suffolk on the east coast of England. She emigrated to the United States in 2010 and became a naturalized citizen in 2014 here in Fairfax County.  She studied archaeology at Bristol University and received a Master’s in Archaeology from Cambridge University, both in the U.K. Her background is in museum collections and archives, caring for artifacts and historic documents. She is particularly interested in understanding colonial American society (one of her ancestors, Bartholomew Gosnold, was a founder of Jamestown), and the immigrant experience of the mid-19th and early 20th centuries.  She has served as Assistant Archivist at the Fairfax Circuit Court Historic Records Center since March 2017.
"How Much is a "Helpin?'  Finding Family History in Your Own Kitchen:  (Anne Bolin)  With over 25 years in the museum and archives field, Anne Bolen is passionate about preserving our national and community stories. Her work towards understanding the personal side of history and collecting interviews for schools and museums inspired her to found her own company, Anne B. History, which records memories and experiences for organizations, individuals, and their families.
“Living in George Washington’s Backyard: Discovering your connection to Mount Vernon and the Washingtons:”  (Samantha Snyder) is the Reference Librarian at the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, located at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Samantha’s professional genealogy experience began at the Wisconsin Historical Society, where she learned the ins and outs of how to best use and interpret records to solve those hidden family secrets. She has been the Reference Librarian at Mount Vernon for the last two and a half years, and has loved learning about Virginia and its rich history.
"Daughters of the American Revolution Library:"  (Elizabeth J, Ernst MLS)  Elizabeth is the Catalog Librarian at the DAR Library in Washington DC.  She received her BA in History (James Madison University), and then an MLS (University of Maryland).  Before coming to the DAR she worked for the Bishop Payne Library at Virginia Theological Seminary,  Fairfax County Public Schools, and Culpeper Public Library.  She has been an avid genealogist since the age of 11, and enjoys helping other researchers.
“Genealogy & Maps: A Perfect Marriage for Tracking Ancestors:” (Sharon MacInnes) is a Certified Genealogist with over forty years of family research experience focusing on Pennsylvania and land records.  She is the author/compiler of eight volumes in a series covering the earliest landowners of various Pennsylvania counties.  She is CEO and maintains a website at on which is posted 19th-Century Pennsylvania landowner maps and atlases as a service for researchers.  She was Program Chair for Mount Vernon Genealogical Society for three years and coordinated the German SIG and Methodology SIG for Fairfax Genealogical Society for many years.
“The Maryland Historical Society: A Gem for Maryland Genealogical Research:”  (Catherine Mayfield and Francis O'Neill) Catherine Mayfield is the France-Merrick Director of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library at the Maryland Historical Society. Both a logophile and bibliophile, Catherine began her career as a writer and editor before transitioning into libraries and archives. She recently returned to her home state of Maryland after a decade in Northern California, where she worked as an archivist for NASA’s Ames Research Center and managed the Lucretia Little History Room at the Mill Valley Public Library.
For almost forty years Francis P. O’Neill, a native of New Hampshire, has been absorbing information on the Chesapeake region, which he does his best to share with the many researchers who consult the Maryland Historical Society’s library. He credits any success he has had in these efforts to his teachers at the Catholic University of America, where he did both his undergraduate and his graduate work, to his colleagues past and present in Baltimore, and to his patient wife and offspring. He hopes in the near future to bring out his seventh volume of marriage and obituary notices compiled from the pages of the nineteenth-century Baltimore “Sun”.