Mount Vernon Genealogical Society - Founded 1991
Founded 1991

1500 Shenandoah Road
Alexandria, Virginia 22308
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Arriving in America
Tuesday, April 20
Arriving in America  (General Meeting)
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Online via Zoom

Presenter:  Sharon Hodges, Past President, MVGS
 
Description:  Millions of immigrants have come to call America home. For some the process was easy. For others it was more difficult and more restrictive, but none more so than New York City. Knowing what it was like to arrive in New York City gives an understanding of arrivals in other cities and the process for admitting aliens.
 
This session is the culmination of immigration to this country. Each port maintained some sort of private or government-run immigration station, but none was as rigorous as Ellis Island. The initial reason for the opening of reception centers such as Castle Garden, Ellis Island, or Angel Island in California, was to protect and aid new arrivals to this country. This presentation covers arriving in New York City, pre-1855, through the Barge Office, Castle Garden, and Ellis Island, as it was more difficult for an alien to be admitted in this city than anywhere else. A good overview of what the process was like for an alien coming to America.
 
Registration:
 
Speaker Bio:  For about 30 years, Sharon has been a professional genealogist, author, and teacher having lectured in New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. She is a past grader for the National Genealogical Society Home Study Course and a graduate of the National Institute for Genealogical Research. Sharon is a member of numerous local and national genealogical societies, past Secretary and Awards Chair of the Virginia Genealogical Society, and Past President of the Mount Vernon Genealogical Society.
 


Thursday, April 29
Poor, Misplaced and Misunderstood (Institutional Records)  (Training and Education)
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
ZOOM
INSTRUCTOR:  SHARON HODGES
 
Sometimes our ancestors seem to go "missing."  We don't want to believe they may have been in some sort of distress, financial or otherwise, but these types of records should not be overlooked as they may supply the answers to finding "missing" ancestors.
 
To register for the class, please send an email with the date and title of the class, and your name and phone number to Amy Breedlove at albreedlove@comcast.net.
 



Tuesday, May 11
Finding Information on Your Ancestors Who Lived in Virginia Before 1700  (Training and Education)
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Zoom
INSTRUCTORS:  JEFF WELCH AND JIM DREWRY
 
Class will cover, among other topics, how settlement started at Jamestown and then expanded out from there; who the "Ancient Planters" were and how to get info on them; the 1624/5 Muster; county organization and reorganization; recordkeeping in the early days and where those records may be found today; books providing names of settlers in the early years with biographical sketches; and identification of additional  resources (both physical and virtual) and how to get to them.  
 
To register for the class, please send an email with the date of the class, the title of the class, your name and phone number to Amy Breedlove at albreedlove@comcast.net.
 


Monday, May 17 through Friday, May 21
NGS 2021 Live! National Genealogical Society 2021 Family History Conference  (Conference)
Virtual Conference
 
Registration for the NGS 2021 Family History Conference opens 1 February 2021 at 1:00 p.m. (EST). Plans for the forty-third annual conference include a full week of virtual events* for individuals, societies, and organizations 17-21 May 2021.
 
The main event for individuals runs Wednesday and Thursday, 19‒20 May. The premier two-day virtual conference event―NGS 2021 Live! ―features award-winning authors Dani Shapiro and Ric Murphy; an opening session by esteemed genealogist and Virginia expert Barbara Vines Little; and presentations by nationally recognized speakers including
  • Elizabeth Shown Mills,
  • Thomas W. Jones,
  • Judy Russell,
  • Eric Grundset,
  • Craig Scott,
  • Janice Lovelace, and more.
Two full days are planned by NGS to offer exciting new ideas to energize family historians’ research, announce the winners of NGS awards, and offer a unique experience―the camaraderie of thousands of fellow genealogists from throughout the United States and the world. Program content will include bonus lectures provided by conference sponsors and sponsoring organizations.
 
In addition to NGS Live!, we will offer a choice of either a twenty or forty lecture package on-demand. Those who purchase a package may choose from more than eighty-five on-demand sessions available for viewing starting in June. Other programs will be priced separately. Throughout the week a virtual Expo Hall will be available.
 
Take advantage of the discounted Early Bird registration fee, plus member discounts, when you sign up by 15 March 2021.


Making a Federal Case Out of It
Tuesday, May 18
Making a Federal Case Out of It  (General Meeting)
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
ZOOM Meeting (Registration required)

Presenter:  Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist
 
Description: Even genealogists who have a good background in court records often overlook the wealth of detail available in the records of the federal courts: the District Court, the Circuit Court, the modern Circuit Court of Appeals, and even the Supreme Court. From bankruptcies to copyrights to patents to cases in admiralty and more, federal court records merit a close look.
 
Registration:
Speaker Bio: The Legal Genealogist Judy G. Russell is a genealogist with a law degree. She writes, teaches and lectures on a wide variety of genealogical topics, ranging from using court records in family history to understanding DNA testing. A Colorado native with roots deep in the American south on her mother’s side and entirely in Germany on her father’s side, she holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a political science minor from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and a law degree from Rutgers School of Law-Newark. Before she retired, she worked as a newspaper reporter, trade association writer, legal investigator, defense attorney, federal prosecutor, law editor and, for more than 20 years, was an adjunct member of the faculty at Rutgers Law School.
 
Judy is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society and numerous state and regional genealogical societies. She has written for the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (from which she received the 2017 Award of Excellence), the National Genealogical Society Magazine, the FGS Forum, BCG’s OnBoard, and Family Tree Magazine, among other publications.
 
On the faculty of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute, and the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records, she is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, from which she holds credentials as a Certified Genealogist® and Certified Genealogical Lecturer℠. Her award-winning blog appears at The Legal Genealogist website (http://www.legalgenealogist.com).
 


Wednesday, May 19
DATE CHANGE - Pandemic Project - Life Stories and Oral Histories  (Training and Education)
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
ZOOM
INSTRUCTORPandemic Project Members and Chuck Mason
 
Documents and records only tell part of the family story.  Family members can often fill in the details or provide clues.  The session will guide you through the steps to use when interviewing your relatives and friends.  This will include preparing, conducting, and preserving the interview.
 
To register for this session, please send an email with your name and phone number and the title and date of the session to Amy Breedlove at albreedlove@comcast.net.
 



Tuesday, June 1
Ancestry DNA Matches, Now What?  (Training and Education)
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
ZOOM only
INSTRUCTOR:  JON MARIE PEARSON
 
You have done your DNA through Ancestry and now you know what your ethnicity is.  What do you do with all your DNA matches?  Ancestry has several great tools to help you sort and organize all your matches.  Learn how to use files, messaging, notes, grouping and connecting matches to your tree.  This course will help you learn how to use the tools available on Ancestry.com to make the most of handling your DNA matches.
 
To register for the class, please send an email with the date of the class, the title of the class, your name and phone number to Amy Breedlove at albreedlove@comcast.net.
 


Genetic Privacy and the Law
Tuesday, June 15
Genetic Privacy and the Law  (General Meeting)
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
ZOOM Meeting (Registration required)
 
Presenter:  Natalie Ram, J.D., Associate Professor of Law, Law & Health Care Program, University of Maryland  
 
Description:  When you send your DNA to a consumer genetics service, or upload your DNA profile to a site like GEDmatch, do you know how your data may be used, with or without your explicit consent, by law enforcement or others? What legal protections, if any, attach to that genetic data? "Genetic Privacy and the Law" will discuss the legal landscape surrounding consumer genetic data, with a particular focus on law enforcement use of genetic genealogy to investigate crimes.
 
Registration:
Speaker Bio:  Natalie Ram joined the Maryland Carey Law faculty in 2019. Ram is a top scholar on the intersection of genetic privacy and the law, publishing groundbreaking research in Harvard Law ReviewStanford Law ReviewColumbia Law ReviewVirginia Law Review, and Northwestern Law Review, and in the scientific journals Science and Nature Biotechnology. She teaches courses in Maryland Carey Law’s Law and Health Care program. Ram is a 2021 Greenwall Faculty Scholar in Bioethics, which awards three-year career development grants to promising young scholars across disciplines.
 
Before joining Maryland Carey Law, Ram clerked for Judge Guido Calabresi, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and for Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer, U.S. Supreme Court. Subsequently, she worked in the Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Group at Morrison & Foerster in Washington, D.C. From 2014 to 2019, Ram taught at the University of Baltimore School of Law. At UB, she was also associate director of the Center for Law and Medicine. Ram earned her JD at Yale Law School and AB in public and international affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.  She has appeared on CNN, national radio broadcasts Science Friday and Here & Now, and been quoted in the Wall Street JournalWashington Post and BuzzFeed News. She has also written several op-eds for Slate.


Thursday, June 17
Pandemic Project - Photography, Drawing and Scrapbooking  (Training and Education)
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
TBD - zoom or in-person?
INSTRUCTORPandemic Project Members
 
We've all heard this line:  "If a picture paints a thousand words"....  It's true!  A picture can indeed convey meanings more effectively that words!  Join in with sketching pens or camera (especially your mobile phone's camera!) and learn tips on capturing this historic time.  We'll conclude with clever ideas on scrapbooking to dispay your artful story.
 
To register for this session please send an email with your name and phone number, and the date and title of the session to Amy Breedlove at albreedlove@comcast.net.
 



Thursday, July 15
Pandemic Project - Editing Collaboration  (Training and Education)
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
TBD - zoom or in-person?
INSTRUCTORPandemic Project Members
 
The MVGS Writing Family SIG includes both beginners and published authors.  We read and discuss one another's pieces, noting the things we liked, the things we thought were missing, and what the author should do next to improve or expand his/her story.  This session will give us an opportunity to offer the same services to other MVGS members - as first readers and reviewers for what you've written, but also as a source of the encouragement that every writer needs.
 
To register for this session, please send an email with your name and phone number, and the date and title of the session to Amy Breedlove at albreedlove@comcast.net.
 


2021 International German Genealogy Conference
Saturday, July 17 through Saturday, July 24
2021 International German Genealogy Conference  (Conference)
Virtual
The International German Genealogy Partnership is thrilled to announce that the 2021 International German Genealogy Conference, previously cancelled as an in-person event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will now be held virtually from 17 July to 24 July 2021 with the theme of “Researching Together Worldwide / Weltweit Gemeinsam Forschen”. This new format will allow both passionate genealogists and expert speakers from around the world – including many from our partner organizations in Germany – to attend and participate. Will you be one of them?

For more conference and registration, click here.


Thursday, July 22
Research in the Mid-Atlantic States  (Training and Education)
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
TBD
INSTRUCTOR:  CHUCK MASON
 
New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware compose the Mid-Atlantic States.  They share similar record keeping practices, but did not always begin keeping those records at the same time.  Border disputes also influence where you may find your ancestor's records.  This class will present an introduction to what records were kept, when they started, and where to find them.  
 
To register for the class, please send an email with the date of the class, the title of the class, your name and phone number to Amy Breedlove at albreedlove@comcast.net.
 



Facebook: A Tool for Genealogy Research
Tuesday, August 17
Facebook: A Tool for Genealogy Research  (General Meeting)
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Meeting and Presentation will be held via ZOOM
 
Presenter: Thomas MacEntee, a genealogy professional based in the United States who is also a blogger, educator, author, social media connector, online community builder and more.
 
Description: While Facebook is the world’s largest online social network with more than 1.2 billion users, did you know that it can be leveraged as a genealogy research “work horse” to help find your ancestors?  In this session you’ll go beyond the basics of setting up a Facebook account and simply posting status updates or playing games. The focus is on developing the following skill set for genealogy research:
  • Using the Search function to locate living relatives and others researching your same surnames.
  • Locating Facebook Groups and Pages related to your genealogy research, especially geographical locations and specific ethnic groups, as well as surname groups.
  • Creating a Facebook Group to facilitate collaboration and participant interaction around a specific genealogy topic such as a Surname Group or a One Place Study Group.
  • Creating a Facebook Page to advertise a genealogy society, an event and more.
  • Understanding the difference between a Facebook Page and a Facebook Group and why you might use one instead of the other as well as when it is best to use both.
  • Protecting your privacy and ensuring an enjoyable Facebook experience when researching genealogy.
 
What happens when a “tech guy” with a love for history gets laid off during The Great Recession of 2008? You get Thomas MacEntee, a genealogy professional based in the United States who is also a blogger, educator, author, social media connector, online community builder and more. Thomas has over 42 years of experience researching family history.
 
Thomas was laid off after a 25-year career in the information technology field, so he started his own genealogy-related business called High Definition Genealogy. Currently Thomas shares many of his articles and videos for free at Abundant Genealogy and also runs the popular Genealogy Bargains and DNA Bargains websites!
 
Thomas describes himself as a lifelong learner with a background in a multitude of topics who has finally figured out what he does best: teach, inspire, instigate, and serve as a curator and go-to-guy for concept nurturing and inspiration. Thomas is a big believer in success, and that we all succeed when we help each other find success.


Thursday, August 19
Family Tree Maker - Beginner's Class  (Training and Education)
Room 217 HHSC hopefully
INSTRUCTOR:  CHUCK GEARHART
 
This class will only be held if HHSC is open; it will not be offered via Zoom.   The time has been left open for now until we know for sure what rooms/times HHSC is giving us.  
 
Class will cover Getting Started, Entering Media and Data, and Maintaining and Sharing Your Tree.  This will be aimed at beginners.
 
To register for the class, please send an email with the date of the class, the title of the class, your name and phone number to Amy Breedlove at albreedlove@comcast.net.
 



Thursday, September 23
Research in Washington DC: Using the National Archives  (Training and Education)
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
TBD
INSTRUCTOR:  CHUCK MASON
 
Once we know the status of HHSC, we'll be able to enter a final time and location.
 
Many changes in how to do research have taken place at the National Archives.  Some records are now available online and others still must be researched onsite.  What is the best way to accomplish your research needs?
 
To register for this class, please send an email with the date and title of the class, and your name and phone number to Amy Breedlove at albreedlove@comcast.net.
 



Thursday, October 21
Introduction to Scottish Research  (Training and Education)
TBD
INSTRUCTOR:  CHUCK MASON
 
Once HHSC status is known, we'll be able to determine a time and place.
 
This class will present an introduction to researching your ancestors who came from Scotland.  What do you need to know about them before you start researching in Scotland?  What records are available in Scotland?  Where are they kept and what is available online?
 
To register for the class, please send an email with the date and title of the class, and your name and phone number to Amy Breedlove at albreedlove@comcast.net.
 


Thursday, October 28
Family Tree Maker - an Advanced class  (Training and Education)
TBD
INSTRUCTOR:  CHUCK GEARHART
 
Class will only be held if HHSC is open.  Stay tuned.
 
Class will cover a Review of Family Tree Maker 2019 improvements, Attendee Questions and Comments.  Class is focused on advanced users.
 
To register for the class, please send an email with the date of the class, the title of the class, your name and phone number to Amy Breedlove at albreedlove@comcast.net.
 



Tuesday, November 9
Using and Understanding Virginia Court Records  (Training and Education)
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
TBD
INSTRUCTOR:  SHARON HODGES
 
In order to locate records relating to your Virginia ancestor, it is important to understand the court system in the state/colony at the time your ancestor resided there.  It is also important to understand the types of records created by those courts and where those records can be found today, including why you should look for loose papers filed with the courts. 
 
To register for the class, please send an email with the date and title of the class, along with your name and phone number to Amy Breedlove at albreedlove@comcast.net.