Mount Vernon Genealogical Society - Founded 1991
Founded 1991

1500 Shenandoah Road
Alexandria, Virginia 22308
  Charles Belfield First American Ancestor
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Thursday, January 28
Using Ancestry.Com  (Training and Education)
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
ZOOM only
INSTRUCTOR:  AMY BREEDLOVE
 
Class will provide an overview of most of the features on ancestry.com and then provide more details on searching for records, and searching the catalog. 
 
To register for the class please send an email with the date of the class, the title of the class, and your name and phone number to Amy Breedlove at albreedlove@comcast.net.
 



Monday, February 1
Hints/Sources Using FamilySearch's Family Tree  (Training and Education)
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
ZOOM only
INSTRUCTOR:  CAROL PETRANEK OR GARY PETRANEK
 
Class will cover in-depth information about the record hints and sources provided by FamilySearch and how they work.  Class will begin with an introduction by either Carol or Gary, followed by a pre-recorded video portion, and end with a live Q&A session.
 
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, February 11
Using the DAR Website  (Training and Education)
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
ZOOM only
INSTRUCTOR:  MARGARET POWELL
 
Class will review how to use the features of the DAR website and also contain a brief overview of the DAR's library resources.
 
To register for the class, please send an email with the date of the class, the title of the class, and your name and phone number to Amy Breedlove at albreedlove@comcast.net.
 


Monday, February 15
Source Box, Finding and Merging Duplicate Individuals, and Relationships  (Training and Education)
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
ZOOM only
INSTRUCTOR:  CAROL PETRANEK OR GARY PETRANEK
 
Class will show you how to use the Source Box on the Family Tree and how to enter information into it; how to find people and merge duplicate entries; and how to edit relationships.  Class will start off with an introduction by one of the Petranek's, followed by a video portion, and then followed up with a live Q&A session.
 
To register for the class, please send an email with the date of the class, the title of the class, and your name and phone number to Amy Breedlove at albreedlove@comcast.net.
 


Section 27 and Freedman's Village in Arlington National Cemetery
Tuesday, February 16
Section 27 and Freedman's Village in Arlington National Cemetery  (General Meeting)
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
ZOOM Meeting (Registration required)

Presenter: Ric Murphy, National Vice President for History, for the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, and is an educator, historian, lecturer, and award-winning author.

Description: Section 27 and Freedman's Village in Arlington National Cemetery From its origination, Arlington National Cemetery's history has been compellingly intertwined with that of African Americans. This book explains how the grounds of Arlington House, formerly the home of Robert E. Lee and a plantation of the enslaved, became a military camp for Federal troops, a freedmen's village and farm, and America's most important burial ground. During the Civil War, the property served as a pauper's cemetery for men too poor to be returned to their families, and some of the very first war dead to be buried there include over 1,500 men who served in the United States Colored Troops. More than 3,800 former slaves are interred in section 27, the property's original cemetery.
 
Registration:
Speaker Bio:  In his writings, Ric Murphy explores the roles and rich contributions made by African Americans in United States history, for which he has received over twenty awards. He has served in elected and appointed positions within state and local governments, and has taught and lectured at the post-secondary level. He has served as Chairman of the Board of several private and community based organizations; on numerous national, local and not-for-profit Boards of Directors; on countless Advisory Boards to community-based organizations and not-for-profits; and has received numerous national awards for his public activism and community work. His family lineage dates to the earliest colonial periods of Plymouth, Massachusetts, and of Jamestown, Virginia. Mr. Murphy’s lineage has been evaluated and accepted by several heredity societies, including the Daughters of the American Revolution; the National Society of the Sons of Colonial New England; the Sons of the American Revolution; the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War; and the Sons and Daughters of the U. S. Middle Passage. Mr. Murphy was a Fellow at Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government; and he has a Masters in Urban Affairs from Boston University, and a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Massachusetts.


Thursday, February 18
Pandemic Project - Documenting the Pandemic: Overview and Writing Prompts  (Training and Education)
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Zoom
INSTRUCTOR:  Pandemic Project Members
 

MVGS has a new special project called “Pandemic Stories: Then & Now.”  The goal is to publish [format undecided at this point] a collection of members’ stories and experiences from the current pandemic, as well as any family history/stories you can find or generate from the 1918 influenza epidemic.  There will be a kickoff information session on 18 February and a featured place in the annual conference next Fall. 

 

This will be a chance for us, in 2020 and 2021, to create the source materials for genealogists a century from now, trying to reconstruct what their families experienced in the last big epidemic.  Do you have a story about how you’ve been impacted, or how you’ve tried to cope?  Here’s your chance to explain the importance of Amazon delivery and Netflix streaming to the 22nd century, and a chance to explore why social panic always seems to focus on securing an adequate supply of toilet paper.

 

It’s also a chance to collect any source materials you might have from 1918, relating how your family (or their community) experienced that pandemic.  Few of us are lucky enough to have journals or letters from 1918, but you may be able to find something in local histories or at Newspapers.com. 

 

At present we’re looking for all sorts of contributions, anything that you’re comfortable doing – one-paragraph anecdote, one-page story, five-page article, 20-page essay with footnotes and sources (if you must) . . .  photographs, poetry, oral histories, one-act plays, sketches, journal entries, scrapbooking . . .  they can be humorous, serious, tragic, journalistic . . .  basically anything we can put between covers (or maybe on the MVGS website). 

 

The MVGS Writing Family History SIG has offered to serve as first readers, coaches,  and editors for anyone who wants to participate in this project.

 

Sessions have been scheduled for the 3rd Thursday of each month from 10am-12 noon.  Sessions in Feb, Mar and April will definitely be held on Zoom.  Beyond that will depend on HHSC and the pandemic.  Sessions in Aug, Sep and Oct may be scheduled if needed.  The Feb session is an overview about the project to get folks started.  The remaining sessions will present ideas and approaches for the various ways of telling your story.  Sessions will be more of a discussion group approach than our standard lecture class. 

 

If you think you know the way you want to present your story, e.g., through a written story, or maybe through photographs, then you may want to just focus on the session[s] you're interested in; although you're welcome to attend all of them.  Below are the sessions scheduled so far.  More detailed info about the sessions are on their individual entries.

 

18 Feb 10am-12pm - Documenting the Pandemic: overview & writing prompts

18 Mar 10am-12pm - Writing - Journalling, Diaries and Narrative Essays

15 Apr 10am-12pm  - Expressing Yourself through Poetry

20 May 10am-12pm - Life Stories and Oral Histories

17 Jun 10am-12pm - Photography, Drawing and Scrapbooking

15 Jul 10am- 12pm - Editing collaboration with Writing SIG volunteers

 

18 Feb session "Documenting the Pandemic:  overview & writing prompts"

Do you wish you had old letters, diaries or journals from your ancestors?  Do you regret not asking your parents or grandparents about their lives?  Did you enjoy hearing the family stories about relatives but didn't write those bits of information down?  If you've answered 'yes' to any of the preceding questions, you'll not want to miss this introduction to MVGS's storytelling project.  This introduction will include an overview of the project, ten methods for relating personal or family experiences during the pandemic as well as a list of writing prompts to get you started.

 

To register for this, or any, session, please send an email with the date and name of the session, along with your name and phone number to Amy Breedlove at albreedlove@comcast.net.

 

 

 




Monday, March 1
Memories: Documents, Photos, Stories and Audio, Part 1 on FamilySearch  (Training and Education)
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
ZOOM only
INSTRUCTOR:  CAROL PETRANEK OR GARY PETRANEK
 
Part 1 begins the coverage of Memories, its features, what's available, and how they work.  Class will start off with an introduction by one of the Petranek's, followed by a video portion, and then followed up with a live Q&A session.  Pt 2 will be held on March 15th.
 
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.
 


Monday, March 8
The Genealogy Community on Social Media  (Training and Education)
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
ZOOM only
INSTRUCTOR:  JON MARIE PEARSON
 
Social media has grown so much over this past decade.  What was once just a place to connect with family and friends has changed to include various communities.  One of the communities that has quickly grown is the genealogy community.  Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be a valuable platform for connecting with other genealogists, special interest groups and a place to participate in live events.  This course will help to show you how you can use social media to connect and become involved with the genealogy communities.
 
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, March 15
Memories: Documents, Photos, Stories and Audio, Part 2 of FamilySearch  (Training and Education)
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
ZOOM only
INSTRUCTOR:  CAROL PETRANEK OR GARY PETRANEK
 
Part 2 will finish up the in-depth coverage of Memories, what's available, and how it works.  Class will start off with an introduction by one of the Petranek's, followed by a video portion, and then followed up with a live Q&A session.
 
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.
 


“Using the Free and Commercial Resources Together to Solve the Problem”
Tuesday, March 16
“Using the Free and Commercial Resources Together to Solve the Problem”  (General Meeting)
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
ZOOM Meeting (Registration required)

Presenter: Charles S. "Chuck" Mason, Jr., CG.  

Description: Computers, the internet, search engines, data bases and websites have all changed the way we do genealogy.  But, are books, CDs, microfilm, microfiche, and original records obsolete?  Develop a plan for using sources from both centuries.  
 
Registration:
Speaker Bio:  Charles S. “Chuck” Mason, Jr., CG SM is a Professional Genealogist SM, specializing in Southern New Jersey and 19th and 20th 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.  He was a certified by the Board for Certification of Genealogists from 1999 to 2019, at which time he decided not to renew his certification.
 
 Chuck is a member of both the Fairfax and the Mt. Vernon Genealogical Societies, served in various positions on the board of both societies including President (MVGS 2000-2002 and FxGS 2008-2009).  He is a past President (2004-2006) of NIGR Alumni Association, and was a Director of the Northern Virginia Association for History (1999-2006).  Chuck is the host of Tracing Your Family Roots at Fairfax Cable Television Channel 10.  Rebroadcasts of the show can be viewed at their website at tracingroots.nova.org.  
 


Thursday, March 18
Pandemic Project: Writing - Journalling, Diaries and Narrative Essays  (Training and Education)
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Zoom
INSTRUCTOR:  Pandemic Project Members
 
Please see the Feb 18 Pandemic Project entry for background and details about this series of training sessions. 
 
Have you ever had writer's block and just couldn't seem to get started?  Join the crowd - literally!  Take this opportunity to brush up on a few basics and receive 16 tips and a list of prompts to get you started.  You will not regret documenting even the smallest details for you and generations to come
 
To register for this session, please send an email with the date and name of the session, along with your name and phone number to Amy Breedlove at albreedlove@comcast.net.
 


FXGS Spring Fair
Saturday, March 20
FXGS Spring Fair  (Conference)
10:00 am to 4:15 pm
Online via Zoom
Fairfax County Genealogical Society announces an opportunity to "Power Up Your Family Research with DNA." at their Spring Fair. The guest speaker will be Karen Stanbary. 
 
Registration is now open.  Click here for more information.


Monday, March 29
Using the Family Tree App on Smartphones [FamilySearch]  (Training and Education)
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
ZOOM only
INSTRUCTOR:  CAROL PETRANEK OR GARY PETRANEK
 
Class will cover the Family Tree App in depth, and how it works.  Class will start off with an introduction by one of the Petranek's, followed by a video portion, and then followed up with a live Q&A session.
 
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, April 13
Using Foreign Websites to do your Overseas Research in the US  (Training and Education)
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
ZOOM
INSTRUCTOR:  AMY BREEDLOVE
 
Class will cover locating and using foreign genealogy websites, mostly in western Europe, but hopefully a few other world locations as well, with some hints to doing foreign research from here in the US.
 
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, April 15
Pandemic Project: Expressing Yourself through Poetry  (Training and Education)
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Zoom
INSTRUCTOR:  Pandemic Project Members
 
Please see the Feb 18 Pandemic Project entry for background and details about this series of training sessions.
 
Today's session is Expressing Yourself through Poetry.  Poetry strengthens writing skills and helps connect with emotions in a tangible way.  In this session, we will explore the common types of poetry, and then get started using writing exercises.
 
To register for this session, please send an email with the date and name of the session, along with your name and phone number to Amy Breedlove at albreedlove@comcast.net.


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 Here in Virginia 1607-1700  (Training and Education)
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Zoom or In Person TBD
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; recordkeeping in the earlyl days and where records may be found; books providing names of settlers in the early years; as well as identifying some of the resources that are available and how 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.
 


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).
 


Thursday, May 20
Pandemic Project: Life Stories and Oral Histories  (Training and Education)
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
TBD
INSTRUCTOR:  Pandemic Project Members
 
Please see the Feb 18 Pandemic Project entry for background and details about this series of training sessions.
 
Stories of the past are heard in the future in light of current interpretations.  Oral history enables peole to share their stories in their own words, with their own voices, through their own understanding of what happened and why.
 
To register for this session, please send an email with the name and date of this session, along with your name and phone number 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
INSTRUCTOR:  Pandemic Project Members
 
Please see the Feb 18 Pandemic Project entry for background and details about this series of training sessions.
 
"If a picture paints a thousand words" . . . A picture can indeed convey meanings more effectively than 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 display your artful story.
 
To register for this session, please send an email with the date and name of the session, along with your name and phone number to Amy Breedlove at albreedlove@comcast.net.
 



Thursday, July 15
Pandemic Project: Editing Collaboration with Writing SIG Volunteers  (Training and Education)
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
TBD
INSTRUCTOR:  Pandemic Project Members
 
Please see the Feb 18 Pandemic Project entry for background and details about this series of training sessions.
 
Today's session will provide the opportunity for you to get guidance/feedback from others, and/or have your work reviewed by members of our Writing Significant Interest Group (SIG).  More details will be coming shortly.
 
To register for today's session, please send an email with the date and name of the session, along with your name and phone number, 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.