Mount Vernon Genealogical Society - Founded 1991
Founded 1991

1500 Shenandoah Road
Alexandria, Virginia 22308
Telephone:  (703) 768-4101
  2016 Holiday Party

MVGS July Monthly Meeting

The July MVGS meeting was excited and proud to have as its speaker, genealogy lecturer, Dr. John Colletta.  He discussed three 19th-century case studies drawn from his book, "Only a Few Bones, a True Account of the Rolling Fork Tragedy and Its Aftermath" demonstrating how to use multiple sources to assemble vivid accounts of ancestral events and generate biographies that portray individualized ancestors.  In other words develop a story about ones ancestors from several information sources, bringing to life the events and happenings of an individual who lived many decades ago.  His presentation methods were humorous, presented in a logical manner leading to easily understandable stories.  To  quote his website "I teach diverse audiences nationwide how to  reconstruct their family’s past from scraps of information found in old written records, maps, newspapers, photographs, tombstones and heirlooms."  His entertaining, energetic and yet very educational style makes him a favorite presenter.  "Bambino, Bambino, Bambino."

Our Research Center is Brighter

The last week of May 2017 found the MVGS Research Center (RC) getting a new view on the world.  We had new windows installed; along with the rest of Hollin Hall Senior Center that is.

Those of you who have been to our RC know that we have windows along the northwest side of the room. Not a big thing unless you also know that we have tables with seven computers, their peripheral equipment, connecting cables and a very heavy safe all under those windows.  Hollin Hall did have movers to assist, but we wanted to ensure our computers were carefully relocated. Thanks to our members Leo Dougherty and Larry Dempsey we made sure that our computer equipment was cared for and properly reconnected.  I believe the heavy safe stayed in its original location, under the windows, during replacement.

Hollin Hall is not a new building.  It housed school classes beginning in the fall of 1949 as part of a national response to the post-World War II baby boom. By 1981, the baby boom was over, and the Mount Vernon community population had matured. The school was closed and on 31 Jan 1983, the building surged back to life as the Hollin Hall Senior Center, with 35 seniors using three rooms. Today, that daily population averages over 200, with diverse activities in 17 rooms and even a child care center.

We now have white vinyl trim, double pane windows to look out onto the central courtyard of the building, that is until our computer users close the blinds because it will make it easier to view the computer screens.  They do make the room cleaner and brighter looking; should also help the heating and cooling bill.

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

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NARA Guides
NARA Guides
August 3
Using and Evaluating Mug Books for Family History Research
Webinar Moderator: Linda MacLachlan   What are “mug books?” These were county histories published in the last part of the nineteenth and early twentieth century’s. They are called mug books because people submitted information and pictures (their own “mugs”) of their ...
August 7
Entering information onto the Family Tree on
Instructor:  Linda MacLachlan   Purpose of the workshop is to learn how to post information onto family trees on the website.  The workshop will be held in room 214, the MVGS Research Center  The class is limited to 12 ...
August 10
PICASA - An Electronic Image Organizer and Viewer
Instructor: Charles Gearhart   Picasa was a free image organizer and viewer for organzing and editing digital photos, plus an integrated photo sharing website.  On February 12, 2016, Google announced it was discontinuing support for Picasa Desktop and Web Albums, effective ...
August 15
Finding Pre-and Post-Civil War Virginia Records, Including Plantation Records
Presenter: Char McCargo Bah   Description:  This lecture will present a variety of records that can be used in searching for your ancestors.  These records will include pre and post-civil war records for free and enslaved people.  A sample copy of ...
August 17
Finding and Using Unusual Records
Instructor:  Sharon Hodges   This class will address locating and using records such as insurance records, various licenses and their applications, etc. in your genealogy research.   To register, please send an email to Amy Breedlove at   ...