Calendar of Events

Genealogy Fair: Wednesday, April 23, 2008

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April 23, 2008

National Archives Research Center,
Washington, DC (Enter on Pennsylvania Avenue)

This event was free and open to the public. No reservations required.

WHAT: The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) presents its fourth annual genealogy fair! This year’s program included three tracks of sessions: general genealogy, World War I, and the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Speakers encouraged family historians to research their families using the records of the National Archives.

Session topics included: an introduction to genealogy, Access to Archival Databases (AAD), land records, Civil War pension files, finding place of birth in Federal records, Gold Star Mothers, Maritime records, Passport Applications, 1795-1925, Archival Research Catalog (ARC), immigration and naturalization records of World War I, World War I draft registration records, Civilian Conservation Corps records, Federal Emergency Relief Act records, the basics of DNA testing, WPA State Guides, Freedmen’s Bureau marriage records, publications of the WPA, and Virginia Slave Births Index.

Demonstrations and ongoing exhibits were available all day and included:  how to use a digital camera in research, NARA’s beginning genealogy tutorial, preserving your important papers and photographs, demonstrations of databases, including the Archival Research Catalog (ARC) and Access to Archival Databases (AAD), the NARA Library,, Help! I’m Stuck: Getting Started, information on genealogical institutions.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 23, 2008, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

WHERE: National Archives Building, Research Center Lobby, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW between 7th and 9th Streets, Washington DC, (Enter on Pennsylvania Avenue). Government-issued photo identification is required to enter the building. The closest Metro stop is the Archives/Navy Memorial stop on the Yellow and Green lines. The National Archives is fully accessible.

For location details see our Visitor's Map.

If you need to request an accommodation (e.g., sign language interpreter) for a public program please e-mail or call 202 357-5000 at least two weeks prior to the event to ensure proper arrangements are secured.

WHO: Speakers include: Susan Abbott, Claire Bettag, Susannah E. Brooks, Rebecca Crawford, William Creech, John Deeben, Raff Ellis, Carolyn Gilliam, Lynn Goodsell, Kenneth Heger, Jill Reilly James, Claire Kluskens, Daniel Law, Leslie Anderson Morales, Constance Potter, Rebecca Sharp, Thomas Shawker, MD, Marian Smith, Katherine Vollen, Reginald Washington, Rebecca Warlow.



Time General Genealogy
(Room 500)
World War I
(Room G-24)
(Room G-30)
9:30-10:15 Introduction to Genealogy

Claire Kluskens

World War I Gold Star Mothers

Constance Potter

An Introduction to Using the Records of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) for Family History

Kenneth Heger

10:30-11:15 Land Entry Papers at the National Archives

Claire Bettag, CG, CGL
Genealogical Resources for Merchant Seamen serving in World War I

Susan Abbott

Genealogy and New Deal Relief: The Central Files of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, 1933-1936

John Deeben

11:30-12:15 Book Lecture
Kisses From a Distance – An Immigrant Family Experience

Raff Ellis, author

Passport Applications, 1795-1925

Rebecca Sharp and Katherine Vollen

DNA Testing: The Very, Very Basics

Thomas Shawker

12:15-1:30 Lunch Lunch Lunch
12:15-1:15 ---------- ---------- Let No Man Put Asunder: Freedmen’s Bureau Marriage Records

Reginald Washington

1:30-2:15 Access to Archival Databases (AAD) for Genealogists

Lynn Goodsell and Daniel Law

Navigating the Archival Research Catalog

Jill James and Rebecca Warlow

WPA State Guides

Bill Creech

2:30-3:15 Anatomy of a Civil War pension file

Claire Kluskens

Immigration and Naturalization Records of World War I

Marian Smith

The Virginia Slave Births Index: How 19th Century Data Became a 21st Century Research Tool

Leslie Anderson Morales

3:30-4:15 Finding Place of Birth in Federal Records

Susannah Brooks

WWI Draft Registration Records


Rebecca Crawford

Genealogy and the Publications of the WPA


Carolyn Gilliam

Featured Speakers

Susan Abbott is an Archivist with the Old Military and Civilian Reference Branch in the Textual Reference Division at the National Archives in Washington, DC. She specializes in records relating to the Maritime Trade.

Claire Bettag, CG, CGL, is a professional genealogist, who lectures nationally and regionally, and researches principally in Washington, DC, Louisiana, and France. One of her major interests and lecture topics is Federal land records at the National Archives.

Susannah E. Brooks is a volunteer genealogy staff aide at the National Archives and vice president of the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society (MAGS). She specializes in German, 19th and 20th century general U.S. research, and using bank records in genealogical research.

Rebecca Crawford is an Archives Specialist for the Archives I, Research Support Branch, Customer Service Division. She oversees the general operation of the Microfilm Research Room at Archives I.

William Creech is an Archivist at the National Archives who has worked extensively in WPA records for more than 25 years.

John Deeben is an Archives Specialist in the Research Support Branch, Customer Services Division at the National Archives Building, in Washington, DC.

Raff Ellis is a former computer industry executive and author of short stories, magazine articles, essays, and political commentary. His book, Kisses from a Distance, is a memoir based on the documents handed down, and tales told to him, by his Lebanese parents

Carolyn Gilliam is a librarian at the National Archives and has worked here for five years.

Lynn Goodsell is an Archivist with the Electronic and Special Media Records Services Division. She provides reference services for the National Archives' electronic records.

Kenneth Heger is the branch chief of the Archives I Research Support Staff at Archives I. Previously, he was the projects manager for Modern Military Records at College Park. Dr. Heger received his MA and PhD from the University of Maryland.

Jill Reilly James is an Archives Specialist at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland where she works on NARA’s Archival Research Catalog (ARC). She has been with the ARC staff for four years.

Claire Kluskens has been an Archivist at the National Archives since 1992, and a genealogical researcher since 1976. She specializes in census, immigration, military, and other records of high genealogical value.

Daniel Law is an Archives Specialist with the Electronic and Special Media Records Services Division. He provides reference services for the National Archives' electronic records.

Leslie Anderson Morales is a Reference Librarian in the Local History/Special Collections in Alexandria Library. She writes history articles for children's magazines. Her current projects include children's books about African American Civil War sailors and "Priscilla's Homecoming."

Constance Potter is an Archivist at the National Archives in Washington, DC, specializes in Federal records of genealogical interest. She has lectured at genealogical conferences and National Archives’ workshops, and is a contributing editor to “Genealogy Notes” in Prologue magazine.

Rebecca Sharp is an Archives Specialist in the Archives I Research Support Branch, Customer Services Division. She specializes in Federal records of genealogical interest.

Thomas Shawker, MD is a research physician at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He has spoken at numerous genealogy conferences and has published several articles on genetics, family health history, and medical history.

Marian Smith is the Senior Historian at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security. She regularly lectures at national and international genealogy conferences on the history and uses of immigration and naturalization records.

Katherine Vollen is an Archives Specialist in the Archives I Research Support Branch, Customer Services Division. She specializes in Federal records of genealogical interest.

Reginald Washington serves as the African-American Genealogy Subject Area Specialist at the National Archives. He lectures frequently at genealogical conferences concerning the records and research procedures at the National Archives.

Rebecca Warlow is an Archives Specialist at the National Archives, where she works on NARA’s Archival Research Catalog (ARC). She has taught genealogical workshops, spoken at historical and genealogical meetings, and aided amateur and professional genealogists.


Information Tables
(Research Center Lobby)

  • Access to Archival Databases (AAD)
  • Archival Research Catalog (ARC)
  • Help, I’m Stuck:  Getting Started
  • Handouts and Special Databases
  • National Archives Library
  • Online Genealogy Tutorial
  • Preservation
  • You and Your Digital Camera
  • Information on Genealogical Institutions

NOTE: Please visit our registration desk and pick up your 15% discount coupon for our Archives Shop.


Genealogy Fairs & Series Past

Family TreeEvery year, the National Archives hosts a free, virtual Genealogy event live webcast on YouTube. The sessions offer family history research tools on Federal records for all skill levels. Join thousands of family historians participating during the live event. Attend free of charge and no reservation.

  - Watch previous session video recordings on YouTube

  - See past event web pages, posters, session videos, and handouts below. 


All events listed in the calendar are free unless noted.