Montgomery County Genealogical Society


The Montgomery County Genealogical Society in Maryland is a venue for individuals to share their interests and projects and to learn new techniques. The society meets the fourth Wednesday of the month (except November when we meet the third Wednesday due to Thanksgiving) from 7:30-9:00 p.m., September-November and January-May. New members are welcome. Read HERE for details.
Norman Raines Elrod, 1945-2022
Norman Raines Elrod, a member of the genealogy society, died October 22, 2022, in Lewes, Delaware, where he and his wife had relocated from Silver Spring, Maryland, in early August.
He was born August 5, 1945, in Chicago, Illinois, the younger son of Warrick Elgin Elrod, Jr. and Nancy Raines Elrod. His father was a foreign service officer who took the family to post-war Germany and then Princeton, New Jersey, before settling in Washington, D.C., and suburban Maryland.
Norman attended Sidwell Friends Upper School, graduating in 1968. He received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Earlham College in Indiana before going on to receive master’s and doctorate degrees in economics from George Washington University. Norman the taught math and science at Georgetown Day School High School for four years. With a growing family, he left teaching to work at several agencies of the U. S. government, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Interstate Commerce Commission, International Trade Commission, and Central Intelligence Agency, retiring from the Federal Aviation Administration in 2011.
Norman and his wife, Judy K. Elrod, joined the genealogy club, the predecessor of the Montgomery County Genealogy Society, in 2016 and maintained their memberships after moving from Maryland. Norman was particularly interested in learning more about his Irish ancestors who were not as well documented as some of his other lines. He was interred at Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
Access Past Events
(Members can access recordings and handouts by clicking on the Members tab in the left-hand column. Sessions marked with * have been recorded.)
Who Do I Think I Am? (November 2022) Dr. William E. J. Doane began researching his genealogy at the start of the pandemic due in part to newly available pre-adoption records and an unexpected DNA connection. He describes his process, t he sources he used, the discoveries he made.
Using the National Archives Websites* (October 2022) Claire Kluskens, NARA’s genealogy/census records subject matter expert, describes how to navigate the archives’ multiple websites and databases.
Research at the Jane Sween Library and Special Collections* (September 2022) Librarian Sarah Hedlund reviews the resources available at the Jane Sween Library in Montgomery County, Maryland, with tips for using online search engines and digital collections material.
Beyond Names and Dates – Writing a Family History* (May 2022) Christina Lyons, a personal historian and journalist, talks about her recent client project, a 330-page, illustrated book describing 400 years of a family’s history. Christina touches on historical research techniques, narrative non-fiction writing, manuscript development and elements for book design (photos, maps, letters, etc.).
DAR Applications* (April 2022) Pamela Loos-Noji, a staff genealogist for the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, describes how to find and use records that pre-date the 1850 census and provide solid proof of dates, places and generational links necessary for DAR applications.
Film: Burren Girl (March 2022) Rita Davern (originally Davoren) shares stories of her research and travels to find out why her Irish grandmother left Ireland.
Between Freedom and Equality* (February 2022) Barbara Boyle Torrey and Clara Myrick Green, authors of Between Freedom and Equality: The History of an African American Family in Washington, D.C., talk about how they reconstructed the genealogy of the family of Captain George Pointer, an eighteenth-century slave who worked as a supervisory engineer for George Washington’s Potomac Canal in Montgomery Country. They are joined by James Fisher, an eighth-generation descendant of Pointer, and researcher Tanya Gaskins Hardy.
Maryland State Archives (November 2021) David A Powell, a genealogy instructor at the Community College of Baltimore County and other venues, provides tips for navigating the extensive Maryland State Archives website and talks about how to access the archives in person.
Putting It All Together – Making Sense of Your Research (October 2021) Robyn Smith shares some tips and tools for organizing, analyzing and properly citing historical records.
Using DNA to Solve Adoption and Unkown Parentage Mysteries (May 2021) Michelle Leonard explains how to use DNA results to solve previously unsolvable mysteries.
Road to Publication* (April 2021) Nancy Waters discusses how to preserve your genealogy research for family, friends, and future generations.
Finding Your Ancestors in Unindexed Records in FamilySearch (March 2021 Carol Kostakos and Gary Petranek provide specific instructions for accessing records “hidden” in the Catalog and “Unindexed Historical Records” sections of the FamilySearch website.
Celebrating Our First Year!
In July, the board of directors met to celebrate the society’s first year and to continue planning for the future. (Front row, from left: Sue Reeb, director; Hannelore Quigley, secretary; Doug Hill, president; and Christina Lyons, second vice president-communications. Back row, from left: Lori Kelman, director; Susan Wilbur, director/membership chair; Lorraine Minor and Elaine Hornauer, first vice presidents-programs. Not shown: Cheryl Peirce, treasurer, and Bryan Main, director.)
The Montgomery County Genealogical Society is a year old!
In July 2021, we began our efforts to launch an independent organization that could bring together genealogy enthusiasts and experts from around the county – and even beyond. We had no idea how much we could accomplish in just one year.
Thanks to the support of our members, MCGS has:
  • become a tax-exempt nonprofit;
  • provided monthly programming covering a range of topics and research interests;
  • brought together people from almost every area of the county, and even people around the state and the country (thanks to Zoom);
  • launched this website to keep you informed about our programming and link you to key resources;
  • provided our members the monthly “Genealogy Gleanings,” a roundup of interesting local or online events, articles and more that is compiled by our genealogy expert Lorraine Minor;
  • started connecting with other local and state genealogy and history groups to improve programming and other membership benefits.
  • become a member of the National Genealogical Society so we can keep you informed about events across the country, new resources, and educational opportunities; and more.
That’s just the beginning. We are brainstorming and laying the groundwork to launch some local projects that will improve access to local resources, further your education in historical research, and bring you together with others who share your enthusiasm for genealogy. And, of course, we will continue our regular monthly programs in September.
We are so thankful for the outpouring of enthusiasm and support from our members. Not a member yet? Please consider joining so you can obtain access to all of our programs and discussions, as well as to our archive of recorded presentations, handouts, and more. We also welcome new ideas and volunteer support.
Program Planning
The board of directors for the Montgomery County Genealogical Society is always brainstorming ideas for the coming year, and are lining up speakers. Have an idea for a topic, event, or speaker? Please message us at
Library is Open
The Jane C. Sween Research Library and Special Collections in Rockville is open and scheduling research appointments.

February 22
7:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen & Abandoned Lands:Finding people before 1870 by Dr. Shelley Murphy
This session will introduce the Bureau and expose you to the individuals and groups they served. A federal records collection opened after the civil ...

March 22

April 26
7:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Using Maryland Land Record Indexes by Margo Lee Williams
This will be a discussion of how to use the MDLandRecs website to research deeds and plats, as well as property tax records to find ...