MGC 2020: Origins & Destinations




Author, The Great Migration series

Robert Charles Anderson, FASG, Director of the Great Migration Study Project was educated as a biochemist and served in the United States Army in electronics intelligence. In 1972 he discovered his early New England ancestry and thereafter devoted his time and energies to genealogical research. In 1983 he received a Master’s degree in colonial American History from the UMass Amherst and was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists in 1978. He became a Contributing Editor of The American Genealogist in 1979, Associate Editor in 1985, and Coeditor from 1993 to 2012. He has been an editorial consultant to the Register since 1989.



Professional Genealogist

Sara E. Campbell brings her civil engineering training into solving genealogical problems. She has self-published and edited family history books, previously edited the MSOG monthly newsletter, and contributed to the NEHGS "Western Massachusetts Families in 1790, Volume 4." She is a frequent lecturer at regional societies and libraries.



Editor, The Mayflower Descendant

Christopher C. Child has worked for various departments at NEHGS since 1997 and became a full-time employee in July 2003. He has been a member of NEHGS since the age of eleven. He has written several articles in American Ancestors, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, and The Mayflower Descendant. He is the co-editor of The Ancestry of Catherine Middleton (NEHGS, 2011), co-author of The Descendants of Judge John Lowell of Newburyport, Massachusetts (Newbury Street Press, 2011) and Ancestors and Descendants of George Rufus and Alice Nelson Pratt (Newbury Street Press, 2013), and author of The Nelson Family of Rowley, Massachusetts (Newbury Street Press, 2014). Chris holds a B.A. in history from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.


Areas of expertise: Southern New England, especially Connecticut; New York; ancestry of notable figures, especially presidents; genetics and genealogy; African-American and Native-American genealogy, 19th and 20th Century research, westward migrations out of New England, and applying to hereditary societies. Chris has lectured on these topics and edits the genetics and genealogy column for American Ancestors.



Research Projects Coordinator for JGSGB

Carol Clingan has been researching her family for almost 30 years and has traced her main lines back to about 1800. She is the chair of research projects at the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston and does research for friends and family as well as for clients. She also manages a project with the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts to rescue sacred objects from synagogues that are closing.



Fellow, SHRAB Massachusetts

 Ariana Fiorello-Omotosho earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Spelman College where she concentrated in African American literature and undertook a minor in the study of African Diaspora and the World. While at Spelman, Ariana was able to develop a curiosity and interest in the African American experience, which included conducting genealogical research.  Upon meeting her biological family in her senior year of high school, she became enthralled with getting to know the people she came from and their origins. Spelman introduced her to intersectionality of history and genealogy and it became a passion of hers to uncover the hidden identities and voices of the African American ancestors that came before us.  Ariana now finds herself as a dual master’s degree candidate in the fields of history and archives management program at Simmons University. Her studies have focused on the collection and preservation of African American archival records, as well as the history of African Americans. She has researched the concept of neutrality and bias opinion in archives, identifying racial passing through archival documents, and addressing the issues of outreach and accessibility regarding African American rare books and special collections. Now Ariana is working on completing her history thesis that discusses slavery, resistance, and freedom in Massachusetts looking at Amos Fortune, Belinda, Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman, and Paul Cuffe. As Ariana continues to expand her professional studies, her goal is to intersect her professional skills with her genealogical research to help expand the understanding of the African American experience for individual ancestors through her company, Discovering You Genealogically: The Genealogy Curator.



Professional Genealogist

Named for her grandmothers and inspired by her mother’s phenomenal memory, Margaret R. Fortier, CG, is a Boston-based genealogical researcher, lecturer, and writer. Her research focuses on  Italian, French-Canadian, Irish, and Portuguese immigrants.  She holds an MS in Human Factors in Information Design (MSHFID) from Bentley University and a BSBA from Boston College. She serves on the board of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists and is a member of the New England Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists as well as several local and national genealogical societies.



Research Archivist, Massachusetts State Archives

Catherine Gaggioli is a Reference Archivist at the Massachusetts State Archives with a background in genealogical research and academic libraries. She received her BA in History from Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and went on to earn an MA in History and an MLIS focused in Archives Management from Simmons College.  Prior to joining the staff at the Massachusetts State Archives, Catherine was a researcher at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. She is also a co-founder of the community project, Books on the T, which places free books at transit stops in the Greater Boston area.



Chair, MGC DNA Committee

Pamela Guye Holland lives in Swampscott, Massachusetts, and has been researching family roots found in Ireland, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and Germany for almost twenty years. She is co-president of The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA) and is a certificate holder from the Boston University Genealogical Research Certificate program. In 2013 she became a professional genealogist and works for Research Services at the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) and as the US-based genealogist in the Green Room at Her research specialties are Irish and Genetic Genealogy. She also has expertise in New England, New York (both city and state) and German research. Her website is



Asst. Reference Librarian, Phillips Library

Jennifer Hornsby is the Reference & Access Services Librarian at the Phillips Library.  She first became acquainted with the library as manuscript processing intern in 2011, before officially joining the library in 2013 as a NHPRC grant funded manuscript processor. She has a B.A. in History from Union College, and a M.L.I.S. from Simmons College.



Register of Deeds, Middlesex North

Richard P. Howe Jr. is the Register of Deeds for the Middlesex Northern District and the founder of Lowell Walks which presents walking tours of downtown Lowell in partnership with Lowell National Historic Park. He holds a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School and an M.A. in history from Salem State University. He lectures frequently on Lowell history and on the use of land records in genealogical research.



The Genealogy Professor

Michael J. Leclerc, CG, is a popular genealogical presenter, teacher, author, and editor. He got his start in genealogy thirty years ago when he first visited the American-French Genealogical Society. From 1995 through 2011 he served in various positions at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. he served in a variety of capacities from research services to the library to publications. He was responsible for the launch of two websites, bringing searchable databases from the Society’s collections to its members for the first time. He edited a number of books, including Genealogical Writing in the 21st Century: A Guide to Register Style and More, Second Edition, with Henry Hoff, and the fifth edition of the Society’s seminal guidebook Genealogist’s Handbook for New England Research. He was a contributing editor for American Ancestors magazine, and a consulting editor for the New England Historical and Genealogical Register.


In 2012 he joined Mocavo as Chief Genealogist, leaving in the summer of 2015. he worked with the development team to implement features of use to genealogists. He wrote about genealogical research and methodology for the Mocavo blog and made presentations around the world about how to use the website. He also hosted Mocavo Fireside Chat, interviewing leading genealogists about research and methodology and answering questions from Mocavo subscribers. In 2016 he started Genealogy Professor to provide high-quality genealogical education to family historians.


He has authored numerous articles for scholarly journals and genealogy magazines. In 2020 he authored the chapter “Crafting Family Histories” in Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice, & Standards, edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills. He has presented at genealogy conferences and seminars around the world. He served on the boards of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the Federation of Genealogical Societies. He is an associate of the Board for Certification of Genealogists.


Michael has presented at genealogical conferences, seminars, and institutes around the world, including:  Federation of Genealogical Studies conference, GenTech, National Genealogical Society conference, RootsTech, and the New England Regional Genealogical Conference (NERGC),


He has also been on the faculty of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. For the past ten years he has been part of the teaching team for Boston University’s online certificate program in genealogy.



Program Director, MGC

Susan O’Connor has been involved in genealogy since before she was born! When her parents announced their engagement, a distant relative declared “Maurice Bowler’s daughter has no business keeping company with Katie Manning’s son!” Testimony from an Irish missionary priest in Georgia enabled her parents to marry but it was only on their 60th wedding anniversary when Susan presented them with a detailed pedigree chart that they learned they were actually 3rd cousins. Susan has researched her family in Ireland, Australia and the United States and those of her husband and cousins from French Canada for over 20 years. She holds a Certificate in Genealogy Research from Boston University.



Librarian, Ferreira-Mendes Archives, UMass

Sonia Pacheco is the librarian archivist for the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese American Archives, as well as the Portuguese, History and Foreign Languages library liaison at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Her fifteen years of experience as an information and heritage professional draws on her current position at an academic library and archive, as well as previous jobs as an archivist and museum coordinator for a historical society, community development librarian and librarian archivist at public libraries. She received a master’s degree in Information Studies (Archives focus) from the University of Toronto and a master’s in History from the University of Massachusetts Boston. The research for her MA thesis focused on Portuguese illegal emigration to the United States during the 1895-1911 period. Her professional interests include the relationship between archives and immigrant communities, capturing and preserving community memory, and teaching primary source literacy.



Records Manager, UMass Lowell Archives




Reference Assistant, Phillips Library

Meaghan Wright, Assistant Reference & Access Services Librarian, has been at the Phillips Library reference department since 2017. Prior to joining the Peabody Essex Museum, Meaghan earned her M.L.I.S. at the University of Sheffield in the UK. She also holds a B.A. in History and English from Durham University, and combines these interests in her current work at the library. In her role as a reference librarian, she assists researchers accessing the collections, and enjoys the variety of unique ways they find to use the materials.