Presenter's Bios

Alexander Bennett, Bernice
A lecturer, author, and family historian researching and documenting her African American roots. She is a Citizen's Archivist with the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, DC, where she prepares Widows' pension records and digitization for Fold3. Also, she is the producer and host of a weekly Blogtalkradio show - Research at the National Archives and Beyond. She has spoken at national and local genealogical societies, and is a Coordinator and faculty member for the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute.
Ashley, John
John is the current Secretary/Historian for the Bethel Dukes Branch, ASALH® (Association for the Study of African American Life and History) in Washington, DC and former ASALH® national board member. Attorney at Library of Congress Copyright Office - A specialty in intellectual property, copyrights, trademarks, patents, and entertainment law. Frequent presenter on rights of ownership in, and clearing rights to use, personal and family papers, records, documents, and ephemera.
Christmas, Shannon
An experienced genealogist specializing in genetic, colonial American, and African-American genealogy in Virginia and the Carolinas. He serves as a 23andMe Ancestry Ambassador, administrator of The Captain Thomas Graves of Jamestown Autosomal DNA Project, co-administrator of The Hemings-Jefferson-Wayles-Eppes Autosomal DNA Project. Shannon has a special interest in harnessing the power of autosomal DNA to verify and extend pedigrees, assess the veracity of oral history, and reconstruct ancestral genomes.
A trained urban planning and real estate consultant, Shannon has a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Harvard University and a Masters in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Goodson, Noreen
Born and raised in Baltimore, MD; graduate of Morgan State College and Morgan State University; and elementary school teacher for 30 years in the Baltimore City Public School System. In 1981, she began researching her parents' families in Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina. Currently the Corresponding Secretary of Baltimore's Agnes Kane Callum Chapter of AAHGS. Also a member of the Maryland Genealogical Society and of the historical societies of Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, and Baltimore City. Currently researching the Goodsons of Richland County, SC.
Hochreiter, Andrew J.
Andrew J. Hochreiter, MEd, MIS, is a genetic genealogist who manages multiple DNA surname projects and has successfully applied DNA to trace several related family branches overseas. He has over 28 years of experience in genealogical research and 12 years involved with genetic genealogy. Mr. Hochreiter instructs continuing education courses in basic and advanced genetic genealogy at Howard Community College in Columbia, MD. He is a facilitator for the genetic genealogy module of the on-line Genealogical Research Course at Boston University. Mr. Hochreiter is a great enthusiast and user of genetic genealogy as another valuable means to trace family history and solve genealogical problems.
Murphy, Ric
Ric Murphy, B.S., M.U.A., S.E.F. educator, historian, noted public speaker and award-winning author of several historical publications. He has presented throughout North America, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa. Ric has served in elected and appointed positions within federal, 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. Ric is currently the VP for History with the National organization of AAHGS.
Smith, Robyn
Author and Genealogist has been researching her family and others for 18 years. An engineer by day, Robyn makes good use of those research and problem-solving skills in the field of genealogy. She specializes in Maryland research, African-American and Slave-era research and Court Records research. Robyn has a strong interest in promoting the documentation of families and communities, and emphasizing the use of proper genealogical standards in our research. Robyn teaches an Advanced African-American Genealogy class part-time at Howard Community College in Columbia, MD, lectures locally and has published several genealogy articles in local journals. She is also the author of a new book The Best of Reclaiming Kin and the genealogy blog Reclaiming Kin which can be viewed at
Robyn received the AAHGS National Paul Edward Sluby, Sr./Jean Sampson-Scott Meritorious Achievement Award for 2017.
Sorrels, Chiquita Calrk
She has been interested in her family history since she was a teenager. She is originally from West Chester, PA and both her maternal and paternal families have resided in Chester County, PA, for over 150 years. She loves research and mysteries. Chiquita has a Bachelors degree in Spanish from the University of Pennsylvania, a Masters degree in Library Science from Drexel University, and a Bachelors degree in Computer and Information Science from the University of Maryland. In addition to running her own computer support company she is also an adjunct professor at Montgomery College where she teaches computer applications courses.