Presenter's Bios

Anderson, Leslie
Leslie Anderson, a native Virginian, and owner of Anderson Historic Research LLC, has a BA from Wesleyan University and an MSLS from Case Western Reserve University. Her genealogical education includes the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, the Institute of Genealogical & Historical Research, and Gen-Fed. She is a member of AAHGS, the National Genealogical Society, and the Virginia Genealogical Society. Leslie was the Project Editor for the Virginia Slave Births Index, 1853-1865 and a Co-author of Alexandria. She received the NGS Family History Writing Award in 2013 and was named a Virginia Humanities Fellow in 2020. Her blog "1st U.S. Colored Cavalry: Private Lives, Public Records" has been well-received.
Bennett, Bernice Alexander
Bernice Alexander Bennett is an award-winning author, genealogist, nationally recognized guest speaker, storyteller, and producer-host of the popular Research at the National Archives and Beyond Blog Talk Radio program. She received the Elizabeth Clark-Lewis Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) Genealogy Award in 2019 for original research in support of African American Genealogy. Her book "Tracing Their Steps - A Memoir" received the Phillis Wheatley Literary Award from the Sons and Daughters of the United States Middle Passage in 2019, the International AAHGS Book Award in 2020 for Non-Fiction Short Story and, the Next Generations Indie Award in 2021 for African American Non-Fiction book category. Bennett is also a volunteer with the National Homestead Historical Park Services focusing on identifying and encouraging descendants of Black Homesteaders to share their stories on the NPS website ( Bennett is also on the Board of Directors for the National Genealogical Society.
Collier, Melvin J.
Melvin J. Collier has been conducting historical and genealogical research for over 25 years, starting at the age of 19. He is a former civil engineer, who used his passion for African American history and historical preservation to foster a career change. He then earned a Master of Arts degree in African American Studies, Clark Atlanta University, in 2008, with additional graduate coursework in Archival Studies from Clayton State University. For seven years, he worked as an archivist at the Robert W. Woodruff Library - Atlanta University Center, processing the Morehouse College Dr. Martin Luther King Papers, the Maynard Jackson Administrative Papers and Photographs, the Dr. Asa Hilliard III Papers, and other collections. He now works for the Department of Defense in the Washington, D.C. area.
Collier maintains a genealogy blog, Roots Revealed, at
Garrett-Nelson, LaBrenda
LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG®, CGL(SM), is a trustee and President of the Board for Certification of Genealogists and serves as the Registrar General of the Sons and Daughters of the United States Middle Passage, a national lineage society that honors ancestors who were enslaved in the United States. AAHGS awarded her the 2020 Elizabeth Clark-Lewis Genealogy Award for original research in support of African American Genealogy.
Jones, Ida E.
Dr. Ida Jones is a native of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a noted professional archivist and historian, award-winning author, educator, and recognized leader in the field of African American women's history. She graduated from Howard University with a bachelor's degree in News Editorial Journalism, a Master of Arts degree in Public History, and a Ph.D. in American History. Her dedication to her alma mater and to the identification, preservation, and use of personal papers and organizational records, created by African Americans and African American organizations, prompted her to accept the coveted position of Assistant Curator of Manuscripts in Howard University's Moorland Spingarn Research Center. The Moorland Spingarn Research Center is "one of the world's largest and most comprehensive repositories for the documentation of the history and culture of people of African descent in Africa, in the Americas and in other parts of the world."
She is the newly elected ASALH national vice president for membership. Additionally, she is the inaugural University Archivist at Morgan State University, in Baltimore.
Kluskens, Claire
Claire Kluskens is a digital projects archivist and designated Genealogy/Census Records Subject Matter Expert specializing in records of high genealogical value. She spearheaded the completion of more than 330 National Archives microfilm publications, and now works on digital and description projects for the National Archives Catalog. She lectures frequently and has published extensively in national, state, and local genealogical publications. Claire has been a National Archives and Records Administration staff member since 1992 and has done genealogical research since 1976.
Koonce, Taneya Y.
Conducting genealogy and family history research has been a passion of Taneya's since 2005. As a health information science professional with 20 years in information management & organization, she is fortunate to have a hobby in which she applies her professional experience toward the identification, selection, evaluation, & critical analysis of genealogical information. She is an active blogger and participant in the genealogy & family history field, with an avid interest in technology, historical newspaper research, digital photo & file organization, and genetic genealogy.
She serves others through a myriad of volunteer activities, including participation & leadership roles in the national USGenWeb Project and the National Genealogical Society. Taneya also runs a Facebook community for family history enthusiasts, the Academy of Legacy Leaders™, a group to foster education, inspiration, and camaraderie for family history activities. She is also currently the President of the Nashville Chapter of the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society (AAHGS), which was recently awarded the AAHGS 2021 Chapter of the Year.
Quander, Rohulamin
Rohulamin Quander, author and multi-generational Washingtonian, is a member of the internationally renowned Quander Family, whose American lineage traces back almost 350 years in the Maryland and Virginia area. The family's history includes involuntary servitude to George Washington at his Mount Vernon plantation. He earned both his B.A. and J.D. degrees from Howard University, Washington, D.C. Quander is a retired Senior Administrative Judge for the District of Columbia.
He is the author of four books, two of which highlight significant components of African American life, including aspects of membership in Greek-letter organizations, and their history and culture. The third book, a biography of James W. Quander, his father, relates his dad's lifelong struggle, but ultimate triumph, as he faced the many debilitating challenges of diabetes. His most recent book, titled "The Quanders", recounts the history of the Quander Family, tracing their presence and historic contributions from the 17th century to the present.
Judge Quander, a member of many civic and social service organizations and movements, has expanded his sights to include offering guided tours to historic sites in the Greater Washington, D.C. area. Although schooled in the traditional Monuments and Memorials tours, which remain popular, he is also focused upon the African American history and cultural contributions that often lie beneath the surface. In that respect, he can tailor his tours to include both aspects.
Sorrels, Chiquita Clark
Chiquita 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 170 years. She loves research and mysteries.
She is currently the President of the Montgomery County Maryland Chapter of AAHGS. She served as an active member on the 2019 AAHGS National Conference planning committee - "400 Years of Black History: The Struggles, Challenges and Perseverance"; and the 2020 virtual AAHGS National Conference planning committee - "1619 Virginia to Present Day, Correcting the National Narrative, in the Midst of Covid-19"
Chiquita has a Bachelor's degree in Spanish from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master's Degree in Library Science from Drexel University, a Bachelor's degree in Computer 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 applications courses.
White, Linda Crichlow
Linda Crichlow White, born in Washington, DC and attended public schools here before attending college (West Virginia State College, B.S. and Howard University, M.S.) and beginning a teaching career in Brooklyn, New York. Linda taught home economics in both Brooklyn and DC Public Schools for 20 years before earning a Masters in Library Science from Catholic University, and working as a School Library Media Specialist in Montgomery County, Maryland retiring 2013. In retirement, she has worked on writing her family history, using documents and images that she found in the homes of her mother and aunts. In retirement, she speaks about local history and genealogy and volunteers at the National Museum of African American History and Culture where there are some family objects on display. Linda is currently the president of the James Dent Walker Washington, DC Chapter of AAHGS.