Charles S. Mason, Jr.

Expert Author

Charles S. "Chuck" Mason, Jr., CG SM is a Certified Genealogist SM, specializing in Southern New Jersey and 19th and 20th Century Death Records. He is a graduate of National Genealogical Society's American Genealogy: A Basic Course, and was an instructor for the course. He is a graduate of the National Institute for Genealogical Research at the National Archives.

Chuck is a member of both the Fairfax (VA) and the Mt. Vernon (VA) Genealogical Societies and has served as President of both societies. He is a past President of NIGR Alumni Association, and was a Director of the Northern Virginia Association for History.

Chuck teaches genealogy classes for the Fairfax County (VA) Adult Education program and has lectures in the Washington DC area, Virginia, and New Jersey. He is a frequent contributor to the NGS's magazine and authors "Genealogy News and Issues" a monthly article for their on-line newsletter.

Favorite Genealogy Quote

"If you are afraid of skeletons then stay out of closets. And if you are ashamed to have ancestors who do not meet your social standards then stay away from genealogy. There are illegitimate children in the best of families-none of us is free from this. And outlaw or the preverbal horse thief may show up on any pedigree. You will also find the opposite—nobility and social stature."—Val D. Greenwood

What are your specific genealogical interests?

I have two major interests. The first is Southern New Jersey because that is where most of my ancestors lived. The second is 19th and 20th century death records, because an ancestor's death is most likely the one event for which there will be some kind of record created. Deaths often are recorded in death certificates, obituaries, death notices, cemetery records, church records, probate records, and other miscellaneous records.

What got you into genealogy?

My maternal grandfather talked about his parents coming over to Philadelphia from Glasgow, Scotland. I wanted to find out more about them and their family. Once I started researching them, I became interested in my other family members and started researching all my great grandparents.

Most surprising genealogical find:

I found my maternal grandfather had registered for the World War I draft in Passaic County, New Jersey where he was living and working. He was my one grandparent who talked about his family and his life. He was born and lived in Philadelphia and Gloucester County, New Jersey. He never once talked about living in any other place in New Jersey.

If you could find the family history of any historical great, who would it be and why?

It would be Franklin Delano Roosevelt, because he accomplished so much in spite of his handicap. As President he implemented so many "New Deal" programs that created so many records that are very useful to genealogists today. If only World War II had not come along and the many projects could have been completed, we would have even more useful records to use for research.

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