Co-presenter Bios for March 2019 Featured Presentation: “Strategizing Paths Around Brick Walls”

BARBARA JEAN MATHEWS, Co-Presenter for Saturday March 16, 2019 Barbara Jean Mathews is a Board-certified professional genealogist who specializes in the families of colonial Connecticut and Massachusetts. She was elected as a Fellow in the honorary American Society of Genealogists (ASG) in 2014. Currently she serves as the ASG’s Representative to the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC), as President of the Massachusetts Genealogical Council, as Massachusetts State Liaison to RPAC, and as a contributor MGC’s Sentinel blog. Among Barbara’s publications are The Descendants of Governor Thomas Welles of Connecticut and his Wife Alice Tomes, Philo Hodge (1756-1842) of Roxbury, Connecticut, and Descendants of Governor Thomas Welles of Connecticut through Hezekiah[5] and Daniel[5] Wells of Stratford, Connecticut. Barbara also edited The Descendants of Thomas Lamkin of the Northern Neck of Virginia. She has many published articles in The American Genealogist (TAG) as well as a few articles in such journals and magazines as NGS Newsmagazine, Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly (APGQ), The Connecticut Nutmegger, Connecticut Ancestry, and The Essex Genealogist. Her book reviews have appeared in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, TAG, the National Genealogy Society Quarterly, and APGQ. Barbara’s blog, “The Demanding Genealogist,” explores issues of quality in genealogical work. She uses generally accepted genealogical standards to review printed and web-based genealogy work products, including her own work.

ARIANA FIORELLO-OMOTOSHO, Co-Presenter for March 16, 2019
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.