About our Team

Meet Our Team of Professional Researchers


Melanie Beal Marks, Founder and Principal Researcher of CT House Histories, LLC, has consulted on a wide range of genealogical and historic preservation projects throughout the United States. She is an ardent advocate for threatened and abandoned properties and worked tirelessly to save the Sturges Cottage, a circa 1840 Gothic Revival Gardeners Cottage, and the Gustave Whitehead house, both in Fairfield, Connecticut. Melanie brings fresh insight and a high level of research detail to her projects. Her areas of expertise include historical and genealogical research, National and State Register listing documentation, and research on historical homes and properties. Melanie is a consultant and lecturer for leading preservation organizations in Connecticut, including the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, Fairfield Museum and History Center and the Connecticut Gravestone Network, and for various groups in South Carolina. She has conducted workshops and lectures on gravestone preservation, restoration, and art interpretation throughout Connecticut and Ohio. Melanie is an advocate for the preservation and protection of many of Connecticut’s abandoned burying grounds. Her passion and interest in Connecticut’s historic burying grounds has led to many restoration and preservation initiatives in the Greenfield Hill Cemetery, the Old Burying Ground and the Wakeman Cemetery, all in Fairfield, Connecticut. She is a past member of the Easton Cemetery Committee where she helped in the restoration work of the Gilbertown and Center Street cemeteries. Melanie also served on the Advisory Board of the Historical Society of Easton and is a past board member of the Greenfield Hill Village Improvement Society and a past member of the Fairfield Historic District Commission. She is a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Association of Professional Genealogists, Connecticut Historical Society, Kent (Connecticut) Historical Society, Eunice Dennie Burr Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, (Fairfield, Connecticut), Connecticut Society of Genealogists, Connecticut Ancestry Society, and the Dutchess County Historical Society (New York), the Bluffton (South Carolina) Historic and Preservation Society, the South Carolina Historical Society, the Garvin-Garvey House Advisory Committee, as well as numerous other historical and genealogical societies throughout Connecticut, New York and South Carolina. She recently concluded research into the Garvin-Garvey House in Bluffton, S.C., that has been restored and open to public tours. Her effort in helping to save what is believed to be the earliest known home built by a former slave earned CT House Histories a 2017 South Carolina Historic Preservation Award. She also has lectured in South Carolina on the preservation of the Garvin-Garvey House.

IMG_3839 (2)Barbara Holdridge, Art Historian and Contributing Editor, is the preeminent authority of American folk artist Ammi Phillips (1788-1865), who was known as the “Border Limner” or “Kent Limner” until Barbara and her late husband, Lawrence B. Holdridge, uncovered the true identity of the prolific painter. A native New Yorker, she is a graduate of Hunter College of the City of New York, with a B.A. cum laude in humanities, and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. She also was inducted into the Hunter College Hall of Fame, the American Women’s Hall of Fame and the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame, each one for her work in discovering and establishing Ammi Phillips as a major American master, as well as for her other innovative work with Caedmon, the groundbreaking spoken-word recording company she cofounded with a fellow Hunter graduate in 1952. Later, she founded and was editor of Stemmer House Publishers. She also served as adjunct professor of writing, editing and proofreading at Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland. After purchasing one of Ammi Phillips’ very rare signed, dated and named portraits, “George C. Sunderland,” she and Larry decided to learn as much as they could about the unknown artist. They traveled New England, combed antique shops, were invited into private homes with ancestral Phillips portraits, co-authored articles on their discovery of Phillips, lectured and ultimately convinced even the most reluctant museum authorities that the artist was the mysterious Border Limner, Kent Limner and Artist Unknown on their walls – all representing different periods of his long life. Barbara responds to collectors’ requests throughout the country for a determination on whether their portraits are by Ammi Phillips. She co-authored with her husband Ammi Phillips Portrait Painter, 1788-1865, Introduction by Mary Black, Catalogue by Barbara and Lawrence B. Holdridge. New York: Clarkson N. Potter, Inc./Publisher, Distributed by Crown Publishers, Inc. for the Museum of American Folk Art, 1968. They also co-wrote Ammi Phillips,” Art in America, 1960, and “Ammi Phillips: Limner Extraordinary,” Antiques magazine, December 1961. She is the author of “Found: a Berkshire Old Master,” in the August 29, 1959, edition of the Berkshire Eagle.

Patricia A. Hines, Writer and Researcher, caught the genealogy bug several years ago when she started delving into her family history on a whim. Starting with her immediate family of five, her tree has grown to include more than 2,400 people (some as far back as the 18th century Italy) – and still growing. She spent nearly 30 years in the newspaper business, 25 of them as the editor of the Fairfield Citizen, a weekly newspaper in Fairfield, Connecticut. Her experience as a newspaperwoman, both as a reporter and editor, honed her research and writing skills, and provided the foundation for her journey into genealogy. The maternal side of her family is a member of the American Immigrant Wall of Honor of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. She is a member of the National Genealogical Society and the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

LisaimageLisa Burghardt, Restoration Consultant, specializes in the restoration of historic cemeteries and monuments and forensic genealogical research in the New England area. Lisa’s research and writing expertise has led to funding streams for restoring ancient burying grounds and historic buildings in Easton, developing blighted properties in Bridgeport and funding for various not-for-profit organizations. Lisa formerly served for many years as the President of the Historical Society of Easton and also the Vice Chair of the Easton Cemetery Committee. She is professionally affiliated with Artista Studios, a restoration company specializing in the conservation, sales and restoration of religious artwork, sculptures, monuments and mausoleums in the New England area.

philPhillip Seven Esser, Architectural Historian, specializing in historic preservation has spent over a decade documenting and evaluating historic buildings, structures, neighborhoods, and sites for state and National Register of Historic Places individual and historic district designation. Qualified as a historian and architectural historian under the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Professional Qualification Standards (as defined in 36 CFR Part 61), he conducts intensive surveys and prepares documentation for State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) review. Phil is on the board of Preservation Action, a national preservation advocacy group and serves as California coordinator, pursuing national legislators to fund activities that promote the economic and cultural benefits of preservation. He remains on the board of the Ridgefield Historical Society in his hometown where he continues to engage in historic preservation advocacy.

Morley C. Boyd, BA, MS, MBA, MBoyd@PreserveWestport.Com
 With family roots in Connecticut that date to the early 18th century, Morley has long been a vocal advocate for the preservation of the state’s historic heritage.
Specializing in historic preservation and architectural history, Morley regularly collaborates with state, municipal and private preservation groups throughout Connecticut to conserve threatened historic sites, structures, landscapes and viewsheds. Working with Melanie Marks, CT House Histories, LLC founder, since 2010, Morley has authored numerous study reports involving early American structures, burying grounds and other non-renewable cultural resources.
In addition, Morley often appears before area groups to lecture on preservation matters – including the Connecticut Gravestone Network, the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, the Westport Historical Society and the Southport Conservancy. In 2010, Morley co-curated “Westport Modern, When Cool Was Hot,” a photographic exploration of previously undocumented yet significant modern residences in Westport and Weston. The exhibit, hosted by the Westport Historical Society and featuring the photography of talented preservation architect Michael Glynn, was well reviewed by leading modern architecture writers, received considerable media attention and was held over owing to strong public interest.
Morley’s other volunteer efforts include positions on various committees in his hometown of Westport, including the Westport Historic District Commission, the West Parish Meeting House Committee and, presently, the Kemper-Gunn Advisory Group and the Saugatuck River Swing Bridge Study Subcommittee. In 2005, after being appointed chairman of the First Selectman’s Emily McLaury House Committee – a team charged with restoring a historic town-owned residence for workforce housing – Morley wrote the $250,000 plan of preservation, successfully obtained the appropriation and managed the project to completion. The McLaury project, which came in under budget, received a coveted Community Preservation Award from the Connecticut Trust in 2008.
To date, Morley has helped to establish four Local Historic Districts, four Local Historic Landmark Properties and a State Archeological Preserve – all in Westport. While serving as chairman of the Westport Historic District Commission from 2006 to 2008, he was also instrumental in persuading Westport’s legislative body to strengthen its demolition delay ordinance for historically significant buildings from the standard 90 days to the statutory  maximum of 180 days – a first in the State of Connecticut.
Additionally, to encourage the retention and re-purposing of historic buildings in Westport, Morley helped draft a new zoning incentive (Sec. 32-18), which provides  greater flexibility to the owners of residential historic structures. Recently, one of Westport’s oldest buildings, the c. 1710 Green House, was saved from destruction with the aid of this powerful preservation tool.
Michael Jennings Glynn, AIA, NCARB, Michael Glynn Architects, Architecture Consultant, specializes in preservation, conservation and adaptive re-use of historic properties. Glynn believes that the most effective design is enriched by an intimate knowledge of architectural history and traditional craftsmanship. Context – both the natural and the man-made – are critical issues for Glynn. He recently observed that “inspiration comes from observation and appreciation of context.” Glynn has worked on a diverse variety of projects, both large and small, while working for firms in Boston; Washington, D.C.; Princeton, New Jersey; and New York City. He founded his own practice in 1991, specializing in historic buildings, preservation planning and residential projects of wide-ranging scale and complexity. He has also designed and executed many landscape and garden commissions; he considers landscape an integral component of his residential projects. Many of his projects have won awards and professional recognition.  He is a registered architect in New York State, New Jersey, and Connecticut. A sampling of Michael Glynn’s projects: he was project architect and construction manager for the renovation and adaptive re-use of the Heurich Mansion (Historical Society of Washington, D.C., headquarters), for which he received an American Institute of Architects award for “design sensitivity and craftsmanship.” He was project architect for the restoration of Franklin Roosevelt’s house, “Springwood,” in Hyde Park, New York, in 1982 after it was severely damaged by fire. While he was with the Office of Thierry Despont in New York, he developed a master plan for the conversion of Henry Clay Frick’s Pittsburgh mansion into a museum. After starting his own practice, he was consulting architect for the restoration of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ War Memorial and Auditorium, part of the capitol complex in Trenton, New Jersey; he developed master plans for both the Simsbury Historical Society, of Simsbury, Connecticut, and the Greenwich Historical Society, of Greenwich, Connecticut; the Ronemus residence, in Westport, Connecticut, received several awards, including a merit award from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. Recently, he has prepared a historic structure report (in collaboration with CT House Histories and Building Conservation Associates) for the Stanton House Museum, in Clinton, Connecticut. Over the past decade, he has been very active in the movement to preserve mid-century modern houses; he is currently working as consulting architect for the renovation of the Clark House, in Orange, Connecticut, designed by Marcel Breuer in 1948.

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