30 May 2010

My Veteran Ancestor: A Fortunate Find

by Jan Alpert, NGS President

On Memorial Day we think about our ancestors who were veterans and all the memorials we have seen in county squares commemorating the various wars. I usually take a picture if it is a county where my ancestors lived, even if they are not listed on the memorial, because I may later find a sibling or in-law among those named.

For the longest time I thought I had no ancestors who served in the Civil War. Then, as I expanded my research to include siblings and extended families, I discovered wonderful family history information in those Civil War records.

The picture on the left is from a Civil War Memorial in the Woodstock Cemetery, in Woodstock, Champaign County, Ohio. I was fortunate to be there last October when the leaves were changing color. Joseph Chamberlin, the brother of my great, great grandmother, is listed on this memorial and is buried in this cemetery. He served in the Sixth-sixth Ohio Regimental Band from 1861 until August 1862, when he developed rheumatism and heart trouble. By researching him, I found his parents – my great, great, great grandparents – also buried there. In the years before we had online access to censuses, my last record for his parents had been deeds in western New York decades earlier.

The best family history information is found when a soldier's request for a pension is denied. One example is the military pension file of James J. Waters, nephew of my great grandfather, who served as a Corporal in Company B, 23rd Ohio Infantry. The reference for this file is Record Group 15: Records of the Veterans Administration. Civil War Pension Application. Invalid Application No. 90532, Soldier's Certificate No. 58101, Widow's Application No. 1062686, and Widow'sCertificate No. 806682 [Caroline E.], National Archives, Washington, DC. His file had 151 pages, and the file for his widow had 96 pages, a virtual goldmine of family history. He contracted a severe case of measles in the fall of 1861 while serving in West Virginia. This caused him to be hospitalized and lose his sight for a number of days. His sight never fully recovered; by the time he was 50 years old, he was almost blind. On 13 August 1913 he wrote the Commissioner of Pensions as follows:
Dear Sir: I send you statement of facts so far as I can remember in answer to questions required in letter 16 of July, names of parents. W. B. Waters and Jane P. Waters both parents deceased when I was a small boy mother when I was about 5 yrs & Father when I was bet 7 & 8 yrs old. In 1850 I cannot tell where I lived but think was with my grandmother Jackson of Hartstown, Crawford Co., Pa. She died many years ago and all of Family she was the one who had the corect record of my birth. My sister in Florida wrote me before she died and gave me my brothers age also hers both dead and also that I was born in May 1843. I cannot establish the facts any more clear. I hope this will prove satisfactory.
Truly Yours.
James J. Waters Lawton, Mich.

This is just one of several letters he wrote to prove he was the soldier who served. Each time the pension office denied his claim, James would write again providing more details, perhaps asking other relatives for more information. Several cousins provided affidavits since his siblings were deceased.

I have often thought how fortunate I have been to hit a brick wall in some families. When I'm stuck, I have to expand my research, and that's when I find the wonderful stories that would have been lost forever in the family if it had been easier to identify all my great, great grandparents.

How Old is Online Genealogy?

by Jan Alpert, NGS President

Since I'm a genealogist, I have saved many printed emails in my genealogy files. Some of them are almost 20 years old. I remember being on a research trip in DC with a friend who had begun to use CompuServe because it had a genealogy forum where you could post surname queries. I went home and signed up. I believe it was the spring of 1992. Of course, it was dial-up and slow - very slow by today's standards! Dial-up access in those days might cost as little as $5 per hour for limited service, nights and weekends, and up to $18 per hour for daytime service.

The year stands out in my memory because it was August 1992 when I discovered my ancestor Martha Allen Carrier was a witch. Up to that point, I had been researching her husband and children, who had moved to Connecticut. I had posted an online query about the Carrier surname, and someone responded that she was one of the accused witches who was hanged. I found it a remarkable coincidence that I would discover what happened to Martha so near the 300th anniversary of her death.

Based upon some of my printed emails, it looks like I was on CompuServe for about 5 years, moving to AOL in 1997. I am amazed at how many distant relatives I have found because of surname lists. I haven't changed my email address since because I don't want to lose touch with those distant cousins.

When did you first use online resources for genealogy?

28 May 2010

Archives.com Provides Complimentary Memberships To All NGS Members

As part of a special partnership between the National Genealogical Society and Archives.com, all NGS members will receive a complementary three-month membership to Archives.com ($20 retail value). Details and access instructions have been emailed to all NGS members.

Archives.com is a relatively new family history website, but they’ve already managed to compile over 1.2 billion records, online family tree tools, a community forum, and lots of other resources – all of which are available at no cost to members as part of this complimentary membership. Also included is unlimited viewing of millions of original census and vital records. However, some services and documents provided by other companies to Archives.com such as contact information reports, on-site court record retrieval and Footnote images are not free; this information is available on a fee per document basis. NGS has a number of new members who are just beginning family history research, and this gives them an opportunity to search the Archives.com indexes for free and become familiar with various record groups.

Here is the announcement written by Archives.com:

PALO ALTO, CALIF. - May 27, 2010 - Archives.com, a website devoted to making family history simple and affordable, announced today that they have donated complimentary three month memberships to all 9,000 members of the National Genealogical Society (NGS). These complimentary memberships give NGS members unlimited access to over 1.2 billion records on Archives.com, as well as online family tree software, Expert Series articles, hours of professional tutorial videos, and other exclusive benefits.

"Working in cooperation with non-profit organizations like the National Genealogical Society is a great way to provide family history resources to the people that value them most," says Joe Godfrey, Product Manager for Archives.com. Added Jan Alpert, President of NGS; "Archives' mission is to make family history records more accessible and affordable, and NGS is excited to work with them towards this shared goal."

Archives.com is proud to make such a significant donation to NGS members, and will continue to explore ways to give back to the genealogy community. As part of this partnership, Archives.com will also donate complimentary memberships to anyone who joins NGS during the following 6 months. To learn more about NGS and the additional benefits of membership, visit the NGS website.

About Archives.com

Archives.com is a leading family history Web site that makes discovering family history simple and affordable. The company has assembled more than 1.2 billion historical records – birth, death, marriage, divorce, census, obituary, immigration, military and more – all in a single location, and makes them available at a price that’s up to 80 percent less than the leading competitor. Archives also partners with other leading family history websites to provide integrated record collections, discounted memberships, official certificates and other special promotions – providing a comprehensive resource for researching your family history. Archives.com is free to try for seven days, allowing anyone to explore the benefits of membership without risk or obligation. For more information and to start discovering your family history, please visit www.Archives.com.

26 May 2010

Jean Nudd Honored by National Genealogical Society

Jean Nudd, Archivist for the National Archives in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, was recognized by the National Genealogical Society at its 2010 conference in Salt Lake City with the Award of Merit.

The NGS Award of Merit is given to an individual or nonprofit genealogical or historical organization in recognition of exceptional contributions to the field of genealogy over a period of five or more years, which have significantly aided research or increased interest in genealogy.

Ms. Nudd received the Award of Merit for her work as the archivist in Pittsfield, where she has recruited a devoted team of volunteers to support the archives and the researchers who come there. She was instrumental in the founding of the Friends of the Archives who publish the quarterly Archival Anecdotes and a website, operate a bookstore, and provide training opportunities for genealogical researchers, including their annual autumn full-day genealogy conference, “Life in the Past Lane.”
An avid genealogist with deep roots in New England and New York, Jean has worked for the National Archives and Records Administration since 1994. She lectures frequently and has written over 23 articles for Archival Anecdotes.

Louisiana Creole Research Association Honored by National Genealogical Society

The Louisiana Creole Research Association was honored by the National Genealogical Society at its 2010 conference in Salt Lake City with the Award of Merit. The award recognized the Association’s efforts to preserve Creole heritage while presenting a high level of quality and scholarship in their publications. Lolita V. Cherrie and Ingrid Stanley accepted the award on behalf of their society.

The NGS Award of Merit is given to an individual or nonprofit genealogical or historical organization in recognition of exceptional contributions to the field of genealogy over a period of five or more years, which have significantly aided research or increased interest in genealogy.

In addition to publishing the journal, La Créole: A Journal of Creole History and Genealogy, the Association hosts an annual conference promoting the preservation of Louisiana culture and featuring family history and presents genealogy workshops and programs on the ancestry and culture of Louisiana Creoles of Color.

2010 NGS Fall Research Trip to Salt Lake City

Secure your place now for the NGS research trip to Salt Lake City on 17–24 October 2010! The first 30 registrants will get to join trip leaders Sandra MacLean Clunies, CG, and Shirley Langdon Wilcox, CG, FNGS. Both Sandra and Shirley are experienced researchers familiar with the extensive resources available at the Family History Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City.

All registrants will receive information and advice about pre-trip planning. In addition, once in Salt Lake City, each participant will have the opportunity for ongoing consultation with Sandra and Shirley.

The trip package includes seven nights at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, located next door to the Family History Library. Also included are an informal reception on the first Sunday evening, pizza on Wednesday evening, and a last-night dinner.

Further details are available at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/research_trips. To register, be sure to log in first. Then click on the Register Online link on the left.

21 May 2010

NGS Names Winners of Top Contributors to the Field

Long before Who Do You Think You Are? and Faces of America brought genealogy into the mainstream, Americans have used sound research, solid methodology, and a passion for history to trace their family roots. At the National Genealogical Society’s 2010 Family History Conference in Salt Lake City, top genealogists were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the field of family history.

NGS has been committed to excellence, scholarship, and training in family search techniques since its inception in 1903. It supports numerous awards and competitions in a variety of categories to honor those who exemplify this commitment.

“This year’s submissions really showed the breadth of work being done today in genealogy, biography, and history,” said Lynda Suffridge, Vice President and Chair of the NGS Awards Committee. “We can honestly say that ‘business is booming.’” Suffridge also acknowledged the panel of 27 judges who volunteered their time and expertise to review this year’s applications.

Awards and recipients for 2010 are:

NGS Genealogy Hall of Fame, honoring individuals of the past who made significant contributions to the field and set high standards for genealogists:
  • Rosalie Fellows Bailey (1908-1991), a leading authority on the history and records of the early families of New York City and the lower Hudson River Valley

President’s Citation, in recognition of outstanding, continuing, or unusual contributions to the field of genealogy or to the Society:
  • Peter Broadbent, (Richmond, Virginia)
  • Connie Lenzen, CG (Portland, Oregon)
  • Elissa Scalise Powell, CG (Wexford, Pennsylvania)

NGS Award of Merit in recognition of exceptional contributions to the field of genealogy over a period of five or more years, significantly aiding research or increasing interest in genealogy:
  • The Louisiana Creole Research Association
  • Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, (Haddonfield, New Jersey)
  • Jean Nudd, (Pittsfield, Massachusetts)

Award of Excellence: Genealogical Methods & Sources, presented to an individual or nonprofit organization for a book, article, or series of articles published during the past three years that discusses genealogical methods and sources to foster excellence in genealogy:
  • Schelly Talalay Dardashti (Tel Aviv, Israel)

The NGSQ Award for Excellence, for an article or series of articles that foster excellence in genealogy:
  • Rachal Mills Lennon, CG (Cottontown, Tennessee)

The NGS Family History Writing Contest for a compilation of a three- or four- generation family history:
  • Patrick Quigley (Poconco Pines, Pennsylvania)

The NGS Home Study Course Scholarship, encouraging an NGS member pursuing a career in genealogy:
  • Terri Hildreth (Madison, Alabama)

NGS Filby Award, sponsored by ProQuest, for a librarian at a public, academic, or special library whose full-time focus is in genealogy and local history, for significant contributions to research, scholarship, support, and other activities:
  • Randy Riley (Lansing, Michigan)

The NGS Newsletter Competition, recognizing newsletters for their compelling content, variety, originality, quality, readability, and attractiveness:

Major Genealogical Society Newsletter
  • First Place: Anglo-Celtic Roots (British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa) edited by Chris McPhail (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada);
  • Runner-Up: Nuestra Herencia, edited by Debbie Figueroa (New York, New York)

Local Genealogical Society Newsletter
  • First Place: Collin County Genealogical Society Newsletter, co-edited by Mary Ann Thompson and Fran Faitt (Plano, Texas)
  • Runner-Up: BIGWILL News (British Interest Group of Wisconsin and Illinois), edited by Karen Glass (Richmond, Illinois)

Family Association Newsletter
  • First Place: The Chandler Family Association Newsletter edited by Claudia Chandler Brocato (Brandon, Mississippi)
  • Runner-Up: The Goodrich Gospel edited by Kay Waterloo (Greenwood, Indiana)

Congratulations to all these award winners, and thanks for your contributions to the field of genealogy!

Noted Family History Expert Megan Smolenyak Receives Honors from the National Genealogical Society

Haddonfield, NJ Genealogist Is Recognized for Bringing Sound Genealogy Practices and DNA Testing to the Public Eye

(May 17, 2010) – Described as a “major influence on directing the newly interested toward uncovering family relationships and history, rather than merely posting names to a pedigree chart,” Megan Smolenyak received the 2010 NGS Award of Merit for her work in advancing responsible genealogy to a broad popular audience. The prestigious award was presented at the National Genealogical Society Family History Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, on April 30, 2010.

Smolenyak, formerly chief family historian for Ancestry.com, is the author of Who Do You Think You Are?: The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History, the companion guide to the popular NBC series, and served as researcher for this show as well as PBS series Faces of America and African American Lives with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The Haddonfield, New Jersey, resident co-founded RootsTelevision.com and contributes a genealogy column to Huffington Post. She founded UnclaimedPersons.org, a volunteer group that assists coroners and medical examiners to help reunite unclaimed deceased individuals with their families, and consults on cold cases with the U.S. Army, FBI and NCIS. Since May 2000, she has supported a variety of genealogical initiatives with her monthly Honoring Our Ancestors grants program.

The NGS Award of Merit is presented to an individual or organization in recognition of exceptional contributions to the field of genealogy by significantly aiding research or increasing interest in genealogy over a period of five or more years.
Presenting the award, Lynda Suffridge, Vice President and Chair of the NGS Awards Committee, said, “Megan has helped genealogy flourish well beyond the traditional genealogical community while focusing on credible documentary and physical evidence, including DNA. She is a popular speaker, has written widely in genealogical magazines, published several books, and appeared on national television as an expert. We’re proud to recognize her achievements with the 2010 NGS Award of Merit.”

19 May 2010

Remembering Birdie Holsclaw

By Julie Miller, CG

Birdie Monk Holsclaw, CG, FUGA, well-known and loved genealogical researcher, writer, lecturer, editor, passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family, on Thursday, 13 May 2010. Roberta "Birdie" Joann Monk was born 23 August 1948 in Staunton, Virginia, the daughter of William W. Monk and Arliss Schaffer. She married Russell Holsclaw on 22 November 1980 in Greeley, Colorado. Birdie, Russ and their son, Will, lived in Longmont, Colorado, for many years.

Although her achievements were many (listed below), it was her exuberance for life that set Birdie apart as the unique and special person that she was. She had a passion for learning and was an artful communicator. Whether you were a student in one of her classes, a colleague working on a project, or a complete stranger sitting next to her at dinner, Birdie was genuinely interested in engaging and listening to each person in her company.

Birdie was a role model and mentor to many genealogists. She encouraged, coached, and guided countless fledgling researchers, writers, and lecturers. When others saw an unknown, inexperienced, or hesitant newcomer, Birdie always saw promise and possibility. She was generous and had a special way of sharing her knowledge, never forcing her opinions on others, always reaching out and asking good questions. She inspired others to succeed.

Birdie loved genealogy and she loved technology. When she made a new discovery in her genealogical work or found a technical tool to help with genealogy, she couldn't wait to share it. And her enthusiasm was contagious. It was impossible to resist the smile on her face and the excitement in her voice as she explained the new idea or device. Birdie was a friend to all genealogists in the truest sense because she had no expectation of reward or recognition. She was truly an amazing woman!

Birdie's achievements were many and spanned over 35 years in genealogy. While there are too many to list, some of the highlights are:

2004, winner NGSQ Award for Excellence
2004, ASG Scholar Award
2003, winner NGS Family History Writing Contest
President, Colorado Genealogical Society (1987-1990)
Editor, The Colorado Genealogist (1992-1996)
Founding member, Colorado Genealogical Society Computer Interest Group
Colorado Council of Genealogical Societies Parliamentarian and longtime delegate
1997, Fellow Utah Genealogical Association
APG Trustee (1989-1992, 1994-1995)
2000, APG Grahame T. Smallwood, Jr. Award of Merit
Instructor, Samford University Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR)
NGSQ indexer (1989-1996)
Awarded first FGS Delegate Award for her work as editor of the Delegate Digest (1993)
Frequent lecturer at NGS and FGS Conferences.
Contributor to the NGSQ, APGQ, Genealogical Computing, The Colorado Genealogist, Boulder, Genealogical Society Quarterly and others.

Birdie will be missed, but definitely not forgotten. She continues to live on through her writing, lectures, and most importantly, through the many lives that she touched and the many people who love her.

A memorial fund has been set up through the Colorado Council of Genealogical Societies (CCGS). Contributions can be sent to the CCGS with a notation specifying Birdie Monk Holsclaw Memorial Fund, and mailed to P.O. Box 40270, Denver, Colorado 80204-0270.

17 May 2010

British Genealogy Online Training Announced

The Society of Genealogists & Pharos Teaching & Tutoring today announced a new joint programme, the distance learning Certificate of Family History Skills and Strategies (Intermediate).

The Society of Genealogists, in conjunction with Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd is now bringing its popular classroom programme to the Web. Following successful pilot courses last year, the Society and Pharos have teamed up to make available a full course of instruction, with assessment, to any interested genealogist anywhere in the world.

First modules in the Skills and Strategies programme will be offered in September 2010. It will be possible to complete all 10 modules in an 18 month period. The modules are listed here in alphabetical order:

Apprenticeships & Guilds
Employment Records
Lists & Sources from Georgian England
Migration in the British Isles
Military Ancestors
Nonconformity in England and Wales
The Poor, the Parish and the Workhouse
Victorian Crime & Punishment
Wills and Administrations
17th Century Sources

Tutors include the well-known authors and genealogists, Gill Blanchard, Liz Carter, Else Churchill, Simon Fowler, Sherry Irvine, Michael Isherwood and Stuart Raymond. All have made significant contributions to the world of family history and bring a wide array of records knowledge and teaching experience to the online classroom.

The Skills and Strategies course is suitable for genealogists who have had at least two years experience in family history research in England & Wales and have mastered the fundamentals of census, civil registrations and parish registers but who now wish to move on to new records and a greater understanding of research methods and skills.

Students choosing to take all ten modules as a full programme with assessments leading to the Intermediate Certificate can sign up now at an introductory price of £450. This represents a saving of £42.90 on the full listed price. Each module is monitored by the Society to ensure excellent standards of content and teaching. Students may, alternatively, choose not have work assessed and to take any arrangement of individual topics. Courses taken individually without assessment cost less.

To find out more or sign up for this great learning opportunity, visit www.pharostutors.com

Information about the course and a link for bookings can also be found on the Society of Genealogists’ website at www.sog.org.uk

11 May 2010

Library of Michigan’s Special Collections Manager Receives Prestigious William Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship

A tireless advocate for genealogists with Michigan ties, Lansing’s Randy Riley (pictured to the left of presenter William Forsyth, ProQuest Director of Product Management) has overseen the digitization and indexing of the 1870 Michigan Census, helped build the Library of Michigan’s family history collection into one of the premier resources of its kind in the United States, and presented hundreds of workshops and programs for librarians, genealogists, and local historians. On April 30, 2010, Riley, Manager of Special Collections for the Library of Michigan, was recognized by the National Genealogical Society with the 2010 William Filby Award and $1,000 for his significant contributions to the genealogical community.
“Librarians play such a crucial role for constituents at all stages of family history research,” said Lynda Suffridge, Vice President and Chair of the NGS Awards Committee. “Randy’s work certainly reflects the spirit of the Filby Award, which was created to honor librarians who have done the most to help us find our roots.” The Award has been sponsored by ProQuest since 2006. According to ProQuest Vice President of Publishing, Chris Cowan, “We’re pleased to sponsor the Filby Award, honoring Randy Riley from the Library of Michigan. ProQuest is committed to connecting people to information and promoting the role librarians play in advancing genealogy research. Mr. Riley’s accomplishments during his career exemplify excellence in librarianship in helping family history researchers.”

Established in 1999, the Filby Award is named for the late P. William Filby, former director of the Maryland Historical Society and author of many core genealogical reference tools that genealogists have relied on for decades. It is presented to a librarian at a public, academic, or special library whose full-time primary focus is in genealogy and local history. Recipients meet the following criteria:
  • Significant contributions to patron access to information, or to the preservation of historical records.
  • Development of an imaginative reference tool or similar outstanding contribution of enduring consequence that fills the gaps in existing information, accuracy, scope or usefulness of genealogical and local history materials.
  • Publication of a book or body of articles that have contributed significantly to the field of genealogy or local history and that are of interpretative nature.
  • Other activities that have significantly advanced genealogy and local history.
  • Work that has encouraged others to be innovative in the field.
Randy Riley's many accomplishments include overseeing the integration of online and paper version of the Cemetery Source Books for the State of Michigan; creation of a genealogical database on the statewide Michigan eLibrary system; and supervision of the digitization, indexing, and publishing of some 1 million death certificates for the Seeking Michigan web site. He is editor of the Michigan Genealogist newsletter and serves as advisor to the Michigan Genealogical Council.

Nominations for the 2011 Filby Award are being accepted now through January 31, 2011. Please visit NGS’s guidelines page for details.

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogy education, high research standards, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Arlington, VA-based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian, seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, research guidance, and opportunities to interact with other genealogists. Please visit the NGS web site for further information on member benefits.

10 May 2010

NGS 2010 Family History Conference Was a Huge Success!

The National Genealogical Society 2010 Family History Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, achieved record attendance of more than 2,700. The NGS officers and board of directors want to thank all the conference registrants, speakers, vendors, sponsors and volunteers who made the conference a success. We also want to thank the Utah Genealogical Association, the local host society, and our major sponsors FamilySearch, Ancestry.com and ProQuest. The conference included many people just beginning their family history research and first time attendees to a national conference. NGS President, Janet A. Alpert, attributed the record attendance to increased interest in genealogy as a result of the two new television shows “Faces of America” on PBS and “Who Do You Think You Are?” on NBC.

The conference included almost 200 lectures and workshops, an expanded exhibit area featuring the latest in genealogical technology (GenTech), and a kids camp on Saturday. Many of the lectures were recorded and will be available to purchase on CD-ROM in a couple of weeks. Notice will be posted on the NGS blog when they are available.

The keynote speaker was Jay Verkler, CEO of FamilySearch, providing an inside look at the granite mountain where FamilySearch stores a secure copy of records from all over the world. The highlight of the week was “A Celebration of Family History” featuring David McCullough and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Highlights can be seen at http://www.newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/-a-celebration-of-family-history-delights-thousands-of-genealogy-enthusiasts. On Friday night a large group viewed the final session of “Who Do You Think You Are” and heard Ancestry.com describe the research process for the various celebrities.

Many participants remarked that there was more to see, hear, and do at this year’s conference, including research at the Family History Library until 11:00 pm in the evening.

A number of awards were presented at the NGS 2010 Family History Conference. The NGS President’s Citation is given in recognition of outstanding, continuing or unusual contributions to the Society or to the field of genealogy. The following people received this award at the NGS Banquet:

Peter Broadbent was awarded the President’s Citation in appreciation of his two terms on the NGS Board of Directors, assisting with the sale of Glebe House, for his work on Amending and Restating the Articles of Incorporation and ByLaws, and for his wise counsel on numerous issues which came before the board. Peter served on the NGS Board of Directors for 7 years. His other accomplishments include Who’s Who in America, 2008-2010; former Chairman of the Library of Virginia Board; former President, Virginia Genealogical Society; former Governor, Virginia Society of Colonial Wars; President, 2004 Virginia Electoral College; former Chairman, Virginia State Bar’s Business Law Section, and of its Public Information Committee; member, Virginia War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission.

Connie Lenzen, CG, (pictured to the right of NGS President Jan Alpert) who has served two terms on the NGS Board, was presented the President's Citation for her leadership as Chair of the Education Committee. Under Connie's direction the Home Study Course was rewritten in html format and distributed on CD-ROM. Connie has spent hundreds of hours each year keeping the links to the Home Study Course up to date and answering students' questions about the Home Study Course and other NGS online courses. She authored the NGS Research in the States: Research in Oregon. She has written articles for the NGS Quarterly, the NGS Magazine, Heritage Quest, Ancestry, and the Genealogical Forum of the Oregon Bulletin. She served as a columnist for the Vancouver Columbian newspaper for seven years. Connie earned the 1995 NGS Quarterly Award of Excellence. She was the local arrangements co-chair for the 2001 NGS Conference. She is certified by the Board for Certification of Genealogists and is past president of that organization (2005–2008). She was the winner of the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors Excellence-in-Writing competition in 2003 and 2004.

Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, (pictured to the left of NGS President Jan Alpert) received the President's Citation for her ongoing promotion of genealogical events and broad support of the genealogical community as a whole. Powell is a Trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists and often serves as their Exhibits Booth Coordinator for major conferences. She is the course coordinator for the Professional Genealogy course at IGHR at Samford University and course co-coordinator of the AG/CG Preparation Course at the 2010 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. She served as a Director for the Association of Professional Genealogists (2000-2005). She also is the "Foundations" module instructor for Boston University's Genealogical Research Certificate program. Elissa writes articles and book reviews for the NGS Magazine, the NGSQ, and the APG Quarterly.

The Award of Excellence: Genealogical Methods & Sources was awarded to Schelly Talalaly Dardashti for her book, Ties That Bind (Jewish Research Strategies). The award is given to an individual or nonprofit organization for a specific, significant single contribution in the form of a book, an article, or a series of articles published during the past three years that discusses genealogical methods and sources and serves to foster scholarship and/or otherwise advances or promotes excellence in genealogy. Schelly was unable to attend the conference, so the award was accepted on her behalf by David Horowitz.

The NGSQ Award for Excellence is given each year for a specific, significant, single contribution in the form of an article or series of articles that serves to foster scholarship and/or advances or promotes excellence in genealogy. The editorial board of the NGS Quarterly selects the recipient of this award. This year’s winner was Rachal Mills Lennon, CG, for her article “Jonathan Turner- More Than a Name: A Carolina Case Study in Dissecting Records,” which appeared in the March 2009 issue of the NGSQ. The award was accepted by Elizabeth Shown Mills on behalf of Rachal Mills Lennon.

To receive the Family History Writing Contest Award, a contestant must compile a three- or four-generation family history. The prize is an expense-paid trip to the next NGS Family History Conference and possible publication in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. Among the comments from the judges regarding the winner of the award this year: “With thorough research and clear exposition, the author has done a fine job of capturing the Irish Immigrant experience in 19th century New York.” This year’s winner was Patrick Quigley from Ponco Pines, Pennsylvania, and his entry was titled, "The Quigley Family Searches for the American Dream."

The Home Study Scholarship is given to encourage those pursuing a career in genealogy. The winner was Terri Hildreth of Madison, Alabama.

Robert Young Clay Passes, Age 73

Robert Young Clay, age 73, of Richmond, Va., and a native of Dixon Springs, Tenn., died May 6, 2010 in Richmond. He was born September 4, 1936 to the late Robert Bell and Ruth Young Clay. Through his life, Mr. Clay was a heraldic artist, producing hundreds of paintings of coats of arms. After retirement, he returned to landscape paintings, sold through galleries in Richmond and Alexandria, Va. He also conducted a lifetime of research on the Clay genealogy.

He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in 1960 from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, having studied painting under C. Kermit Ewing and Walter H. Stephens, after which he was employed by the UT Library. In 1969, he received his Master of Library Science degree from George Peabody College in Nashville. From 1970, when he moved to Richmond, until retirement in 2001, he worked as a genealogical reference archivist with the Virginia State Library and Archives, now the Library of Virginia. During that time and in retirement he spoke nationally on research in Virginia records. Mr. Clay was a member of The Order of First Families of Virginia, The Order of First Families of North Carolina, the Order of the Crown in America and he was a fellow of the Virginia Genealogical Society. He was a member of the Church of Christ.

Mr. Clay will be buried with his parents and grandparents in the Clay family plot in the Dixon Springs, Tenn. Cemetery following services at a later date. Memorials may be made to: Smith County Tennencie Historical & Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 112, Carthage, Tenn. 37030

NGS Conference in Salt Lake City

WHEW!!. It has taken me a week but I think I have finally recovered from the greatest genealogy week ever.

I'm Janet Hovorka--vice president of the sponsoring society, the Utah Genealogical Society. So you need to read my report with an awareness that I'm biased. But WOW. What a fabulous conference NGS was this year. The plans were that I would report every evening throughout the conference about the goings on, but I wasn't ever able to sit down long enough. There were so many wonderful activities, so many exciting people to meet, and so many things to learn that I don't know how I'll ever fit them into a blog post. It's like trying to describe a field full of wildflowers. I'm sure I won't be able to do it justice.

As a vendor, it ends up that I'm only able to really tell you about the exciting things going on there. Usually I get chances to steal away to classes, walk around and talk to people, etc, etc. But not this time. We were too busy. Luckily, in the fast moving social networking world, if you wait long enough, everyone else will have already written about it. So, for other blogger takes on the conference, and perspectives on all the different wildflowers, check out these wonderful posts:
So you can see everyone had a wonderful time, got some new research done, and caught up with all the new happenings in the world of genealogy. If you haven't tried a conference lately, be sure to come to one of the upcoming conferences. We'd love to see you there.