06 May 2016

Excellence in Genealogy Scholarship and Service Honored by National Genealogical Society Awards

Arlington, VA, 6 May 2016—The National Genealogical Society (NGS) held its annual banquet on Friday evening, 6 May, at the NGS 2016 Family History Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to present awards that acknowledge and honor genealogical scholarship and service.  The banquet speaker, David E. Rencher, AG, CGSM spoke on the topic “It Don’t Matter,” a lighthearted look at what really matters to genealogists.  Each year, these awards are presented to organizations and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to NGS programs or have performed outstanding work in the field of genealogy, history, biography, or heraldry.

National Genealogy Hall of Fame
Beginning in 1986, the National Genealogy Hall of Fame program, administered by the NGS, has honored outstanding genealogists whose achievements in the field of American genealogy have had a great impact on our field. Qualified nominations are solicited annually from genealogical organizations. Those nominated must have been deceased for at least five years and have been actively engaged in genealogy for a minimum of ten years. Their contributions to the field of genealogy in this country need to have been significant in a way that was unique, pioneering, or exemplary. Such contributions could have been as an author of books or articles that added significantly to the body of published works, served as a model of genealogical research or writing, or made source records more readily available. Nominees could also have been a teacher or lecturer, or contributed to the field through leadership in a genealogical organization or periodical.

Entries are judged by a panel of genealogists from various parts of the United States. This year, Marsha Hoffman Rising, whose nomination was made by the American Society of Genealogists; was elected to the National Genealogy Hall of Fame. The main body of her work consists of Opening the Ozarks: First Families in Southwest Missouri, 1835-1839, which traced the lives (from birth to death) of the first one thousand individuals who purchased federal land from the Springfield, Missouri Federal Land Office; The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried and True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors; Descendants of Nathan Brown (1731-1779) of Newberry County, South Carolina, Preble County, Ohio, Coweta County Georgia and Warren County, Illinois,: A Presbyterian Family; Genealogical Data from Southwest Missouri Newspapers, 1850-1860; Genealogical Data from the Monmouth Atlas, Warren County, Illinois; Genealogical Gems from Early Missouri Deeds, 1815-1850; and Vermont Newspaper Abstracts, 1783-1816: Vermont Gazette, The Vermont Gazette, Epitome of the World, The World, The Green-Mountain Farmer.

In addition to her publications Rising published numerous articles in the National Genealogical Society’s Quarterly and The American Genealogist.  She lectured at numerous NGS Conferences, the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conferences and served in numerous positions of the boards of both organizations.

NGS Fellowship
Fellowship in the National Genealogical Society recognizes a valued servant of the NGS. This year’s Fellow was presented to Julie Miller, CG of Bloomfield, CO and Claire Mire Bettag, CG of Washington, DC.

Miller served on the NGS Board from 2006 to 2014, as a director 2006 to 2010 and as vice president 2010 to 2014. She chaired the NGS conferences in 2010 in Salt Lake City, 2012 in Cincinnati, and currently serves as chair of the NGS conference committee.

Miller is a frequent speaker at the annual NGS conference and at state and regional conferences around the country.  She has shared her knowledge with others with uncommon clarity and insight.  A professional genealogist with more than thirty-five years of experience, she has been board-certified since 2005.  NGS is pleased to recognize her high level of achievement and contribution to the Society by declaring her a Fellow of the National Genealogical Society.

Bettag served as vice president of NGS from 2000 to 2002, co-editor of the National Genealogical Society’ Quarterly from 2003 to 2005 and has served on the NGSQ editorial board for many years.  She is the former director of the National Institute on Genealogical Research at the National Archives (now the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records).  She has been board-certified since 1997.

Bettag has lectured at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, the National Genealogical Society Conference in the States, and other conferences around the United States.  She was the mentor for the 2011 Professional Genealogy study group.  NGS is pleased to recognize her high level of achievement and contribution to the Society by declaring her a Fellow of the National Genealogical Society.

Award of Merit
The Award of Merit is presented to an individual or non-profit genealogical or historical organization to recognize exceptional contributions to the field of genealogy over a period of five or more years, which has significantly aided research or increased interest in genealogy. The Award of Merit was presented to Janice Schultz, MLS of Dunedin, Florida.

Schultz began working as a librarian for the Genealogy and Local History Department of the Mid-Continent Public Library in 1987.  At that time, the department shared a 6,000 square-foot space with the periodicals department at the North Independence Branch of the Mid-Continent system.  By 1998 the Genealogy Department had expanded to a 12,000 square-foot wing of the North Independence Branch and was upgraded in status to a Branch. In August of 2001, she became manager of the Genealogy Branch. 

Schultz realized that the library’s holdings were expanding and that the current facility would not be sufficient to contain the entire collection in one space.  With the support of the director of the Mid-Continent system, she persuaded the library board to build a new facility to house the branch.  In 2008, a 52,000 square-foot free-standing building was opened and the Genealogy Branch was renamed the Midwest Genealogy Center.  The center has been honored by Family Tree Magazine, in 2010 it was described by the magazine as “one of 9 libraries to visit before you die.”  She was elected chair of the History Section of the American Library Association, and at various times chaired the Local History Committee, the Genealogy Committee, and the Genealogy Pre-Conference Planning Committee.  She was active in the Missouri State Genealogical Association, serving on the Board of Directors for ten years, including as President 2010 to 2014.

National Genealogical Society Quarterly’s Award for Excellence
The NGSQ Award for Excellence is presented for an outstanding article published in the NGSQ in the previous calendar year. For 2015, the editors have chosen Context and Comrades Illuminate a Silent Southerner: John Temple (1758-1838), Revolutionary War Pensioner by Rachal Mills Lennon, CG, of Cottontown, TN, published in the March 2015 issue of the NGSQ.  This is the third time Lennon has received the NGSQ Award for Excellence.

Award for Excellence: Genealogical Methods and Sources
This year’s recipient of the Award for Excellence: Genealogical Methods and Sources was the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. The title of their entry was New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer.  This award is for a specific, significant single contribution in the form of a book, an article, or a series of articles that discuss genealogical methods and sources, which serves to foster scholarship and/or advances or promotes excellence in genealogy.  This 800+ page comprehensive resource for family history in New York State and its outstanding gazetteer serve as a model for all future state research guides.

Award for Excellence: Genealogy and Family History Book
This year’s recipient of the Award for Excellence: Genealogy and Family History Book was William B. Saxbe Jr. of Williamstown, Massachusetts. The title of his entry was Richard Bowen (1594?-1675), of Rehoboth, Massachusetts, and His Descendants Volume 3--Generation 5. This award is for a specific, significant single contribution in the form of a family genealogy or family history book published in the past five years. Entries serve to foster scholarship and/or otherwise advance or promote excellence in genealogy. 

Senior Rubincam Youth Award
Jane M. Wilkey of Dalton Gardens, ID, was the winner of this year’s Senior Rubincam Youth Award (for students in grades 10–12 or between the ages of 16 and 18). The title of her entry was Five Generation Genealogy of Jane Madison Wilkey.  The Senior Rubincam Award was established in 1986 to honor Milton Rubincam, CG, FASG, FNGS, for his many years of service to the NGS and to the field of genealogy. The award encourages and recognizes our youth as the next generation of family historians. 

Junior Rubincam Youth Award
Amelia Dogan of Philadelphia, PA, won this year’s Junior Rubincam Youth Award (for students in grades 7–9 or between the ages of 13 and 15).  The title of her entry was Doreen Lee: A Lady with Mettle.  The Junior Rubincam Award was established in 1986 to honor Milton Rubincam, CG, FASG, FNGS, for his many years of service to the National Genealogical Society and to the field of genealogy. The award encourages and recognizes our youth as the next generation of family historians. 

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogical education, exemplary standards of research, and the preservation of genealogical records.  The Arlington, Virginia, based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian, seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, and guidance in research. It also offers many opportunities to interact with other genealogists.

Please visit the NGS Pressroom for further information.

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