18 October 2016

Distinguished Service -- What One Person Can Do to Benefit Our Genealogical Community ...

Distinguished Service -- What One Person Can Do to Benefit Our Genealogical Community ...

Family History Month is all about celebrating Family History …

One aspect of that is the dedication of many many tireless volunteers, who, often for decades have enriched our community by sharing their expertise and time to the benefit of us all.

Pat Rand, FGS Project Coordinator - U.S.-Mexican War Soldier Database, mailto:[email protected] reminded me of one such person … Nancy Heydt, formerly from NJ and now a member of The Villages Genealogical Society received an award in 2013 honoring her dedication to genealogy and genealogists.  Here’s the announcement made at the time …

... It is said that we stand on the shoulders of giants, that we do not walk this earth alone.  Nowhere is that more applicable than in historical and genealogical research.  So it’s with that thought in mind that the Monmouth County Genealogy Society has established the Barbara Carver Smith Distinguished Service Award. The award was named for one of our founding members who passed away in 2004.  Barbara Carver Smith was a certified genealogist (CG) and taught at adult schools and community colleges, and also organized genealogical workshops in the 1970’s.  She was a pioneer in the Monmouth County genealogical community.

The award “is bestowed upon an individual or organization which has, through exceptional efforts, dedication and scholarly research, advanced the knowledge of, access to and greater understanding of Monmouth County genealogy and family history, within this particular community and the public at large.”

Our inaugural recipient is Nancy Heydt.  She will be recognized at Monmouth County Archives Day on October 12, 2013.  Nancy was a founding member of the Monmouth County Genealogy Club, the forerunner of the Monmouth County Genealogy Society.   She was its first president, chaired several committees and co-served as President for a second time.   She wrote the Beekman Index, Updated, and was a frequent submitter to The Monmouth Connection, including many of the “Let’s Visit” columns.  She has also had articles published in national genealogy magazines.

The Speakers Bureau of MCGS was started in 1989 when Nancy spoke at the LDS workshop on “Writing Your Own Life Story”.  In 1983, before the organization of MCGS, Nancy started teaching classes in beginning genealogy during lunchtime at her place of work.  She also taught in the Neptune Adult School and in workshops given by the Church of Latter Day Saints in Toms River.  It was Nancy’s idea to start a Memoirs Group within MCGS, and she was instrumental in establishing the highly successful essay contest for 5th and 6th graders during Family History Month.

In 1990 it was Nancy Heydt who created the concept of October as Family History Month, which in the beginning was only celebrated in Monmouth County.  She then had it listed in Chase’s Book of Annual Events, and soon Governor Florio recognized it at the state level.  By 2001, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) passed legislation that officially commemorated October as Family History Month, and the United States Senate made it a national celebration in 2002.  Nancy was then recognized by the Federation of Genealogy Societies with their Distinguished Service Award for fostering this important designation.  She was also awarded a Certificate of Excellence by the League of Historical Societies of New Jersey.

It all begins with a spark of genius and overwhelming dedication.  And so we stand on the shoulders of giants.  Congratulations Nancy.

Share which individual you think deserves a “distinguished” serve award for genealogy contributions?

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