Press Release: Excellence in Genealogy Scholarship and Service Honored by National Genealogical Society Awards
Arlington, VA, 10 May 2013: The National Genealogical Society held its annual banquet on Friday evening, 10 May, at the NGS 2013 Family History Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, to present awards that acknowledge and honor genealogical scholarship and service. 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 Genealogical Society Hall of Fame: Beginning in 1986, the National Genealogy Hall of Fame program, administered by the National Genealogical Society, 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, Earl Gregg Swem, whose nomination was made by The Virginia Genealogical Society, was elected to the NGS Hall of Fame. For thirty-seven years his career was devoted to the collection and publication of materials on Virginia and Virginians. He was the assistant librarian at the Virginia State Library for twelve years and then became the head of the William and Mary College Library from which he retired in 1944.
Fellowship in the National Genealogical Society recognizes a valued servant of the National Genealogical Society. This year’s Fellow, Donn J. Devine, is a retired Brigadier General with the Delaware National Guard and a resident of Wilmington, Delaware. He has been the archivist of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington since 1989. He served eight years as a director of NGS from 1994-2002. Donn was one of the first lecturers on the appropriate use of DNA and serves as the administrator of two family DNA projects. He has been Board-certified since 1987 and has performed many services for the genealogical community at large. He chaired NGS’s committee on standards and currently serves on the Records Preservation & Access Committee and is a member of the NGSQ Editorial Board. He is a former trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (1992-2006), for which he currently serves as general counsel. He is a past president of the Delaware Society, Sons of the American Revolution, and is a trustee of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania.
Among Donn’s publications are “Sorting Relationships Among Families with the Same Surname: An Irish American DNA Study” published in The National Genealogical Society Quarterly in December 2005. His articles have been published in The American Genealogist and The Delaware Genealogical Society Journal. His most recent article, “The European Origin of George Falk (1823-1900), Brooklyn Watchmaker” was published in The New York Genealogical & Biographical Society Record in January 2013.
For his years of service to the genealogical community; his dedication to meticulous adherence to best practices in the field of genealogy as researcher, writer, and lecturer; and for his unflinching volunteer efforts on behalf of the National Genealogical Society and the genealogical community at large, the NGS Board has elected Donn J. Devine a Fellow of the National Genealogical Society.
William Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship is awarded to a librarian whose primary focus is genealogy and local history and who is employed in a public, academic, or special library. This year’s award, and a $1,000 prize underwritten by ProQuest, went to Elizabeth Crabtree Wells, manager of the Special Collection Department at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Active in the genealogical and historical community, she served as past president of the Alabama Genealogical Society, the Birmingham Genealogical Society, and is a founder and past president of the Society of Alabama Archivists. She is a regular lecturer at the Samford Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research. She is co-author of The History of Judson College. Elizabeth holds a BA from Judson College, an MA from Auburn University, and a MLS from the University of Alabama.
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. For over twenty-five years Carolyn Marguerite Hutchinson Brown has taught genealogy classes and passionately and unabashedly promoted genealogy. She has published six books on her family and her husband’s family lines and has authored many articles published in a variety of genealogical publications. She also founded the Bouse Genealogical Society in Bouse, Arizona, in 2008. She continues to chair, teach, and mentor the group today. As the nomination form concluded, “One person can and does make a difference!”
Family History Writing Contest: Paul K. Graham of Salt Lake City, Utah, was the winner of the Family History Writing contest with his entry, A Love Story Proved: The Life and Family of Laura Lavinia (Kelly) Combs. This award is to encourage NGS members to write a family history that covers at least three generations and not more than four generations of their family.
National Genealogical Society Quarterly’s Award for Excellence: This award is presented for an outstanding article published in the NGSQ in the previous calendar year. The winner of this year’s award emphasized the importance of cultural practices, comprehensive research, and creative problem solving. For 2012, the editors have chosen Without Land, Occupation, Rights, or Marriage Privilege: The Bittner Family from Bavaria to New York, by F. Warren Bittner, cg, published in the September 2012 issue of the NGSQ.
Award for Excellence: Genealogical Methods and Sources: This year’s recipients were Robert S. Davis of Hanceville, Alabama, and Ted O. Brooke of Cumming, Georgia. The title of their entry was Georgia Research: A Handbook for Genealogists, Historians, Archivists, Lawyers, Librarians, and Other Researchers. 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.
Award for Excellence: Genealogy and Family History Book: This year’s recipient was Helen Schatvet Ullmann, cg, fasg, of Acton, Massachusetts. The title of her entry was Some Descendants of Roger Billings of Dorchester, Massachusetts. 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 (for students in grades 10-12 or between the ages of 16 and 18): Andrew Staton of Simpsonville, South Carolina, was this year’s winner. The title of his entry was My Windsor and Young Ancestors. The Senior 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.
Home Study Course Scholarship: Kristin Harms of Alpharetta, Georgia, was the winner of the Home Study Course Scholarship. Harms received the award for having demonstrated her serious interest in pursuing a career in genealogy. Criteria include attending genealogy conferences and training, subscribing to genealogical publications, and membership in NGS.
The renowned NGS Home Study Course provides a solid foundation for researchers just starting out and new possibilities for experienced researchers more difficult problems. The self-paced, year-long course is published on CD and is offered with a grading option. Learners receive feedback from experts while conducting their personal research.
Ann C. Hilke was presented with the NGS Past President’s pin in recognition of her dedication and service to NGS.