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.

MyHeritage delivers historic U.S. Census records to millions of families worldwide

MyHeritage delivers historic U.S. Census records to millions of families worldwide

Travel back in time: Global family history network gives users a snapshot into the lives of their ancestors from 1790 to 1930

PROVO, Utah & TEL AVIV, Israel – May 1, 2013: MyHeritage, the popular family history network, today announced that it has added the entire collection of U.S. Federal Censuses conducted each decade from 1790 to 1930 to its growing database of billions of historical records. Combined with innovative technologies and affordable prices, MyHeritage makes it easier and more accessible than ever to illuminate the lives of one’s ancestors during this fascinating period in American history.

Among the nation’s largest and most important set of records totaling around 520 million names, the Censuses provide information about individuals residing in the U.S. including age, address, education, occupation, place of birth, race, native language, marital status, relationship to head of household, neighbors – and more. Family history enthusiasts can now search the indexed images of the U.S. Censuses and discover the legacy of former generations between 1790 and 1930 in the U.S.

To make discoveries easier, MyHeritage offers a sophisticated system of automatic record matching for the family trees on the site, dramatically reducing research time. New information uncovered in the Censuses triggers a domino effect of new discoveries within the MyHeritage global network of family trees and records. Resulting connections with other family trees could shed light on the roots of many families who immigrated to the U.S., connecting them to long-lost relatives abroad. Translated to 40 different languages, MyHeritage is the only company to deliver discoveries from the U.S. Censuses to a global audience.

The new records, which include the remaining fragments of the 1890 U.S. Federal Census mostly destroyed in a fire, complement the existing 1940 U.S. Census which is already available on MyHeritage. A summary of any census record can be viewed for free and users can choose between affordable pay-as-you-go credits or a data subscription for full unlimited access to all historical content, including the images of the original census pages.

“Adding the U.S. Censuses is paramount for offering a one-stop shop for family history”, said Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “With this move we maximize value for users by combining the best family tree tools and the most powerful matching technologies with a massive library of historical content. The U.S. Censuses add incredible new value for our users, who will receive a string of new discoveries, and act as a catalyst for taking research further into the past and across new borders. This is just the tip of the iceberg as we’re set to add significant additional collections of historical records, both from the U.S. and around the world, in 2013.”

The U.S. census records are also being added to WorldVitalRecords and FamilyLink, and will be made available soon to the users of Geni – three additional websites owned and operated by MyHeritage.

About MyHeritage

MyHeritage is a family history network helping millions of families around the world discover and share their legacy online. Pioneers in making family history a collaborative experience for the entire family, MyHeritage empowers its users with innovative social tools and a massive library of historical content. The site is available in 40 languages. For more information visit MyHeritage.

Findmypast.ie launches the Anzac Memory Bank

This is a press release I received from findmypast.ie about their new initiative to collect stories of the ANZAC’s or the Australia and New Zeland Army Corps. My Great Grand Uncle Richard Fenton Toomey was an ANZAC. I have written about him here.

April 25th is ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand and everyone remembers the great sacrifice these people made.

Press Release

Thousands of new Australian and New Zealand military records added to mark Anzac Day

With Anzac Day fast approaching, Australians and New Zealanders are preparing to reflect on the heroic efforts of their ancestors. To commemorate this important event, leading family history site, findmypast.ie has just launched its inaugural Findmypast Anzac Memory Bank and has also added thousands of new Australia and New Zealand military records to its World Collection.

The updated archives will make it easy for those with Australian and New Zealand ancestors to investigate their family’s past and learn more about their achievements and efforts during Australia’s and New Zealand’s international conflicts. Some of the new records available on findmypast.ie include:

Australasian Imperial Expeditionary Forces Roll of Honour – An index to the roll of honour of the soldiers and sailors of Australian Imperial Expeditionary Forces
New South Wales Roll of Honour – A comprehensive list of the names of service personnel extracted from honour rolls in schools, public halls, clubs and village war memorials across NSW
New Zealand War Medal Roll – An index of returns of Officers and Men of the Colonial Forces who made applications for the New Zealand War Medal for services before 1866
New Zealand Boer War Servicemen – A list of New Zealand servicemen who took part in the Boer Wars

The updated military records will be another essential tool for anyone currently using the Anzac Memory Bank available on findmypast.ie. The Anzac Memory Bank is a commemorative archive, which contains heroic stories, exclusive photos, and expert information about Australian and New Zealand involvement in all wars and conflicts around the world. Users have shared their own personal and family stories, photos and diary entries so that others can learn what it was like to live through these times of turmoil.

Paul Nixon, military expert from findmypast, commented: “The updated military records and the online functionality of the Anzac Memory Bank make it easier than ever for those interested in Australian and New Zealand family history to commemorate the efforts of their bravest ancestors. The simplicity and ease of use make findmypast.ie a fantastic resource for finding out more about your military ancestors.”

Tara McMahon is one of countless Australian and New Zealand descendants who have discovered the phenomenal efforts of their ancestors with findmypast.ie. She said of her great uncle:

“Private Francis McMahon of the 10th Lighthorse Division was killed in action on the third wave at the Battle of Hill 60. Witnessing his death was one of Australia’s first Victoria Cross recipients, Lieutenant H.V Throssell. Through findmypast.ie I found a private letter from Lieutenant H.V Throssell to his commanding officer commending the efforts of my ancestor and three other men who took part in the battle. Lieutenant H.V Throssell spoke about my great uncle for years after the war as he toured Australia recalling the moments resulting in his Victoria Cross award.

“Were it not for findmypast.ie I would never have known of the exceptional bravery and passion that my great uncle displayed. It fills me with pride to know that one of Australia’s bravest men commends my ancestor for his bravery!”

In addition to the updated records on findmypast.ie, Inside History magazine are thrilled to announce a collaboration to produce an exclusive free digital magazine. The digital magazine will showcase new international historical records as well as providing intriguing case studies from around Australia. The free digital magazine is available on iPad by visiting the Anzac Memory Bank on findmypast.ie.

With even more military records included in the findmypast.ie archives and a new digital magazine it’s easier than ever before for Australian and New Zealand descendants to uncover the lost history of their ancestors.

The new records are available on all of findmypast’s international sites as part of a World Subscription.

Tom Cruise’s Irish Ancestry Unearthed

This is a press release received from Findmypast.ie today.

Hollywood star, Tom Cruise, flew into Ireland this week to discover his family history with the help of records found on leading Irish family history website, findmypast.ie.

The star, whose real name is Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, was invited by Tourism Ireland to re-connect with his Irish ancestry during his promotional tour of his latest film, Oblivion. He was presented with a family tree, dating back six generations to 1825.

The research into Cruise’s family was completed by Fiona Fitzsimons and Helen Moss of award-winning history and heritage company, Eneclann, partner company of findmypast.ie. The genealogists used several sources to compile the research including US census, Irish famine immigrant and civil registration records found on findmypast.ie.

The marriage of Patrick Russell Cruise and Teresa Johnson in Warrenstown House, Co. Meath in 1825 saw the unification of two ancient families, with origins in competing cultural and political traditions. These are Tom Cruise’s great-great-great grandparents.

Fiona Fitzsimons, lead researcher on Cruise’s family tree said: “The key to successfully tracing Tom’s family history was to find the person who provided the link between Ireland and America. The records on findmypast were the perfect research tool. We used the U.S. Census records to trace his immigrant ancestors and the U.S. records for births, marriages and deaths to build a family profile over two generations. Armed with this information, we searched the Irish records to join the dots and trace the family before they left Ireland.”

The married couple emigrated to New Jersey in 1825 where the star’s great-great grandmother, Mary Paulina Russell Cruise was born in 1832. She went on to marry Dillion Henry Mapother of Louisville, Kentucky in 1858. Mapother had links to Co. Roscommon and this is the origin of Cruise’s little-known, double-barreled surname today.

Niall Cullen, from findmypast.ie said: “We are very excited that the Irish roots of such a famous person were found with the help of records on our website. Some of the research even links Tom’s ancestors to lands in Hollywood, North Dublin! It seems that even the world’s biggest celebrities are interested in finding out about their Irish family history”.

The records used during the research are available on all of findmypast’s international sites as part of a World Subscription.

3 MILLION BAPTISM, MARRIAGE AND BURIAL RECORDS FROM WESTMINSTER PUBLISHED ONLINE

This press release is from findmypast.ie

RECORDS REVEAL 400 YEARS OF WESTMINSTER’S HISTORY

Leading family history website findmypast.ie has today published online for the first time parish records held by the City of Westminster Archives Centre.

The Westminster Collection comprises fully searchable transcripts and scanned images of the parish registers dating back over 400-years.

The 3 million records cover the period 1538-1945 and come from over 50 Westminster churches including St Anne, Soho, St Clement Danes, St George Hanover Square, St James Westminster, St Margaret Westminster, St Martin-in-the-Fields, St Mary-le-Strand and St Paul Covent Garden.

Some of the fascinating documents now available online detail the wedding of Theodore Roosevelt, the former US President, in 1886; the marriage of UK Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel; and the marriage of poet Percy Shelley.

Cliona Weldon, General Manager at findmypast.ie, said: “This collection is one of the largest UK regional parish record collections we have ever published online.

“Wherever they are in the world, those tracing their London ancestors can now search this historical goldmine and uncover fascinating stories. Whether you are a family historian or a social historian, there is something that will intrigue everyone in these records”.

Adrian Autton, Archives Manager at Westminster Archives commented: “The launch of the Westminster Collection is of huge significance and makes Westminster records fully accessible to a global audience. This resource will be of immense value to anyone whose ancestors lived in Westminster and to anyone wishing to study the rich heritage of this truly great city.”

The new Westminster Collection at findmypast.ie joins a growing resource of official UK parish records from local archives, including Cheshire Archives & Local Studies, Manchester City Council and Plymouth and West Devon Records Office, with many more in the pipeline, due to go live in the coming months. In addition, over 40 million UK parish records from family history societies can be found at findmypast.ie in partnership with the Federation of Family History Societies.

The Westminster Collection is available on all of findmypast’s international sites as part of a World Subscription.

This marks the first phase in findmypast.ie’s project with City of Westminster Archives. In the coming months the following records will be published online too:

• Non-conformist registers 1694-1945
• Cemetery registers 1855-1990
• Parish rate books 1561-1900
• Settlement examination books 1701-1840
• Removal registers 1710-1867
• Poor relief lists 1715-1869
• Workhouse admission and discharge books 1725-1869
• Apprenticeship registers 1640-1869
• Bastardy records 1657-1825
• Militia records 1780-1816
• Watch, constables and beadles’ records 1736-1830
• Wills and probate records 1504-1829

About Westminster City Archives

Westminster City Archives aims to provide a centre of excellence, where archives and local studies materials are acquired, preserved and made accessible, in order to raise the profile of Westminster’s unique heritage within a global context.

The Archives Centre is designated by the Bishop of London, under the terms of the Parochial Registers and Records Measure 1978, as the repository for ecclesiastical records for the pre-1965 City of Westminster and has also been appointed by the Lord Chancellor as a repository for specified classes of public records under the provisions of Section 4 of the Public Records Act 1958. These include Petty Sessions records, probate records of the Westminster Commissary Court and Coroner’s Court records. It is also recognised by the Master of the Rolls as a repository for manorial and tithe documents under the Law of Property Act 1922 and the Tithe Act 1936.

The Archives Centre holds extensive collections relating to family, local, business and community history in the geographical area of the present day City of Westminster, including the former Metropolitan Boroughs of Paddington and St Marylebone. Among the resources available are books, pamphlets, directories, newspapers, journals, maps and plans, over 60,000 prints, drawings and photographs, local government records from 1460, electoral registers, census returns, parish registers, and business archives.

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