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The (U.S.) National Genealogical Society Presents Fellowships and Awards Honoring Excellence in Volunteerism and Service to NGS

17 May 2024 2:33 PM | Anonymous

The following announcement was written by the National Genealogical Society:

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) began its first full day of sessions for the Virtual Family History Conference, Expanding Possibilities, on 17 May 2024. Following the plenary’s keynote address, entitled “Artificial Intelligence and Genealogy: The First Year and Onward!” by NGS AI Program Director Steve Little, NGS Awards Chair Judy Nimer Muhn presented several awards. They were the President’s Citation, National Genealogy Hall of Fame induction, NGS Fellows, the Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern Lifetime Achievement Award, Lou D. Szucs Distinguished Service Award, and The Shirley Langdon Wilcox Award for Exemplary Volunteerism.

President’s Citation

NGS Vice President Ellen Pinckney Balthazar was awarded the President’s Citation for years of service to the NGS board. Elected to the board in 2018, she has served as vice president and chair of the governance committee since 2020. She has also served as an advisor to the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee since its formation in 2021. She has worked tirelessly to elevate the work of the board, leading strategic planning, orientation for newly elected board members, board assessment, bylaws revision, and much more.

National Genealogy Hall of Fame 
NGS introduced its National Genealogy Hall of Fame in 1986. This award honors outstanding genealogists whose achievements in American genealogy have had a great impact on the field and who have been deceased for at least five years. Their contributions to genealogy in this country need to be significant in a way that was unique, pioneering, or exemplary. Entries are judged by a panel of genealogists from various parts of the United States.

This year, Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck was elected to the National Genealogy Hall of Fame. 

Bockstruck was born on 26 May 1945 in Vandalia, Fayette County, Illinois; he died on 23 May 2018 in Dallas, Texas. With a thirty-year tenure as supervisor of the Genealogy Section (1979-2009) at the Dallas Public Library, he established the library’s reputation as a leading genealogical collection in the United States—including records not widely available—with more than 100,000 books, over 40,000 rolls of microfilm, and nearly 20,000 microfiche. He compiled over fifty bibliographies covering various subjects including colonial Germans, church records, Hoosier genealogy, land memorials, military and pension records, probate records, Virginia Baptists, and many more.

Between 1976 and 2017, he authored ten genealogical reference books and monographs. He served for eleven years on the faculty of the Genealogical Institute of Mid-America, University of Illinois at Springfield (1994-2005); seventeen years as a weekly columnist for the Dallas Morning News (1991-2008); seventeen years as an instructor at the School of Continuing Education, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas (1974-1991), and thirty-nine years on the faculty of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama (1974-2013). Bockstruck lectured throughout the country at genealogical society workshops, seminars, and conferences, influencing several generations of genealogists, family historians, and librarians. His honors include being named a Fellow of the National Genealogical Society (1992), receiving the initial Filby Prize for Genealogical Librarianship (1999), and being named a Fellow of the Texas State Genealogical Society (2008).

NGS Fellows

The NGS Fellow (FNGS) recognizes outstanding work in service to NGS and in the field of genealogy. This year's recipients were Eric G. Grundset, MLS, FVGS, and David Rencher, AG, CG, FUGA, FIGRS. 

Eric Grundset’s volunteer work for NGS began in 1990, when he joined the NGS board. He was consecutively an NGS councilor, first vice president, and vice president from 1990 to 2000. He has volunteered for the NGS Book Awards Committee since 1995 and still serves as a member of that committee. Grundset twice served as NGS conference co-chair and has lectured at NGS conferences for more than thirty-five years. He also lectures across the United States on Virginia records, colonial records, and the collections of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Library.

Grundset authored the first edition of Research in Virginia as well as its second and third editions for the NGS Research in the States series. He is currently working on Research in Upstate New York. One of the most prolific contributors to the field of genealogy, he served as the DAR Library director for thirty-three years and has compiled eight comprehensive bibliographical books covering five thousand pages of Revolutionary War states’ resources, including guides on colonial New York, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Virginia. 

David Rencher began his career in genealogy four decades ago. Over the years, he has directed the management of genealogical resources and education offered by FamilySearch, the FamilySearch Library, and RootsTech. Today, he is the chief genealogical officer for FamilySearch International. 

A past-president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), Rencher was a key leader in the merger of NGS with FGS in 2019-2020. After the merger, he was elected to the NGS board as a director and became its chair of development. He also represents NGS on the Research Preservation and Access Coalition (RPAC). 

Rencher has lectured at nearly all the NGS conferences and has written numerous articles in genealogical periodicals, including NGS Magazine. In 2020 he authoredResearch in Arizona, for the NGS Research in the States series. During his tenure as FGS vice president, Rencher helped raise the funds to support Preserve the Pensions for the War of 1812. As an NGS director, he has continued in that role, working with Ancestry and NARA to ensure completion of Preserve the Pensions I, and he is the driving force to create Phase II—the Veteran Bounty Lands project.

Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern Lifetime Achievement recognizes an individual whose positive influence and leadership have fostered unity and helped make family history a vital force in the community. This year’s award recipient is Larry Naukam. Naukam has dedicated over forty-five years to genealogy and local history research. He retired in 2011, concluding a thirty-year career as a librarian. His final position was as director of historical services at the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County (New York). His genealogy expertise spans American and German research, digitization, library and archive collections, online resources, and newspaper retrieval. Naukam has made significant contributions to the Rochester Genealogical Society (RGS) since 1978, serving as its historian/genealogist, first vice-president, and as president for six years. As a member of the RGS Education Committee and Church Records Preservation Committee, he helped to safeguard thousands of vital records and make them accessible to researchers from across the globe. During the past two decades, he has delivered more than 250 free presentations. His publications include “An In-brief Guide to New York Genealogy,” a laminated guide for New York researchers, and numerous articles forGenealogical Computing (1987-2005), Genweekly (2005-2013) and The In-Depth Genealogist(2014-2018).

The Lou D. Szucs Distinguished Service Award recognizes exemplary contributions to the mission of NGS. This year Cheri Hudson Passey received the award for her outstanding service to NGS as its first vice president of Society & Organization Management and board liaison to the Delegate Council Steering Committee, both established as a result of the merger of NGS and the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS). Passey, who previously served as secretary of the FGS board, has been instrumental in serving the growing NGS community of genealogy and family history societies, libraries, archives, museums, and institutions.

Shirley Langdon Wilcox Award for Exemplary Volunteerism recognizes volunteers whose generosity of spirit and time has greatly benefited NGS and the genealogical community in general. This year the Society is honoring an entire NGS committee—the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee—Chair Andre Kearns, Ellen Pinckney Balthazar, Bernice Alexander Bennett, Kenneth A. Bravo, Lisa Fanning, Carly Morgan, and David Morrow. The committee was formed in 2021 to help NGS realize its vision to be a society open to all. Through their efforts, NGS published "Our Journey from Exclusion to Inclusion” and issued an apology at the 2023 Richmond Conference for past acts of discrimination, bigotry, and racism. This year, the committee launched Culture Conversations, webinars on the nexus of history, culture, and genealogy through films, books, and dialogue. 

The NGS 2024 Virtual Family History Conference continues through Saturday, 18 May.

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