I am so honored to be chosen for the Genea-Speak Award by Miriam Midkiff of AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors.
This award was created by texican wife at Mountain Genealogists and is given “for excellence in writing, speaking, and the promoting of good genealogical practices.” The requirement upon receiving the award is to pass it on to at least two deserving recipients. The first recipient was Thomas McEntee of Destination Austin Family, who then nominated Miriam Midkiff of AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors, and Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings. These three folks are so deserving of this award and it humbles me to have my name included alongside them as one of the early recipients of this award.
I’m not one who’s big on the whole “awards scene,” but having this particular award presented to me by Miriam is very special. I have never met Miriam in person (but hope to one day), but I have a tremendous respect for all that Miriam contributes to the genealogical community through her writing, teaching, and speaking, and so admire her efforts with Scanfest–although I’ve not had the time to participate, I appreciate what a valuable service this is to genealogists everywhere.
It is also an honor to receive this award in the company of Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems Podcast. Lisa has interviewed me several times for her shows which are stellar and I have enjoyed getting to know her at various conferences and expos. Lisa is truly a “gem” in the genealogical world.
Now comes the difficult part: choosing two colleagues to nominate for this award. There are so many deserving individuals out there—many whom I feel deserve the honor more than I do—and I wish I could nominate everyone on my very long “short list.”
I would like to present this award to two genealogists I had the pleasure of meeting in person this past summer: Steve Danko and Janet Hovorka.
Steve Danko: Stephen Danko, PhD is a genealogy lecturer, and a very popular blogger who writes Steve’s Genealogy Blog, which was named one of the 25 Most Popular blogs of 2009 by ProGenealogists. Steve is a fellow East European genealogist and understands the complexities and frustrations of doing research in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. His lectures and blog break down what is a complicated process into simple terms that are extremely helpful and insightful. His lectures are different from others on the circuit and through his speaking and blogging he challenges us to take a closer look at the documents of our ancestors. I had the pleasure of spending time with Steve this summer when we both were speakers at a conference held by the Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast in New Britain, CT. After the conference a group of us went to New York City and took a trip to Ellis Island, and enjoyed a great dinner at Ukrainian East restaurant. It was also a thrill to watch as Steve located the address where his grandfather first stayed when he arrived in America. Kudos to Steve for his efforts in bringing attention to the area of East European genealogy to general audiences.
Janet Hovorka: Janet Hovorka, a.k.a. “The Chart Chick,” is Development Director for Generation Maps, an online genealogy chart printing service. She is the author of the highly creative and engaging Chart Chick blog. I first met Janet in June 2009 at the Loveland Colorado Family History Expo. I immediately noticed how Janet’s smile, energy and enthusiasm would instantly light up any room she entered.
She recently wrote on her blog after the ICAPGEN conference: “I’m also happy to report that this is exactly what I want to do with my life. I honestly believe that family history is vitally important and literally can solve the world’s problems. I came home so energized that I couldn’t wait to get back to work this morning–even more so than usual.
Through her excellence, Janet energizes us all!
Janet has quickly become a highly sought after speaker with a great passion for the benefits family history can bring to your life. She loves discussing genealogy topics and issues with class participants. I had the pleasure of attending one of Janet’s workshops at the Salt Lake City Family History Expo in August 2009. The talk was on “Serendipity and Other Miracles: Why You Need Family History.” Janet just doesn’t focus on the facts, but goes deeper to explore the “why” of researching our roots. I left this lecture feeling totally inspired because it reminded me of why I started doing genealogy in the first place.
Please join me in congratulating these two very deserving award recipients!