The 2016 Awards Lunch was great fun. Watch the presentations in this video (34:34).
2016 Award Recipients
Renee Jackson Smith Award
The Renee Jackson Smith Award was instituted in 2004 in honor of a very prominent and active member of our society. This award is a scholarship to an individual that allows the recipient to attend the seminar of their choice in the upcoming year.
Jimmy Walters staffs our sales table at every DGS event yet never gets to attend any of the presentations. With this award hope to allow Jimmy to attend at least one event this year.
Award of Merit
The Award of Merit is presented annually to a DGS member who has consistently contributed time, talent, expertise and abilities to the Society over a period of years. This member’s dedication and hard work in the name of the society usually goes way above the norm. Their contributions stand out. The society has recognized 22 such individuals.
Suzan Younger certainly fits this description. For at least seventeen years she has contributed her time, talents and expertise to a variety of DGS activities. Need someone to hold back the hoards trying to overrun the library guards before an event, this person steps in. Coordinating parking tickets, this person is there. Setting up and assisting with special events, this person in on-hand. She doesn’t wait to be asked, she just volunteers.
Suzan Younger served as Database Coordinator in 2000-2002 and as mail administrator. She was one of the first to volunteer for the societies Oakland cemetery project that spanned sixteen plus years, working on tombstone and internment transcriptions, writing an article for the Journal, checking and rechecking records, photographing tombstones, working with the webmaster to put 26,000 plus records online. While undertaking this project, she also photographed and transcribed other cemeteries for the website. Most recently co-chaired the project at Pleasant Mound cemetery.
She has served on the nominating committee numerous times. In 2002, she was recognized as Volunteer of the Year. Extremely interested in digitalization of records, she served on a digitalization committee. She routinely indexes records for the DGS, such as the probate records project, and for Family Search. In fact, she has set herself a goal to spend a specific number of hours each week transcribing records.In 2015 she volunteered to take on the Technology Special Interest Group where she has planned and presented many of the programs.
If there is an event, you will probably find Suzan Younger working hard behind the scenes to be sure that the event is successful. She has volunteered for lock-ins, DGS meetings and seminars. She volunteered at the DGS table at TSGS and the Irish Festival. She recognizes a need and volunteers to assume it. In doing so, she encourages others to get involved. She sets an example that all of us would do well to follow.
Shirley Sloat & Estelle Mitchell Adams
The Heritage Preservation Award is presented annually to an individual, group, or organization in recognition of their contributions to preserve, conserve, house, or collect family history. The accomplishments we have chosen for recognition this year are a text-book example of such an effort.
Shirley Sloat and Estelle Mitchell Adams did an amazing job documenting and publishing an important part of the history of Wheelock, Texas:
- the history of the Wheelock Afro-American Cemetery,
- the Wheelock colored school system, and
- the Black Churches located in Wheelock.
Their remarkable collaboration resulted in four separate publications, a recorded oral history interview, and an entry in WorldCat.
Volunteer of the Year
This award is presented annually to a “member who has generously volunteered time, expertise, talents, and abilities to the Society during the previous year to the extent to make that member stand out and draw attention.” While we are lucky to have a society full of members who graciously contribute their time and efforts, this year’s winner is somebody who really exemplifies what this award stands for.
Kathleen has spent countless hours offering up time and skills for various Society projects and events. She has been described as “unfailingly generous and patient” and as having an “infectious enthusiasm for the mission of maintaining excellence in our organization.”
During the last year, as a member of the board, she dedicated much of their time developing and improving DGS’s approach to seminars, which has resulted in a much smoother process and greater satisfaction by attendees.She has also encouraged others to volunteer their time and talents by getting them excited and always showing great appreciation when they do. She is welcoming and inclusive of all those around her and always has a smile on her face…even if it’s 7:00 on a cold wet morning walking around a cemetery!
Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck Distinguished Service Award
Curt B. Witcher
This award is given annually to an individual for outstanding contributions to the genealogical community on a national level. This year’s recipient is Curt B. Witcher, Senior Manager for Special Collections at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
In his capacity as the library’s Senior Manager for Special Collections, Curt manages The Genealogy Center, serving as general curator for that institution’s Rare and Fine Book Collection, and supervising the new Lincoln Financial Collection’s Lincoln Library. He has worked at the Allen County Public Library for more than thirty-five years. Curt is a member of the Genealogy Committee of the American Library Association, a past chair of the association’s History Section, a former president of both the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National Genealogical Society, and the founding president of the Indiana Genealogical Society.
Curt was distinguished in 1995 as a fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association (FUGA) and received the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ highest honor, the Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern Humanitarian Award, in 1997. He was the 2002 ALA-RUSA History Section Genealogical Publishing Company Award winner and in 2003 was honored by the Indiana Historical Society as that year’s Willard Heiss Memorial Lecturer. Curt was recognized in 2006 by being named the first fellow of the Indiana Genealogical Society. He was honored in May of 2007 with the National Genealogical Society’s P. William Filby award for outstanding, life-time contributions to genealogical librarianship.
Curt’s interests are in United States local history, migration history and settlement patterns, African American research, First Nations/Native American research, and preserving living history. He is particularly interested in helping societies continue to grow and individuals to share their stories.
Due to a prior commitment, Curt asked his friend Fred Moss, a long-time DGS member and a director of the Federation of Genealogical Society, to accept the award on his behalf.
Pegasus Writing Contest Awards
Several times over the last 61 years, the Dallas Genealogical Society has held writing contests. The rules specify that only original material not previously published elsewhere in any format is eligible. Entries are judged on accuracy, clarity of writing, and overall impact and interest. Each prize carries a cash award plus eligibility for publication in the Research Issue of Pegasus: Journal of the Dallas Genealogical Society. Our winners this year all live out of town and were not able to be present.
- First Prize $500 to Ray Harriot
A Case Study in Using DNA for DAR Membership: First Successful Application
- Second Prize $300 to Jana Walker
The Elusive Andrew Lyday, 1804–1849
- Third Prize $150 – Vicki Ayo
Alice’s Looking Glass: Reflection on the Prussian Drahns to Texas
2016 DGS Donations
DGS Gift Proclamation to the Dallas Public Library
- Whereas, the Dallas Genealogical Society has a long-standing history of providing material and financial support to the Genealogy Section of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library in Dallas, Texas; and
- Whereas, the manager of the Genealogy Section of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library has, after some prodding, expressed a desire for additional equipment that will allow the Genealogy Section to expand its capabilities in genealogical education; and
- Whereas, the Board of Directors, acting in accord with the wishes and desires of the membership of the Dallas Genealogical Society, has expressed a desire to support this request;
- Now, Therefore, I, Tony Hanson, President of the Dallas Genealogical Society do hereby present the following to and for the use of the Genealogy Section of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library:
A laptop computer, a video projector, associated cables, adopters and a backpack.
The Cathy Nelson Hartman Endowment Fund
for The Portal to Texas History, University of North Texas Libraries
The Dallas Genealogical Society presented a check in the amount of $5,239.73 to the Cathy Nelson Hartman Endowment Fund, in support of the Portal to Texas History. This represented $2,739.73 collected from Society members and other contributors as well as a matching gift of $2,500 from the Society.
Texas State Genealogical Society Awards
The 2016 Texas State Genealogical Society Family History Conference was held in Dallas this year. Each year, TxSGS presents awards in a variety of categories for individuals and societies. In 2016, Pegasus: Journal of the Dallas Genealogical Society was awarded 2nd place in Society Journal category.
DGS was also recognized as a Gold sponsor for the Conference because of our contributions as a partner with the Dallas Public Library in hosting “Library Day” and for coordinating TxSGS volunteers.