2015 NCGS Awards Winners

2015 NCGS Awards Winners

NCGS Award Winners 2015

(left to right) Helen F. M. Leary, CG (Emeritus), FASG; Ginger R. Smith; Pam Toms, Awards Chair; Vickie P. Young, NCGS President;
Sharon Gable; Maryann Stockert Tuck; Judi Hinton; and Lisa Gregory

The 2015 NCGS Awards were presented at the NCGS annual meeting during the Fall Workshop on 3 October 2015 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh. The following societies and individuals were recognized for outstanding published efforts and personal contributions to the North Carolina genealogical community.


The Award for Excellence in Periodical Publishing for a journal published by a local North Carolina genealogical society was awarded to The Trading Path: Journal of the Durham-Orange Genealogical Society, edited by Ginger R. Smith.
This substantial quarterly is well laid-out and very readable with consistent and documented content. The reader can follow articles between issues with ease. The journal contains a good variety of articles that focus on Durham and Orange counties including abstracts and transcriptions of court records, newspapers, and city directories. It also features memories of family members and community residents, historical pieces, some general how-to genealogy articles, and a full-name index. The Trading Path clearly offers what genealogists want to see: lots of names.

The Award for Excellence in Web Presence for a freely accessible website promoting North Carolina genealogy was presented to two winners. The first co-winner was the Family Research Society of Northeastern North Carolina, Inc., website at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ncfrsnnc. The award was accepted by Sharon Gable.
This is a simple, uncluttered website where content matters more than flashiness. The Resources page presents a good introduction to what is available in their society’s library, including an index to family histories in that collection. Particularly useful to researchers is the County Resources page that includes links to the five regional libraries and resources of the seven counties within their area of coverage. There are online indexes to several published abstracts and histories that were originally published either with no index or an inadequate one, such as the Chowan County will abstracts, Pasquotank County cemeteries, and the Pasquotank Historical Society Yearbooks. Online resources allow researchers to access the Chowan County Cemetery Survey and the hefty collection of online tax lists for Perquimans County in the 1700s and for 1770 Chowan. This website is a good example of how a local society can create and maintain a web presence and provide useful research resources for its county/counties.

The second co-winner for the Award for Excellence in Web Presence for a freely accessible website promoting North Carolina genealogy was the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center website at http://www.digitalnc.org. The award was accepted by Lisa Gregory, Digital Projects Librarian.
The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center is “a statewide digitization and digital publishing program” that “works with cultural heritage institutions across North Carolina to digitize and publish historic materials online.” This free website, DigitalNC, is very professional, well laid-out, and easily navigated. The website provides users with both search and browse features for access to the wealth of digitized original historic materials from libraries, archives, and museums from around the state. The website includes large collections of city directories, newspapers, yearbooks, and photographs. Included in the wide variety of unique resources, many of which cannot be found elsewhere online, are Chatham County funeral programs, the Francis B. Hays Granville County scrapbook collection, family and legal documents from Stanly County’s Dr. Francis Joseph Kron collections, and Chowan County Freemasonry records for 1775-78. DigitalNC is a treasure trove of freely accessible materials that might otherwise not be readily uncovered by genealogists and historians.

The Award for Excellence in Publishing for a book of secondary source material relevant to North Carolina was presented to Dr. A. B. Pruitt for the Index to People & Places in New Hanover Co, NC Deed Books A-AA (1726-1845), in 2 parts. Due to a prior commitment, Dr. Pruitt could not attend the awards presentation.
This is a two-part master index to all the people and places in the eleven volumes of Dr. Pruitt’s previously published New Hanover County deed abstracts and covers over 100 years of the county’s deeds. The books have an easy-to-follow layout; a clear, uncluttered, and readable format; and maps of the county and city of Wilmington. A full-name People Index incorporates slaves while the Place Index includes names of alleys, banks, boats, companies, fences, fields, houses, lots, warehouses, wharves, and even church pews. This index makes a valuable set of abstracts even more valuable and is clearly an important resource for New Hanover County researchers.

The Award for Excellence in Publishing for a book of family history relevant to North Carolina was presented to Jean Wood Paschal for One Branch of the Wood Family Tree in Northeastern North Carolina. Ms. Paschal was unable to attend the awards presentation and sent her regrets.
This is a very well written and researched book that incorporates a good variety of documented primary and secondary sources. The layout is creative, easy to follow, and uncluttered. With clear explanations of resources, the in-depth narrative nicely intertwines biographical information and social history and is liberally sprinkled with excerpts and transcriptions of court records, small maps, and photographs. The book also includes a full name index. It is obvious that a great deal of time and effort has gone into compiling this valuable resource for this line of Woods and associated families of the Albemarle Region.

The Award for Outstanding Contribution to NCGS by a Member for an individual whose work with NCGS has been outstanding was presented to Maryann Stockert Tuck.
Maryann first joined the NCGS Board as a Director and Publicity Chair. Publicity was an area of the society that was much needed and had been neglected. She worked with local newspapers in Raleigh and across the state to have short articles posted about our upcoming events and the winners of our annual awards announced in the winner’s local paper. She also ensured our workshops were posted in the event calendars of major national genealogical publications, both online and in print.

Maryann then took over the responsibilities of the Society Liaison where she developed a more robust relationship with North Carolina genealogical and historical societies. She developed, maintained, and faithfully updated a distribution list that she used to send monthly e-mails to announce what was happening in the NCGS. She served on other committees as well, giving support to the publications and program committees and anywhere else she was needed. Then Maryann had an idea and a vision.

At first her vision for a webinar program was met with resistance, a fear it would be too difficult and expensive. But Maryann followed her vision and put a team and program together, identified the brightest and best speakers, and with approval from the board charged ahead. The North Carolina Series of Webinars is devoted to the pursuit of southern genealogy, specifically research in North Carolina. Maryann developed a delectable menu of North Carolina topics including maps, tax records, probate records, and the ever-popular DNA testing. There are now a dozen webinars available in the NCGS store.

Maryann’s energy and enthusiasm is never diminishing and is always contagious. Her contributions to the society are lasting. Thank you, Maryann, for all you have done for NCGS.

Special Recognition for 30 Years of Exceptional Service to NCGS was presented to Judi Hinton.
Vickie and Judi 2015NCGS recognized Judi Hinton for thirty years of exceptional service to the North Carolina Genealogical Society and presented to her with the award of Special Recognition of 30 Years of Exceptional Service to NCGS. Judi has boundless energy, creative ideas, and foresight. She has been on the NCGS board longer than anyone and knows the workings and history of the Society better than any of us. She dragged the Society kicking and screaming into the computer age and yet is a warm and gracious hostess who opened her home year after year for NCGS board meetings.

In 1989 Judi compiled a thirty-three page booklet entitled Letters Back Home, Posey County, Indiana to Carteret County, North Carolina, which she gave to the North Carolina Genealogical Society with all proceeds remaining with the Society. Judi has served on the NCGS board as a Director-at-Large and has worked on various committees, but it is her work as Treasurer of the society that has truly been outstanding.

In 2004, when Judi received the award for Outstanding Contribution to NCGS by a Member, Terri Hopkins expressed it best: “In 1993, she [Judi] accepted the job of NCGS treasurer. It was a good day for our Society and a turning point in our record keeping. Judi brought her knowledge and expertise in bookkeeping and computer technology to NCGS. Her first job was a big one—to compile heretofore scattered data and prepare an accurate view of NCGS finances. Her hard work made the Board focus on what we were doing and what we needed to do to be fiscally sound. Judi is so diligent about NCGS finances that her treasurer’s reports are always peppered with cautionary advice. On the other hand, no one celebrates our fiscal victories more than Judi.”1

Thank you, Judi, for your record years of outstanding service and commitment to NCGS. We wish you well in your future endeavors.

1Terri Hopkins “NCGS 2004 Awards,” NCGS News (Winter 2005, Vol. 29, No. 1): 7-8, digital image, www.ncgenealogy.org, accessed 28 September 2015.

The Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to North Carolina Genealogy for an individual whose outstanding genealogical contributions have greatly enhanced the study of family history in North Carolina was presented to Helen F. M. Leary, CG (Emeritus), FASG.
Helen and Vickie 2015 smallHelen Leary’s life changed that summer day long ago when she began organizing her recently deceased great-aunt’s family papers, which had been written but not documented on hundreds of cash register tapes. She soon found herself caught up in the task and its subsequent trips to the State Archives, and having fun in the process.

From there she set a goal for herself to thoroughly study genealogy and North Carolina’s history, law, records, and society, treating the self-prescribed assignment just as if it were course work for a university degree.

Helen became active in NCGS in its early years and served as its secretary (and later president). Helen’s reputation as a specialist in North Carolina genealogy was obviously well established when in 1980 she was appointed chairman of an editorial committee of NCGS to publish a research guide for “effective genealogical and historical research in North Carolina.” North Carolina Research: Genealogy and Local History, with Helen Leary as co-editor, was published by NCGS later that year and instantly became not only the standard for research in our state but was also recognized as a guide promoting research strategies and methodology from which genealogists everywhere can benefit. In 1996 NCGS would be proud to publish her revised second edition of North Carolina Research, which to this day is still our best seller.

Along the way Helen became a much sought-after Certified Genealogist and would later add several other credentials to her resume. She soon earned a national reputation for her instructional and entertaining lectures. Who can forget her stories about her grandmother who made jigsaw puzzle pieces fit together with scissors or the will which directed that a silver hand be made for a little girl? A colleague recently shared how quickly professional and interested genealogists adopted her methods. He described how Mary McCampbell Bell, now CG Emeritus, once asked Helen to suggest a way for her to organize her many journal, magazines, and other items that overwhelmed her time. Helen encouraged Mary to find a variety of baskets to hold these items, and Mary carefully purchased and labeled her baskets awaiting the organization Helen recommended. After a couple of months, Mary called Helen in regards to the basket organization project and asked, “OK, Coach! The BASKETS are full, what’s next?!?”  Helen is a mentor to many of today’s genealogical leaders and researchers.

A succession of scholarly articles on methodology, strategies, and professionalism were to follow, including her paper, “Sally Heming’s Children: A Genealogical Analysis of the Evidence,” which appeared in a special issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly in September 2001. This piece was one of the first scholarly genealogical papers on a notable individual to receive national attention where DNA corroborated the well-researched conclusion that Sally Heming’s children were the biological children of Thomas Jefferson.

Helen has served in official capacities on the Board for Certification of Genealogists, the Association of Professional Genealogists, and the National Genealogical Society, and has earned many awards. In 2007 BCG honored her by initiating “The Helen F. M. Leary Distinguished Lecture Series.” Mark Lowe was a 2015 recipient for his lecture “Who Owned the Cow?”, which was one of the lectures he presented at the NCGS Fall Workshop.

Helen didn’t stop with learning all about North Carolina’s laws and records in her early self-prescribed studies. She combined that knowledge with her wit and with examples from her research experience, explaining those laws and records to genealogists in terms that we could comprehend, and instructed us in how to use them to more effectively search for our ancestors.

We therefore attempt in some small way to show our appreciation to Helen Leary for steering us as amateur and professional genealogists to become better researchers through her many contributions to North Carolina genealogy. Through her indispensable guidebook, North Carolina Research, through her lectures and articles, and now through her webinars on the NCGS website. It is an honor and a privilege for NCGS to honor Helen F. M. Leary with the Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to North Carolina Genealogy. She is North Carolina Genealogy!

For more details on Helen Leary’s many achievements, see the NCGS webpage at http://www.ncgenealogy.org/component/content/article/38-webinar-articles/581-bio-helen-leary and the Board for Certification of Genealogist website at http://www.bcgcertification.org/educationfund/.

The National Genealogical Society presents interviews with her in its video series “Paths to Your Past” at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/publications/videos/helen_f_m_leary.

Certificates of Appreciation
The NCGS Board also expressed its thanks to two individuals who have served in their respective capacities in the society and are leaving their positions. Certificates of Appreciation for Outstanding Performance and Exceptional Commitment were awarded to Larry Cates, MLIS, for his job as Journal Editor and to Mabel Osborne Dillard as Volunteer Chair.

The Awards Committee wishes to acknowledge other nominees for the 2015 Awards
Dr. Lawrence W. Auld, editor of C. Rudolph Knight’s Historical Reflections on African American Tarboro, for a book of secondary source material relevant to North Carolina.

John Anderson Brayton for Order of First Families of North Carolina – Ancestor Biographies Vol. 2: Numbers 201-400, for a book of secondary source material relevant to North Carolina.

Rebecca Leach Dozier for The Descendants of Sterling Johnston of Halifax County, North Carolina, for a family history relevant to North Carolina.

William Martin Edsel for The Grandfather I Never Knew – Richard Martin Edsel, for a family history relevant to North Carolina.

Family Research Society of Northeastern NC, Inc.’s, Carolina Trees & Branches, for excellence in journal publishing.

Old Buncombe County Genealogy Society’s “A Lot of Bunkum,” for excellence in journal publishing.

Dr.Christopher Hunt Robertson for Railroad Builders: The Dunavant Family of Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee, for a family history relevant to North Carolina.