Friday, June 16, 2006

Latest Honoring Our Ancestors Grants

OK, so these are a little late. I've been distracted the last few months, so I'm just now awarding the Honoring Our Ancestor grants for April and May 2006. And once I hear back from the June and July awardees I've selected, I'll have a couple of additional ones to share. For those of you who aren't familar with this grants program, click on the link above and do a little exploring. You'll find brief summaries of the awardees back to May 2000 when I launched this little program. Congrats to both Sylvia and LaVaun who are both prime examples of what a single person can accomplish! Those of you with Brandon, VT and Lipscomb County, TX roots are very lucky!

May 2006
Sylvia Manning of Vermont is a genealogical researcher on a mission. While reading through an old series of newspapers for marriage and death notices, she realized how helpful it would be if they were indexed and made readily available to others. So between 1998 and 2005, she indexed 57 years’ worth of weekly papers and posted that index online. Now she’s working on a fresh round of projects including one that will be incredibly valuable for anyone with roots in Brandon, Vermont or the surrounding area. The library there has a collection of index cards and information compiled by a local man who passed away. Apparently, the collection includes census records, land information, vital records, civil actions, etc. – and much of it is not available elsewhere. Due to space considerations, the collection is stored in the library’s attic, and because some researchers pilfered documents or badly misfiled them, the local librarians have restricted access. Since there are only two librarians, the boxes of index cards and notebooks – that fill shelves that are roughly 6 feet high and 8 feet wide – are mostly untouched these days. Sylvia offered to scan the cards and put them on CDs for accessibility and distribution, and the library has agreed, so Sylvia will use her grant for a scanner to support this project. She’s aware that this initiative will take years, but says, “I have the patience to stay with the job until it’s completed, even if it turns in to another seven year project like the newspaper project I did.” I think the genealogical world could use a few more folks like Sylvia!

April 2006
LaVaun Kraft of Texas recently inventoried and published her second edition of nine Lipscomb County, TX cemeteries. She personally walked each cemetery many times to record names and vital information on the existing tombstones. During the inventory, she discovered that many graves were unmarked or had deteriorating, tin markers. LaVaun will use her grant to purchase small, granite head markers that will record names and birth and death dates. She has already contacted many family members to secure funds to mark their families’ graves, and has personally paid for ten markers herself. This donation will help her continue her admirable efforts.

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