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FamilySearch International Appoints Steve Rockwood as President and CEO to Replace Dennis Brimhall Who Will Retire

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

The FamilySearch International board of directors has elected Stephen T. Rockwood as the company’s president and chief executive officer, succeeding Dennis Brimhall, who will retire. Rockwood, who most recently served as director of the international division at FamilySearch, becomes president and CEO on October 1.

“Steve is an extremely capable, experienced, and respected leader with an immense passion for our mission and our people,” said Elder Allan F. Packer, Chairman of the Board. “As president and CEO, Steve will bring a rich combination of management skills, customer focus, business acumen, and a can-do spirit that will build on the vision and work of Dennis Brimhall.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Proposes in a Church Where His German Ancestors Worshipped

NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. proposed last week to Amy Reimann. He picked the perfect place: in a church where his 10th grandfather — Hamman Ehrenhart — and other ancestors attended.

Earnhardt is on a trip to Germany to learn more about his roots. (See my earlier article about Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s trip at http://goo.gl/QHKxh8.) Earnhardt and Reimann went to the city of Speyer, Germany, and saw the names of his ancestors written in books detailing their births and deaths and confirming they had been baptized at that particular church. Earnhardt said the church apparently is more than 1,000 years old in a town of 300. He knew it was the perfect spot to ask Reimann to marry him after a six-year courtship.

The wedding date likely will be sometime next summer.

Allen Weinstein, Former Archivist of the U.S., R.I.P.

Allen Weinstein, the ninth Archivist of the United States, died June 18 at a nursing home in Gaithersburg, Md. He was 77.

Dr. Weinstein served from 2005 until 2008 as chief of the National Archives and Records Administration. As archivist, he ended secret agreements with the CIA and the Air Force by which thousands of declassified documents had been removed from public view. “We’re in the access business,” Dr. Weinstein said, “not the classification business.” Dr. Weinstein resigned in 2008 as he struggled with Parkinson’s disease.

Weinstein had previously established himself as an academic, with professorships at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., Georgetown University and Boston University. Outside academia, he held leadership roles at nonprofit institutions — most notably the Center for Democracy in Washington, which he founded in the mid-1980s and led as president until 2003.

A Genealogist Traces Rachel Dolezal’s Ancestry and Finds No Black Relatives

Rachel Dolezal has recently stirred up a controversy concerning he ancestry. She resigned Monday as head of her local NAACP chapter after reports surfaced that she was born white yet has claimed she is black. If you are not familiar with this recent news story that has been on all the news networks, start at https://goo.gl/QykhVS to find a few hundred reports about her recent controversy. Now a professional genealogist says that Dolezal’s claim is bogus.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. to Explore Earnhardt Roots in Germany

It’s nice to see a celebrity become interested in researching his or her own family tree. On Monday, after competing in this weekend’s race at Michigan International Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will fly to Germany in hopes of tracing his family’s lineage, which dates to more than three centuries ago there.

“I’ve got some specific areas narrowed down I want to go see and some buildings I want to go see that I know my family was somewhat connected to,” Earnhardt told USA TODAY Sports on Thursday during an appearance for Amp Energy. “They left Germany in 1744, so all this stuff we’re going to see or get close to is more than 300 years old.”

You can read the article by Jeff Gluck in USA Today at http://goo.gl/iRHSCO.

BCG Honors Bamman and Melchiori with Emeritus Status

The following announcement was written by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG):

At the May meeting, the trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists honored two former associates who had long and distinguished careers with Emeritus status. “The Board is building on the foundations and on the contributions of our former associates,” said BCG president Jeanne Larzalere Bloom. “We are pleased to grant Emeritus status to Gale Williams Bamman and Marie Varrelman Melchiori. We are grateful for their years of service, their contributions to the genealogical community, and their deep experience and expertise.”

Elaine Spires Smith Family History Writing Award

The following announcement was written by the Indiana Genealogical Society:

The Indiana Genealogical Society is proud to announce John P. Deeben, Genealogy Archives Specialist at the National Archives, as the 2015 Elaine Spires Smith Family History Writing Award recipient for his article, “Marching Towards Tippecanoe: Indiana Militia Service During the Wabash Expedition, 11 September to 24 November, 1811.” This article was published in the September 2014 issue of Indiana Genealogist, a quarterly publication of the Indiana Genealogical Society. A $500 contribution has been made to the National Archives Trust Fund in honor of John and his work.

Ruth C. Bishop, R.I.P.

The genealogy community recently lost an enthusiastic genealogist and benefactor. Ruth Chauncey Bishop passed away May 28 at the age of 70.

Ruth helped support several genealogy organizations, including the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Ruth was honored when the society’s sixth floor reading room in Boston was named for her. She served on the Society’s Board of Trustees for six years.

World War II Spitfire Pilot Takes His Legacy Online

What will people know about you after you die? Some people are going a step further, and creating a virtual “shoeboxes” of family photographs, love letters, marriage certificates, priceless video clips and key documents, in an attempt to preserve their most precious memories.

One such person is Brian Bird, a former World War II Spitfire pilot who has lived a long, exciting – and at times terrifying – life. Now, at the age of 90, he is embarking on one of his most important missions, to create a digital record for his family to remember him by after his death.

Scottish Genealogist Dr Bruce Durie Receives Prestigious Fulbright Award

The following announcement was written by the Fulbright Commission:

Dr. Bruce Durie, internationally recognized as one of Scotland’s top genealogists, has been granted the prestigious Fulbright Scottish Studies Scholar Award. This will enable him to spend seven months research and teaching at an American University, on one of the most prestigious and selective scholarship programmes operating world-wide.

Dr. Durie will be researching Lowland Scots migration to the Carolinas, and teaching classes on Scottish Genealogy, Culture and History at St Andrews University, Laurinburg, North Carolina, from January to July 2016.

Commenting on receiving the award, Dr. Durie said:

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fulfill a longstanding ambition. So much of Scottish-American migration is told in terms of the Highland and the Ulster Scots. But Lowlanders probably predominated in the early days of the settlement of that part of America, and subsequently.

Robert “Bob” John Szucs, R.I.P.

Bob Szucs was well known within the genealogy community. He traveled to dozens of genealogy conferences with his wife Lou Szucs who is a popular genealogy lecturer, writer, board member of many organizations over the years, and recently retired as a vice president of Ancestry.com. She was Employee #1 at Ancestry, having started with the small book publisher some time before it ever launched its first web site.

Bob Szucs usually stayed in the background when accompanying his wife to genealogy events but a few of us got to know this quiet and modest man. He and a few others, myself included, had a tradition of “ducking out” of an event for a short period of time to jump into an automobile together to find the best local ice cream shop in every city that hosted a national genealogy event. We usually succeeded.

Bob Szucs passed away on April 23. His obituary mentions his wife Lou, his daughter Juliana (also well-known in the genealogy community), three other daughters, and ten grandchildren. It also lists his many professional accomplishments. I never knew that Bob held a number of patents. He didn’t talk much about his many accomplishments.

The Birth Certificate of Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge

You won’t see many birth certificates like this one, at least not in my family. The father and mother of the newborn child have occupations listed as “prince” and “princess.”

Click on the image above to view a larger version.

Ancestry.com Board Member Dave Goldberg Dies in Freak Accident

Dave Goldberg was a high-energy individual with many talents. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard and spending a few years at consulting firm Bain & Company and at Capitol Records, Goldberg struck out on his own in the early 1990s. He founded Launch Media, one of the first companies to venture into streaming music online. He then became chief executive of SurveyMonkey in 2009 and is credited with taking it from a 12-employee company to a 500-employee enterprise valued at $2 billion.

Goldberg later became a member of the Board of Directors of Ancestry.com. “For someone who was involved in so many things, there was never a time that I felt a call or e-mail to Dave was an inconvenience to him,” said Tim Sullivan, chief executive of Ancestry.com. (According to Sullivan, Goldberg was a user long before he joined the company. He liked to explore his family history with his mother, Paula.)

Kim and Khloe Kardashian Visit their Ancestors’ Homeland

I wrote about the Kardashian family’s genealogy earlier at http://goo.gl/wiQQB5. This family certainly is not my favorite group of personalities but I find the story of their ancestors’ hardships and persecution fascinating, regardless of the antics of present-day family members. Kim and Khloe Kardashian also seem interested as they visited their ancestors’ homeland of Armenia this week.

Ancestry’s Employee Number One, Retires: Ode to Lou Szucs

One of the greats of the genealogy world is retiring. Lou Szucs say she is going to use her free time to work on her own genealogy, something that has been difficult to do as she was busy being a vice-president of Ancestry. She joined the company in 1982 as employee number one and has helped convert the company from a tiny publisher of genealogy books into the online powerhouse it is today.

I was going to write a tribute to Lou for this newsletter. Then I read the tribute written by Kristie Wells in the Ancestry Blog. I cannot write anything better than that.

I strongly recommend you read Ancestry’s Employee Number One, Retires: Ode to Lou Szucs at http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2015/03/31/ancestrys-employee-number-one-retires-ode-to-lou-szucs/.

Noreen Patricia Guether, R.I.P

Sad news: long-time genealogist and subscriber to this newsletter Noreen Patricia Guether passed away on Saturday in Long Branch, NJ after a brave battle with lung cancer that spread to her spine and brain. Her obituary may be found at http://goo.gl/FniSbM.

The Obituary of Captain Donald Alexander Malcolm Jr.

Captain Donald Alexander Malcolm Jr., 60, died Feb. 28, 2015, nestled in the bosom of his family, while smoking, drinking whiskey and telling lies. He died from complications resulting from being stubborn, refusing to go to the doctor, and raising hell for six decades. Stomach cancer also played a minor role in his demise.

His full obituary may be found at http://homertribune.com/2015/03/obituary-march-25.

Ancestry Appoints Kendall Hulet Senior Vice President of Product Management

The following press release was written by Ancestry.com:

PROVO, Utah, March 3, 2015 — Ancestry, the world’s largest online family history resource, today announced the appointment of company veteran Kendall Hulet to the position of Senior Vice President of Product Management. Hulet will assume responsibilities for the global product organization and its efforts to make family history more fun and accessible to millions around the world. Hulet is succeeding Eric Shoup, who recently departed Ancestry to pursue new business opportunities.

National Genealogical Society Appoints Edward Grandi as the New Executive Director

The following announcement was written by the folks at the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society:

ARLINGTON, VA – 19 February 2015. The Board of Directors of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) announced the appointment of Edward Grandi as the Society’s Executive Director. Grandi joins NGS to help further their mission to promote genealogical excellence by helping enthusiasts improve their skills. His work will focus on the NGS growing portfolio of specialized family history learning resources, many of which can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

NGS offers a full spectrum of educational opportunities, including its conference, in-depth publications, digital media and cloud-based, online courses from leading experts. Researchers can select from tailored educational programs to learn how to work smarter at every level and search for the right records, which helps them discover more about their ancestors.

Timothy Field Beard, R.I.P.

Timothy Field Beard passed away recently. He served as Librarian in the Local History and Genealogical Division of the New York Public Library and was formerly Director of the Minor Memorial Library and the Hodge Memorial Library in Roxbury, Connecticut. He is the author of How to Find Your Family Roots (McGraw-Hill, 1977) and is a Fellow the American Society of Genealogists and the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society. Mr. Beard was also Past President of the Connecticut Society of Genealogists.

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