The following is an announcement from the New England Historic Genealogical Society:
The New England Historic Genealogical Society is pleased to announce that the 2004 winner of the NEHGS Technology Excellence Award is A Very Grave Matter (http://www.gravematter.com). The award was presented to site owner Jennifer Marcelais of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, by NEHGS director of electronic publications Michael J. Leclerc at the recent Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Annual Conference for the Nation's Genealogists in Austin, Texas.
A Very Grave Matter is "dedicated to promoting the restoration, preservation, and awareness of the value of historic cemeteries and gravestones of the New England area." Jennifer clearly states the purpose of the site on its home page:
"The heart of the history of any New England town can be found in its cemeteries. This web site is a collection of photographs and historical information of colonial cemeteries and gravestones of New England in southern Maine, southern New Hampshire and northeast Massachusetts. There are so many significant aspects of tombstones, from the symbolism and artwork of the carvings themselves, to the marks the individuals themselves made on history. They are a valuable learning tool that must be preserved. These headstones represent our past. They are a tangible glimpse of history. By preserving these cemeteries we gain something more to learn history by besides reading it out of a book. In genealogy research, they are often overlooked for the valuable resource they are."
A Very Grave Matter features Jennifer's transcriptions and photographs of dozens of cemeteries, along with biographical information when available. To date there are over seven thousand images of gravestones and graveyards on the site.
In addition to the transcriptions and images, Jennifer calls attention to the plight of cemeteries and graveyards everywhere, as they suffer the ravages of time, vandalism, and urban sprawl. Her dedication to the preservation of this information is to be commended. NEHGS is proud to present her with the 2004 Technology Excellence Award for making these records available over the Internet.
The New England Historic Genealogical Society, in an effort to encourage and foster the development of rigorous genealogical research techniques in computerized or electronic formats, created the NEHGS Technology Excellence Award in 2000. The award is presented to projects that demonstrate or enable the highest standards of genealogical research in electronic form, and do so in an innovative and replicable manner. The award is intended to recognize appropriate use of technology to achieve genealogical results; eligible projects must therefore present a worthwhile genealogical result obtained through technological tools.
Previous winners of the Technology Excellence Award include:2003 Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center's Obituary Index http://www.rbhayes.org/index
Programme de recherche en demographie historique (PRDH)
Illinois State Genealogical Society
Alberta Family Histories Society, Canadian Genealogical Projects Registry
For more information about the NEHGS Technology Excellence Award, and a complete list of past winners, visit http://www.newenglandancestors.org/about/award/default.asp.