Texas Tech Archivist and Historian Monte Monroe appointed Texas State Historian

Monte Monroe

Monte Monroe, archivist at the Southwest Collection and a history professor at Texas Tech, has been named the Texas State Historian.

Monroe was appointed to the position by Gov. Greg Abbott, and he was sworn in as the state’s fourth historian this week. He’s the first state historian from West Texas, the first archivist in the position, and the first from a major public university. It’s these unique traits that Monroe says will give the state a new perspective.

You can read a lot more about Monroe’s appointment and his statements regarding the preservation of Texas’ historical documents in an article by Matt Dotray in the Lubbock Online web site at:

Clan Buchanan Gets Its First Chief in 337 Years, after a Genealogist Keeps Promise to Find the Rightful Heir

For centuries, millions of men and women around the world have waited patiently for the rightful chief of their ancient Scottish clan to be found. But for the last 337 years no one has been able to verify a claim to the title for the Clan Buchanan. That was until a genealogist promised his grandmother he would solve the mystery before he died.

John Michael Baillie-Hamilton Buchanan, 60, who owns Cambusmore Estate near Callander, has been accepted as head of the clan thanks to the work of genealogist Hugh Peskett.

You can read the full story in an article by Francesca Marshall in The Telegraph at as well as in the official Clan Buchanan web site at:

My thanks to newsletter reader John Rees for telling me about this story.

Cyndi Ingle Honored with the Prestigious Prince Michael of Kent Award

The Society of Genealogist’s former patron was Prince Michael of Kent, after whom the Society has named a prestigious award (created in 2000). The award is granted periodically to a person or organization which has made an outstanding contribution to genealogy. The latest recipient of this honor is Cyndi Ingle, well known for he Cyndi’s List web site, one of THE go-to-places for genealogy.

Amelia Bennett (on the left) presents the Prince Michael of Kent Award to Cyndi Ingle (right).

The presentation of the award on 12 September 2018 was made on board the Explorer of the Seas cruise ship by Amelia Bennett, a trustee of the Society of Genealogists, in front of a large group of genealogists on a cruise to Alaska.

Obituary for Laura G. Prescott

A few days ago, I published a message (at from the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) announcing the passing of long-time APG member and former president, Laura Prescott. Many of her friends and acquaintances might also want to read the more formal obituary, apparently written by her family, that is now available at:

Russ Henderson, R.I.P.

Russell L. Henderson

The National Genealogical Society has received word that Russell L. Henderson, former Director of Communications for the Society, passed away on August 26, 2018 at his home in Alexandria. He was born on December 2, 1942 in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to Blair and Sara Henderson.

Russ was raised in a military family and he followed in his family’s tradition with a military career of his own. He retired as a US Army Colonel after 27 years of service in Korea; Vietnam; Naples, Italy; Heidelberg, Germany; and various locations stateside.

A portion of Russ’ education was in England and he traveled through Scotland several times, often researching his Scottish heritage. He was a founding member and Editor of An Canach, the quarterly newsletter of the Scottish Clan Henderson Society of the United States and Canada. He was a familiar face at many genealogy conferences.

You can read Russ Henderson’s obituary at:

Laura Prescott, R.I.P.

It is with great sadness that I report the news about a long-time friend and former co-worker: Laura Prescott. She was one of the smartest and most delightful people I ever knew. She was enthusiastic about everything she did and nearly everyone she ever met. She was an expert genealogist, an educator, a past president of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), and an all-around nice person. Laura was most recently the director of’s Ancestry Academy. She also was mentioned frequently in this newsletter over the years.

Laura’s humility, integrity, and hard work will continue to inspire those who knew her for many years to come.

The following was written by the Association of Professional Genealogists:

Wheat Ridge, Colo., 30 August 2018 – The Association of Professional Genealogists is saddened to learn of the death, on 26 August 2018, of Laura G. Prescott. APG extends condolences to Laura’s family and many friends on her passing, especially to her two adult children, Kate Duffy Tarvainen and Nate Duffy, of whom she was so proud, and her granddaughter, Margaret Tarvainen, who brought her such joy.

Dr Brian Trainor, R.I.P.

The following sad announcement was written by the Ulster Historical Foundation:

We are sorry to have to bring you the sad news of the death at the age of 90 of our esteemed colleague Dr Brian Trainor, Emeritus Research Director of the Ulster Historical Foundation.

Dr Trainor’s funeral will be on Tuesday, 28 August. More details can be found here

The office will be closed on that day and also on Monday, 27 August for the Bank Holiday.

We express our deepest sympathies to his family at this time.

FamilySearch CGO David Rencher is Named the New Family History Library Director

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

David Rencher, FamilySearch CGO, New Family History Library DirectorSalt Lake City, Utah (22 August 2018), FamilySearch International announced today that David Rencher, AG©, CG, FIGRS, is the new director of the popular Family History Library in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. He succeeds Diane Loosle, who is fulfilling other leadership needs. Rencher will continue to serve as FamilySearch’s Chief Genealogy Officer. The library is open to the public free of charge

This is not Rencher’s first time at the helm of the Family History Library, which opened at its current location in 1985 and serves hundreds of thousands of guests yearly. He was the director from 1999 to 2002. Interestingly, Rencher’s career in family history started 40 years ago as an Irish reference consultant at the library. His return to the library at this time allows the previous library director, Diane Loosle, to fill a growing need in FamilySearch business development, where the two will work together.

George G. Morgan Joins the Writing Team at The In-Depth Genealogist

The following announcement was written by the folks at The In-Depth Genealogist at


The In-Depth Genealogist is pleased to announce a new contributor to the monthly digital magazine, Going In-Depth. George G. Morgan of The Genealogy Guys Podcast has joined the writing team and will be sharing his expertise in a column called Genealogy, by George.

George G. Morgan is president of Aha! Seminars, Inc., and an internationally recognized genealogy expert who presents in the U.S., Canada, England, on cruise ships, and though webinars. He is the co-host of the longest running genealogical podcast, The Genealogy GuysSM Podcast, with thousands of listeners around the globe. His company also produces the Genealogy Connection podcast, and The Genealogy Guys Blog.

In the Future, You Might Live Forever Online

Gregg Pascal Zachary is a professor of practice in Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation. He is now talking about what you might leave behind forever, after your death. For better or for worse, everything you post online as well as everything that others post online about you might be collected in one place to represent you, forever.

Considering the drop in price of data storage hardware in the past few decades and assuming that trend continues for a long time, we can assume that every scrap of information about you can be preserved in the future for approximately the price of a postage stamp.

In an interview published in the ASUnow web site, Zachary says:

Announcing the Laura G. Prescott SLIG Scholarship

The following announcement was written by the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (affectionally known as “SLIG”):

In recognition of the professional accomplishments of our friend and colleague, Laura G. Prescott, and her contributions to the area of education in genealogy, a scholarship for tuition to the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) has been established. The scholarship will be funded through tax-deductible donations.

Laura is known throughout the genealogical community for her passion for genealogical education in the areas of teaching, writing, research, and more. She worked for the New England Historic Genealogical Society for seven years before starting her own research business, was a lecturer at conferences, seminars, and workshops at all levels, and has written articles on a wide range of genealogical topics for the field’s journals. She served as president of the Association of Professional Genealogists and was director of Ancestry Academy, Ancestry’s collection of educational webinars presented by leading genealogical educators.

US Census Bureau Director Nominated

The following announcement was written by Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, Inc. (IAJGS) Public Records Access Monitoring Committee:

This is a critical time for the US Census Bureau. They have been without a permanent director for a year and there is much consternation about issues revolving around the 2020 census regarding adequate funding, potential undercounting of certain groups, and especially the added question regarding citizenship which was added at the request of the Department of Justice. Several lawsuits are pending regarding the citizenship question.

On July 18 Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the Permanent Census Bureau Leadership team. The White House announced their intent to nominate Dr. Steven Dillingham to be the Director of the US Census Bureau. Dr. Dillingham currently serves the Director of the Office of Strategic Information, Research, and Planning for the Peace Corps.

Another Humorous Obituary

“Michael James Sweetack was born in Fond du Lac Wisconsin on May 27th, 1974 to Stanley and Debra Sweetack.

“He died on July 5th, 2018, leaving behind 8 packets of Szechuan sauce, a whole lot of debt, one 10 euro note, and other various things that could very possibly be used to make concentrated dark matter, the fuel for accelerated space travel- regardless of the issue with relativity.

“He was preceded in the death by approximately 101 billion other people and…”

There’s more. You can read the entire obituary at

4,800 Welsh Portraits added to Wikimedia Commons and Wikidata

Over the last 4 years the National Library of Wales has worked with Wikimedia to provide open access to more than 10,000 public domain images. These include the Welsh Landscape Collection, photographs, maps and manuscripts. This partnership has led to more than 455 million views of Wikipedia articles containing National Library images to date.

The National Library of Wales has now placed nearly 5000 portrait prints, photographs and paintings in the public domain on Wikimedia Commons. The Library hopes that volunteers will be encouraged to create Wikipedia articles about the Welsh sitters, artists, printers and photographers involved in the collection.

Genealogists Uncover 10 Heirs of Famed Chicago Street Photographer Vivian Maier

Not all genealogists are researching their own family trees. Some are “heir searchers:” those who attempt to find missing or unknown heirs, entitled to deceased people’s estates before the tax authorities lawfully seize the money. One recent article describes the search for heirs of the celebrated Chicago street photographer, Vivian Maier. The challenge was to find any viable heirs to come forward to claim a piece of the former nanny’s lucrative estate.

Now, after an exhaustive genealogical investigation, lawyers representing potential heirs have filed a lengthy report in Cook County (Illinois) Probate Court that, for the first time, puts the entire Maier family tree into focus.

Details may be found in an article by Jason Meisner in the Chicago Tribune web site at:

Terry Ward’s Obituary Mentions He Left Behind 32 Jars of Miracle Whip and 17 Boxes of Hamburger Helper

I am saddened that I never met Terry Wayne Ward of DeMotte, Indiana. He sounds like a man I would love to know. Here is his obituary:

Terry Wayne Ward, age 71, of DeMotte, IN, escaped this mortal realm on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018, leaving behind 32 jars of Miracle Whip, 17 boxes of Hamburger Helper and multitudes of other random items that would prove helpful in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

Terry is survived by his overly-patient and accepting wife Kathy, who was the love of his life (a fact she gladly accepted sympathy for during their 48 years of marriage). He is also survived by daughters Rebecca (William) Hines and Jean (Jeff) Lahm; sister, Linda; brother, Phil; grandchildren: Alexander and Hannah Hines (The Mesopotamians), Daphne and Erin Pistello (The Daffer and Peanut), Brendan and Owen Lahm (Phineas and Ferb) and Tessa McMurry (Smiley).

He is preceded in death by his parents Paul and Bernice Ward, daughter Laura Pistello, grandson Vincent Pistello, brother Kenneth Ward, a 1972 Rambler and a hip.

Lloyd Bockstruck, R.I.P.

One of the giants of genealogy has passed away. Lloyd Dewitt Bockstruck was a prolific author, genealogy scholar, librarian, educator, and lecturer. He died Sunday, May 27, 2018 in Dallas, Texas, at the age of 73.

Lloyd de Witt Bockstruck, the son of Harry Earl Bockstruck and Olive Elsie Blakenship, was born at Vandalia, Illinois. He graduated cum laude with an B.A. in Biology and History from Greenville College in 1967. Mr. Bockstruck received an M.A. in Modern European History from Southern Illinois University in 1969, and and M.S. in Library Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana in 1973. He received a certificate from the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, Samford University, in June 1973.

Meghan Markle’s English Roots

The world is abuzz this week as the former American actress, Meghan Markle, will marry Prince Henry of Wales (familiarly known as Prince Harry) on Saturday, May 19, 2018. He is the younger son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales, and is sixth in the line of succession to the British throne. While Meghan Markle is an American, she is related to both Winston Churchill and William Shakespeare, along with many other famous English citizens.

According to the MyHeritage Blog at

“We found that Markle is William Shakespeare’s fifth cousin thirteen times removed. Her connection to Winston Churchill is even closer, as they are sixth cousin five times removed.

Watch a Special Webinar with MyHeritage’s Founder and CEO

Gilad Japhet is the Founder and CEO of the well-known genealogy company, MyHeritage. That company also sponsors this newsletter. I suspect that many genealogists will be interested in an informative free webinar that features an interview of Gilad. The webinar is hosted by Geoff Rasmussen (who is also well-known within the genealogy community for his many excellent webinars.)

The interview is a very frank and open webinar in which Gilad describes the beginnings of MyHeritage as well as its vision. Gilad is the only CEO of a large genealogy company that I know of who was an avid genealogist long before starting the company. He started young; I believe he became a genealogist when he was 13-years-old. He never looked back. In this interview filled with personal anecdotes, he includes key milestones and learnings along the way, including the intriguing story of a 70-year-old genealogical mystery that he tackled and solved.

NEHGS Honors David McCullough with Lifetime Achievement Award

The following announcement was written by the folks at the New England Historic Genealogical Society:

New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) Presents Its Lifetime Achievement Award to “An American Legend”: Author, Historian David McCullough

New England Historic Genealogical Society Unites Two Pulitzer Prize-Winners in a Tribute to David McCullough

NEHGS Genealogy Reveals McCullough is Related to a Grand Family of Literary Figures, Including Some Subjects of His Award-Winning Narratives

April 28, 2018—Boston, Massachusetts—On Friday, New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) brought together two Pulitzer Prize-winning authors in a sparkling tribute to one of them: author and historian David McCullough. During an evening entitled “Honoring an American Legend,” NEHGS President and CEO Brenton Simons presented McCullough with the organization’s coveted NEHGS Lifetime Achievement Award “for his unparalleled contributions to the historical narrative of our nation.” Simons later introduced the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stacy Schiff who moderated a lively and engaging conversation with the honoree. The event was held before an overflow crowd of supporters of NEHGS at its annual Family History Benefit Dinner.