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Nominations sought for NGS Hall of Fame

Thirty one times, the genealogical community has honored one of our best, one that we’ve lost.

ngshofThirty one times, the focus has been on someone who has made contributions to the field of genealogy that were of lasting significance in ways that were unique, pioneering, or exemplary.

Thirty one times, individual genealogists and groups have nominated those persons whose achievements or contributions have made an impact on the field — and one has been selected: a genealogist whose unique, pioneering, or exemplary work lives on today.

Thirty one times.

Starting in 1986 with Donald Lines Jacobus and continuing to 2016 with Marsha Hoffman Rising, 23 men and eight women have been elected to the National Genealogy Hall of Fame.

Jacobus, the first person chosen, was “nominated for this honor by the American Society of Genealogists, the Genealogical Society of Utah, and the DuPage County (IL) Genealogical Society. During his lifetime, Jacobus was widely regarded as the dean of American genealogists, and he is recognized as the founder of the modern school of genealogy in the United States. He was the editor and publisher of The American Genealogist for forty-three years, and he may have been the most prolific genealogical writer of any generation. His writings include the classic, Genealogy as Pastime and Profession. On his death, he was described by his colleague Milton Rubincam, as ‘the man who more than any other single individual elevated genealogy to the high degree of scholarship it now occupies.’”1

Rising, the most recent honoree, was only 55 when she died in 2010:

For thirty years she served the genealogical community in many roles: as president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, vice president of the National Genealogical Society, as trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists, contributing editor to the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, The American Genealogist, the Federation of Genealogical Societies Forum, and Ozar’Kin, and as a faculty member of Samford University’s Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research. …


Through her writing and teaching, Marsha Hoffman Rising enlightened thousands of genealogists. Her publications demonstrated both sound and innovative methods for difficult research problems. Marsha was consistently rated among the best of teachers and her lectures at the major genealogical events helped mold the conference structure into a major educational forum. Her leadership enhanced and guided the genealogical institutions for which she served. She was and continues to be a role model for all facets of genealogy today.


Marsha Rising became a Certified Genealogist in 1986, and a Certified Genealogical Lecturer in 1989, then served on the Board for Certification of Genealogists as a trustee 1995-1997. The American Society of Genealogists elected her as a Fellow in 1992, where during the years 1998-2007, she served as president, vice president and secretary. The Utah Genealogical Society elected her as a Fellow in 1990. She was one of the founders of the Genealogical Speakers Guild in 1992, and the first elected president.


Her publications include Opening the Ozarks: First Families in Southwest Missouri, 1835-1839 (2005), which traced the lives of the first one thousand pioneers who purchased federal land from the Springfield, Missouri Federal Land Office, Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried and True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors (2011), and Descendants of Nathan Brown (c1731-1779) of Newberry County, South Carolina, Preble County, Ohio, Coweta County, Georgia and Warren County, Illinois: A Presbyterian Family (2010).2

In between, a wide variety of genealogical giants: Walter Goodwin Davis (1987); Gilbert Cope (1988); John Farmer (1989); George Andrews Moriarty, Jr. (1990); Lucy Mary Kellogg (1991); Meredith Bright Colket, Jr. (1992); Henry Fitzgilbert Waters (1993); Archibald Fowler Bennett (1994); Joseph Lemuel Chester (1995); George Ernest Bowman (1996); John Insley Coddington (1997); Jean Stephenson (1998); James Dent Walker (1999); Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern (2000); Richard Stephen Lackey (2001); Hannah Benner Roach (2002); Milton Rubincam (2003); Herbert Furman Seversmith (2004); Mary Campbell (Lovering) Holman (2005); Kenn Stryker-Rodda (2006); Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr. (2007); Lowell M. Volkel (2008); Willard Calvin Heiss (2009); Rosalie Fellows Bailey (2010); Albert Cook Myers (2011); Josephine Cosette Mayou Stillman Frost (2012); Earl Gregg Swem (2013); Florence Harlow Barclay (2014); and Donald Arleigh Sinclair (2015).3

Thirty one of our best… And it’s up to us to help select the 32nd person.

The National Genealogical Society and the National Genealogy Hall of Fame Committee are seeking nominations from the entire genealogical community for persons whose achievements or contributions have made an impact on the field. The next honoree and the society that honored the nominee will be announced at the NGS 2017 Family History Conference in Raleigh in May.

Nominations for election to the National Genealogy Hall of Fame are made by genealogical societies and historical societies throughout the United States, and have to be submitted by 31 January 2017.

Here are the guidelines for nominations:

• “A nominee must have been actively engaged in genealogy in the United States for at least ten years, must have been deceased for at least five years at the time of nomination, and must have made contributions to the field of genealogy judged to be of lasting significance in ways that were unique, pioneering, or exemplary.”4

• “The National Genealogy Hall of Fame is an educational project in which the entire genealogical community is invited to participate. Affiliation with the National Genealogical Society is not required.”5

• “The National Genealogy Hall of Fame Committee elects one person to the Hall of Fame annually. Those elected are permanently commemorated in the Hall of Fame at Society headquarters, Arlington, Virginia.”6

• “Nominations for election to the National Genealogy Hall of Fame are due by 31 January 2017. Official nomination forms are available from our website, under the Awards tab, or by contacting the National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, VA 22204-4304; phone 1-800-473-0060.”7

Here’s a link to the official nomination form so no excuses!

Let’s all put on our thinking caps and consider those who were among our best… those we can honor for their service to our community.

It only takes a few minutes to help honor and remember a lifetime of service.


  1. “DONALD LINES JACOBUS Elected 1986,” National Genealogy Hall of Fame Members, National Genealogical Society ( : accessed 16 Nov 2016).
  2. Ibid., “MARSHA HOFFMAN RISING Elected 2016.”
  3. Ibid.
  4. Call for Nominations,” National Genealogical Society ( : accessed 16 Nov 2016).
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.
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