As stated, the Genea-Speak Award is given "for excellence in writing, speaking, and the promoting of good genealogical practices." And the only requirement upon receiving the award is to pass the award on to at least two deserving recipients.
Well this is not a burden I take lightly and please understand that for someone who tracks close to 800 genealogy blogs each day (and reads over 500 posts a day), having to choose only two is very difficult.
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Before I get to announcing my nominated award recipients, I want to touch upon the concept of awards and recognition especially among the genealogy blogging community:
- If you are a member of this community and actively participate you already know the value these folks and their activities bring not only to the field of genealogy but to each of our daily lives. We have folks who freely exchange research and information; people who volunteer to maintain genealogy society websites and blogs; those who offer encouragement especially when someone has hit a brick wall or has writer's blog; and folks who recognize the contributions of others through comments, links to blog posts, weekly highlights on their own blogs, retweeting on Twitter and the list goes on. And let's not forget how we tend to "look out for each other" whether it is thoughts and prayers to one who has suffered an accident or recovering from surgery or to those who are watching a spouse, son, daughter or grandchild go off to serve their country as well as to those who've recently suffered the loss of a loved on.
- If you are a new member of this community, you already know most of this and you've quickly learned how welcoming and "non-cliqueish" this group can be. New bloggers are offered advice and tips on how to get started. Many of us go out of our way to help market and publicize new and interesting genealogy blogs.
- If you feel like you are someone on the outside looking in - that's fine - we like it when people take a peek. We hope you feel comfortable enough to eventually comment on blog posts, ask for help in starting your own blog, and eventually participating in blog carnivals and other activities.
What I'm trying to say is that there are critics who've pointed out that as a group we give out too many awards, we pat each other on the back too much, we aren't "real genealogists" (oh don't get me started on that one), that we really don't contribute much to the community, blah, blah, blah. Nonsense, I say.
Every day many of us live and work in a world filled with negativity, with "do it this way, not that way," with finger pointing and judging. Some of us are desperately searching for family who we've lost either through time and distance, family secrets, or other sometimes petty issues that separate rather than join. Isn't it great to find a group of folks who are willing to see the glass half-full rather than half-empty and offer encouragement to others without keeping track of the cost or what they'll get out of it? I appreciate every single award I've ever gotten and I just wish I could display them all in my sidebars. Today I think I'll work on a post listing those awards and simply create a link in my sidebar.
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Since the award recognizes those who've made contributions in three distinct areas of genealogy - writing, speaking and the promotion of good genealogical practices - I want to recognize the following genealogy blogging colleagues and pass the award on to them:
- Miriam Robbins Midkiff of AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors. Miriam was one of the first genealogy bloggers I encountered and probably was the first one to whom I looked up and was in awe of. When you are new in the genealogy blogging community, you follow one or two people because you are amazed at their accomplishments, their vibrant ideas, their masterful writing and capturing of family memories, their energy. Miriam was and still is that person for me. The value alone that Scanfest has brought to the genealogy community in encouraging people to properly scan and preserve their family photos and documents deserves its own special award. Miriam writes from the heart and willingly shares the good and the bad of family memories. And she also volunteers with local genealogy societies and is a speaker and teacher both locally and nationally. Our little space on The Internets would have less sunshine, less energy, less fun and less importance if it weren't for Miriam - this is why she deserves a Genea-Speak Award.
- Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings. Randy has made so many great contributions to the genealogy community that I can't even begin to list all of them. They include his involvement with local genealogical societies, his blog posts on technology especially new features and annoyances of genealogy database software, as well as his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun events. Randy not only follows sound principles when it comes to genealogy research and documentation, his writing helps communicate complex technology to the new comer in an easy approachable manner. And Randy also speaks on the local and national genealogy conference circuit selflessly imparting his body of knowledge to others. The genealogy and genealogy blogging community owes a big debt to Randy and he is so deserving of a Genea-Speak Award.
© 2009, copyright Thomas MacEntee