Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Seeing (Genealogy) Stars

The Bronze, Silver and Gold awards for John Reid's annual Genealogy Rock Star Awards have been announced. And as always social media is a-buzz. This year the voting was a bit different in that everyone was required to use a Google account in order to vote. That may have turned some people off of voting but not enough to skew a healthy tabulation. And the winners in each geographic country are all in that actual geographic country. 

Geographically, the categories were: Ireland, England/Scotland/Wales, Australia/New Zealandthe USA and Canada. Un-linked to a specific geographic region were the Internationals and the Genetic Genealogists. 

A clean sweep across three separate categories (USA, Genetic, International) was none other than Judy G. Russell. Not surprising for anyone in the genea-sphere. Judy's schedule is nothing short of manic. She's in high demand, very unassuming in her star status and incredibly gracious in so many aspects of genealogy. In spite of being busier than the Energizer Bunny, Judy is always more than willing to stop and help. When we don't understand something - Judy will take the time to explain it and explain it in a way that allows us to understand better, and not feel like we are either in her way or being patronized. Judy gets the importance of working with colleagues in the community and is helpful whenever she can be. Thank you, Judy. You are a Superstar!

Bronze and Silver in the three categories Judy rocked are also superstars. Silver was awarded to CeCe Moore and Bronze was awarded to Blaine Bettinger. Both are as renowned in the genealogy and genetic genealogy world as Judy is. Both are gracious. Both are more than willing to help others with genealogy conundrums or to understand the more complex parts of genealogy. Congratulations CeCe and Blaine! Thank you for lighting the way for others. 

The three superstars who have swept the three categories remind me very much of the athletes that make sure the last fan standing gets an autograph, even if it delays the athlete's schedule. Sportsmanship in genealogy. 

Here is the rest of the line up:


Bronze was awarded to John Grenham and Silver was awarded to Claire Santry. What incredible "runners up" Knowledgeable, eager to share their knowledge and again, so unassuming about their star status within the genealogy world. Congratulations to you both!

Gold was awarded to none other than Maurice Gleeson. I had the pleasure of watching Maurice in action this past weekend at a conference. Like any superstar, he was never without people around him, seeking help. Registrants and colleagues alike. He was never too busy to stop and assist. Maurice genuinely was interested in the questions, the conundrums, the brickwalls. Perhaps the nicest part of Maurice is how quick he is to talk about the wonderful work of his colleagues. A true gentleman as well as a true Superstar. Congratulations, Maurice!


This group is an interesting one to me. First and foremost, they feel awkward about the awards. While they truly, truly appreciate the honour that others have bestowed on them by voting, they don't work hard to promote the awards. They don't like to be seen as competing against their colleagues. And while I have explained that they can vote for all of the colleagues on the ballot, they worry about those not nominated and don't want to take anything away from the work those colleagues have contributed to the genealogy world. 

Bronze for England/Wales/Scotland was awarded to Debbie Kennett. I don't know Debbie as well as I would like to but I do know that she has tremendous respect from her colleagues. That is always golden. Congratulations, Debbie!

Silver was awarded to Chris Paton. Another Superstar. Chris is always available to others for help, to answer questions, to share ideas and knowledge. Chris, too, will wait until the last person standing has had their questions answered. He has worked to bring the Scottish genealogy community together to share their expertise, to learn together and to support one another. You will always be golden in my books, Chris. Well done!

Gold for England/Wales/Scotland was awarded once again to Kirsty Gray. Congratulations, Kirsty!

Australia/New Zealand:

This produced a tie for Bronze! Bronze was awarded to both Helen V Smith of Australia and to Michelle Patient of New Zealand. Both women are well connected in the genealogy world. Unfortunately I don't know Michelle well. However I have been following Helen's recent travel to FGS, which seemed to take her most of the way across the world! Helen is part of the Unlock the Past team for both writing and genealogy cruises. I have been fortunate enough to currently be in a position of learning from Helen as she is authoring some articles for a newsletter I edit. Congratulations to you both, Ladies! 

Silver was awarded to Shauna Hicks. Currently, Shauna is a fellow writer for the In-Depth Genealogist but Shauna and I have been connected for a number of years on Google + Like Judy Russell in the US, Shauna always seems to be on the go and busy giving talks, writing books and articles and sailing the seas (making most of us incredibly envious). Congratulations, Shauna!

And Aussie's Golden Girl is none other than Aussie Granny, Jill Ball. Jill will be surprised by the honour of taking gold, but she is so deserving. Jill and I have been connected on Google + since the days when we, along with Shauna and Lorine Schulze, were part of the beta testing. Jill is a wealth of knowledge and more than happy to share her knowledge in order that others may also shine. Congratulations, Jill! You really are deserving. 

That brings us to the Canadian contingent. The ladies certainly shone this year in the Canadian Genealogy world. I took Bronze. I am honoured and thrilled to be sharing the podium with the silver and gold stars. 

The Silver star was awarded to Lorine McGinnis Schulze. Best known to most as the face behind Olivetree Genealogy. Lorine is a teacher by heart and has worked for years to provide free genealogy resources to others who are researching their family histories. My favourite posts of Lorine's are the ones where she lets her inner teacher shine. The ones where she walks us through, step-by-step, new record releases or new databases. This past year, Lorine provided a platform for teaching, mentoring and supporting new and fellow genealogy bloggers. Congratulations, Lorine! Well deserved. 

And Canada's Golden Girl is our very own Gail Dever. Gail is best known for her prolific blogging where she shares the genealogy (and historic) news of the day. Gail has also jumped into the sphere of genealogy speakers, her expertise being social media. I look forward to seeing more of what Gail is up to this coming year as demand for her speaking can only increase with this latest honour. Congratulations, Gail. Keep shining!

And perhaps the greatest star of all is John Reid. John, thank you for allowing the best of the genealogy world to be acknowledged. Thank you for providing a way for program chairs and committees to know who to contact in order to make their events a success. Thank you for providing a way for newsletter editors know who to contact for an article for their societies. John, for all of the work you put into the Rock Star awards, the nominations, the voting, the tabulating and the posting, you are our platinum award winner!


  1. Wonderful article Christine! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and expertise.

  2. Congratulations on your award Christine, you are in great company. It was beaut to finally meet you in person at Rootstech 2016. Thanks for your kind words and for this excellent article.