You may or may not be familiar with what I've long called the Honoring Our Ancestors Genealogical Grants Program. In a nutshell, I make a donation to support one genealogical initative each month. I've been steadily doing this since I first became a professional genealogist and am delighted to announced a special pair of back to back milestones.
The May 2012 grant marked the 12th anniversary of this program and the June 2012 is the 150th grant (for those who are swift with math, I occasionally give more than one grant a month, which is why the numbering is running slightly ahead of the number of months). This seemed to call for a celebration of sorts, so I've decided to rename the program in honor of my remarkable mother. From this point on, it will be known as the Seton Shields Genealogical Grants Program.
Here's to the next dozen years! In the meantime, you might be interested to read about the most recent awards.
For the 12th anniversary grant, I decided to do something I've never done before. I sought out an unsung hero - someone who probably doesn't get enough recognition for what they contribute to the genealogical world - and I selected Tom Tryniski of FultonHistory.com. If you're not familiar with this website, I'll briefly explain that Tom single-handedly scans and uploads millions of pages of newspapers, much like some larger, commercial organizations. The site initially focused on Central New York, but has branched out to include newspapers in nearby areas ranging from the Pennsylvania border to Brooklyn. I have no idea how he does it, but he does and I'm grateful, so I took advantage of the PayPal donation option he provides on the website. If you have ancestors in that area, do yourself a favor and check it out. And by the way, it's one of the more amusing websites you'll encounter!
For the 150th grant, I opted to do something a little different. I was fortunate enough to start playing with genealogy way back in the 6th grade due to a homework assignment. Mrs. Berkowitz provided the spark for me to become a professional genealogist today. For that reason, I thought I would see whether I might be able to pass that spark along. I've long been a fan of DonorsChoose.com, an organization that allows you to browse and support school projects. Many know that education in our country is suffering and both students and teachers are affected. This is a great way to help make up for at least a little of the relentless deficits in our school budgets. So I did a little searching and picked five projects across the country that had some aspect of family, national or international history and culture associated with them. Just maybe a couple of the students will feel the pull of genealogy and contribute to our field and understanding of our history in the future.