Monday, June 15, 2009

CONGRATS: Honoring Our Ancestors Grants Program


Congratulations is long overdue for one of genealogy's most beloved professionals -- Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak. (Yes, that's her name!). Among many worthwhile pursuits is her Honoring Our Ancestors Grants Program that has been going strong for 9 (count 'em!) nine years.

"Nine years ago -- back in May 2000 -- I started the Honoring Our Ancestors Grants Program. It's a modest program run and funded by myself with the help of my good-natured husband, Brian. Folks take about five minutes to complete a brief form on my personal website and once a month, I print out all the latest applications. Brian and I then head to a coffee house along with new applications and all the others from the previous five months (they remain active for six months). Then we pick one and I write a check. That's the whole process. It's that simple. The only requirement is that they be for some sort of genealogically-oriented initiative."

When asked about the size of the grants, Megan replied:
"Re: the grants, they’re all over the place. I think the least I’ve given was about $150 and the most $1,000 – though I’ve given more in a single month (I’ve done multiple grants in a single month a couple of times to celebrate this or that). I can’t help the folks who ask for $100,000 so they can quit their jobs to travel and research their family (I get some entertaining applications!), but I can help lots of others. From the beginning, I decided that it was a water-on-a-stone kind of situation – that even if I gave smallish amounts, but did so consistently, they would eventually make a bit of a difference. That’s why it was so wonderful to get that streak of thank-yous. To have that happen everywhere from New Zealand to Alaska, and from grants ranging from 2001 to 2009 – just really cool."

Ol' Myrt here couldn't agree more -- this is REALLY COOL. Thanks Megan for the support you and your husband give to genealogy work throughout the world. This is a not-so-random act of genealogical kindness that is much appreciated. The ripple effect from each project cannot adequately be gauged. It goes beyond the recipient and the honored ancestor, and affects entire communities.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.


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