WSGS President Kathleen Sizer is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 and 2022 Outstanding Achievement Award:
- 2021 — Helen McGreer Lewis, Renton, 1923 – 2017
- 2022 — Jill Morelli, Seattle
Created in 2015, the President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement is designed to single out that rare individual, society or organization who has demonstrated exemplary service above and beyond expectations. The award is not given every year as it is based on merit and accomplishments, as you’ll see from reading about the recipients below.
Helen Lewis’s final years of service to genealogy and family history were not only unfailing but critical to the success of archives and genealogy groups in Washington state and beyond. She not only volunteered in her local societies including South King County Genealogical Society (SKCGS) and DAR, but also indexed public records for the Washington State Archives as a volunteer for over 25 years. Her work lives on through the Washington State Digital Archives.
She authored a number of books for which she gained no income; she assigned the proceeds to the South King County Genealogical Society. In her DAR work, she helped countless others as they worked to solidify their connection to American Patriots. She also served as liaison between the SKCGS and the DAR.
Jill is a self-described member of the “Roots” generation of genealogists. From that spark, Jill has grown into a veritable wildfire of action within the genealogical community at many levels. She is a writer, lecturer and researcher specializing in U.S. Midwestern, Scandinavian and northern German genealogy.
Jill was president (2012 – 2015), then publications director (2017 – 2020) of the Seattle Genealogical Society (SGS). She continues to provide her insights and energy to SGS as past president and co-chair of the SGS 100th anniversary committee.
Jill is also program director for the local chapter of the Association for Professional Genealogists. On the wider stage of national and international genealogy, Jill lectures nationally and has been successfully published in many journals, including the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and the Swedish American Genealogist.
In 2017, Jill founded the highly successful online Certification Discussion Group (CDG) which draws students from all over the globe. She is also a founding partner of the Applied Genealogy Institute, providing online practicum-based education for advanced genealogists.