It was an honor to meet Anthony Ray at the SCGS Jamboree and to introduce him at the Friday night banquet as the recipient of the 2011 Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant.
We were graciously seated at the head table with Jamboree co-chairs Paula Hinkel and Leo Meyers, and keynote speaker Tony Burroughs. During the evening, I had time to chat with Anthony and his mother, and also enjoyed hearing Anthony and Tony talk about their interest in family history.
Anthony has been actively pursuing his family history for over eight years, a long time in the life of a 20-year-old student. He first became interested in genealogy after the death of his great-grandfather in 2003 when the family gathering brought out photos and stories. Anthony discovered a photograph of his ancestor who was a musician, composer, and music teacher – the career path Anthony has chosen as a music major at West Coast Bible College in Lancaster.
In talking with him for only a short time, it quickly becomes obvious that he is a knowledgeable and competent researcher. With Hispanic, English, Scottish, German, and African American roots, Anthony has a wide field to cover. His particular interest is Catholic church records and he has been able to conduct research at diocesan repositories as well as church offices.
Anthony’s family is especially supportive of his genealogy work. As a home-schooled student, Anthony’s mother helped schedule time and arranged trips that included visits to distant research locations.
Anthony Ray heads the cemetery indexing project of the Antelope Valley Genealogical Society and is a volunteer researcher assisting with Hispanic research at the Palmdale Family History Center. He has attended four KinDig Conferences sponsored by the AVGS and was a recent speaker at the annual conference of the Old Spanish Trail Association.
Anthony was especially looking forward to attending presentations at Jamboree that would help him acquire to new research skills and learn about new resources.
The Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Fund was established in 2010 by family and friends of Suzanne Freeman to honor her lifetime of service and her interest in genealogy, and to assist young genealogists wishing to advance their genealogical education. Suzanne Freeman (my mother) and I attended the SCGS Jamboree together in past years and enjoyed meeting young genealogists and bloggers. We often talked about conference expenses and hoped to find assistance available to encourage student attendance. We are pleased that the 2011 Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Grant was able to help Anthony Ray attend the Jamboree. More information about the Grant and how to donate is available at http://www.thefamilycurator.com/suzanne-freeman-grant/
The SCGS Jamboree Committee is the first conference, to our knowledge, to offer a full conference registration to a student genealogist as part of a grant program. In addition to providing registration to the recipient of the Freeman Memorial Grant, the Jamboree Committee also supported establishing a student scholarship funded by raffle ticket sales for the beautiful Jamboree Quilt. This project was organized by Pat Richley-Erickson and Gena Philbert Ortega through the online Genea Quilters group to benefit the 2012 Jamboree Student Scholarship Fund.