Tuesday, May 24, 2011

ISGS Notes the Passing of Elizabeth Pearson White

The Illinois State Genealogical Society notes the passing of long-time ISGS Board member Elizabeth White, and offers its condolences to her family and many friends in the genealogy community. Betty helped found ISGS in 1968 and served as vice-President in 1976 and Associate Editor of the Quarterly Journal from 1977-1981.

Elizabeth P. White, FASG, FNGS, CG, died on January 3, 2011, aged 96 years, 8 months and 3 days in Wilmette, Illinois. Betty was a certified genealogist (certified in 1971), lecturer, and a published author in journals about Illinois and New England family history and books of documented genealogy. She was Chairman of the Howland Five Generations Project, John Howland the Mayflower passenger whose family became largest form those who landed at Plymouth in 1620. Betty was a life member of the Illinois Society of the Mayflower, Descendants (William Brewster and Stephen Hopkins) and honorary member of the John Howland Society. Betty was also recognized as a Fellow of the American Genealogical Society (selected in 1976 as their 86th member) and a Fellow of the National Genealogical Society granted in 1986 for contributions to genealogy in many different ways.

White was awarded the annual Lowell Volkel Medal of Honor by the Illinois State Genealogical Society in 1996. The late Dr. Volkel was for many years head archivist for the State of Illinois and the founding president of the Illinois State Genealogical Society at Springfield.

Here are some interesting highlights on the life and work of Elizabeth Pearson White (from Memorial Tribute – Elizabeth P. White FASG, FNGS, CG , The Mayflower Quarterly, Plymouth, MA, General Society of Mayflower Descendants March 2011, written by her son, Ronald White.):
  • “At Springfield, in the Illinois State Archives, she discovered that many letters in the Benjamin Godfrey collection had lost their signature. Who had written to our ancestor? She brought this problem to the senior archivist Lowell M. Volkel, and simultaneously they understood that the author was Abraham Lincoln.” (p. 25-26)
  • “Betty White was involved in creating the Chicago Genealogical Society (1967) and the Illinois State Genealogical Society (1968), serving as vice-President in 1976 and Associate Editor of the Quarterly Journal from 1977-1981.” (p. 26)
  • “For the Illinois State Genealogical Society at Springfield my mother arranged for the esteemed Milton Rubincam FASG to be the featured speaker about genealogical research. Arriving at the hotel she discovered her name and her topic posted on the hotel’s marquee. My mother felt embarrassed, thinking that publicity should have favored the renowned elder of the American Society of Genealogists. Good that Milton was a true gentleman and the audience offered their enthusiastic applause.” (p. 27-28)
For more information on Elizabeth Pearson White, please see the extensive obituary complete with photographs at http://obits.dignitymemorial.com/dignity-memorial/obituary.aspx?n=Elizabeth-White&lc=2444&pid=147613854&mid=4502231. You can also leave your message for Betty’s family using the online Guest Book.

© 2011, copyright Illinois State Genealogical Society

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