Marie Wells, current chair of King’s Chapel’s Archives Committee and for many years a guide for Sunday visitors to King’s Chapel services, was recently honored by New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) for her dedicated leadership as NEHGS Database Services Volunteer Coordinator. Marie became a member of NEHGS in 2003 while living in Bakersfield, CA. In 2008 she emailed the founding genealogical organization in America offering “If there is a way I can contribute over the next few months, I'd feel privileged to join the ranks of NEHGS volunteers."
NEHGS soon discovered that Marie was very knowledgeable and became one of the top indexers of online data in the volunteer cadre. As a member of the NEHGS Web Team remarked later, "Her accuracy is above any of her peers and the number of mistakes so minimal as to be almost non-existent."
In 2008, Marie relocated to the Boston area and made frequent trips to the NEHGS Library, later enrolling in the first Boston University Genealogy Certificate program, spending many weeks in classes. Her considerable skills only got better. With her move to Cape Cod—the land of her ancestors—she continued her work long-distance, as a digital database services volunteer. In January 2012, tragedy struck the NEHGS Web Team with the sudden death of the staff Database Services Coordinator, Bob Dunkle. Bob had handled all the digital projects sent to 35 at-home volunteers, assigning, answering questions, and proofing the completed projects. With no hesitation, Marie stepped forward and offered to take over that staff position as a volunteer. Her reasons were documented in an email: "What is most important to me is to continue the work we are doing to get as much information online as possible and make the NEHGS website--AmericanAncestors.org--one of the most comprehensive for people searching for their own family history. No one will ever replace Bob, that's for sure. But I hope I can live up to his expectations for me. "
Five years later, as the NEHGS website expanded and more challenging projects were assigned to volunteers, the amount of time Marie devoted to her duties as Database Services Coordinator increased exponentially. By mid-2017, she was managing over 50 volunteers and donating 40 hours per week (a full time job) to the program.
In a tribute to Marie as she “retires” from leading the volunteer program, on November 15th she was honored by NEHGS for six years of superb program management and presented with a gift of a NEHGS Life Membership. As a member of a select community of the Society's most dedicated supporters, she will continue to play a key role in supporting the NEHGS mission to advance the study of family history in America and beyond.
(Pictured L-R are Helen Herzer, NEHGS Volunteer Coordinator, and Marie Wells, recently honored with a NEHGS Life Membership in appreciation for her superb contributions to NEHGS and to the fields of genealogy and family history as NEHGS Database Services Volunteer Coordinator.)