2006 IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award
New York, NY

[reprinted from Nu? What's New?, August 27, 2006]

Stephen P. Morse Given Lifetime Achievement Award

Stephen P. Morse, creator of the One-Step Site, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies at the annual International Conference on Jewish Genealogy held in New York. IAJGS noted that the award is normally given to individuals who have served Jewish genealogy for numerous years, but Morse's mere five-year presence in Jewish genealogy has been so outstanding that they felt the award was appropriate.

Morse has developed at his site, http://www.stevemorse.org, more than 100 portals to other Internet sites that are superior to those offered by the host sites. He began his efforts in 2001 when the Ellis Island Database was made available online. Morse, with a strong computer background, developed a significantly more powerful portal to the database. The regular Ellis Island search engine at http://www.ellisisland.org often requires many steps to isolate specific individuals. The Morse portal accomplishes it in only one step. Hence, he referred to his site as the One-Step site.

After receiving overwhelming acceptance of his Ellis Island One-Step site, he branched into portals for other sites that contained immigration records, census, and vital records. He also developed a number of utilities such as those that transliterate Hebrew or Russian to the Latin alphabet and vice versa.

New York, August 17, 2006

I feel strange about accepting such an award because I haven’t lived a lifetime yet.

This all started five short years ago when the Ellis Island website first went on line and I tried to find my wife’s grandfather. I never could have imagined that my frustrations in finding that record would culminate in such an award.

When I first put up the One-Step site and started getting invited to speak before various groups, my wife would suggest that I wait until spring when the weather got warmer. I would reply that this was my 15 minutes of fame, and that by springtime they wouldn’t want me any more. I guess I was wrong about that.

The first person I’d like to thank is Gary Mokotoff for “discovering” me. Shortly before I developed my Ellis Island One-Step site, I signed up for an on-line newsletter with a catchy Yiddish title. In it I read that third-party tools were being developed for searching in the Ellis Island database. That was at 4PM. At 5PM I wrote to the editor and told him about my Ellis Island One-Step form. And at 6PM I received a supplement to the newsletter mentioning my site. From there the word spread, and the rest is history.

There are many people who have helped out with the One-Step site. For the Ellis Island work there’s Michael Tobias, Erik Steinmetz, and Yves Goulnik. For the Census work there’s Joel Weintraub and Dave Kehs. Joel in particular has done an incredible amount of work on the census pages over the years. Also there are the more than a hundred volunteers whom I can’t mention individually, but who have helped transcribe the data needed for various One-Step forms. And finally there’s my wife who has put up with my erratic working hours over these years.

To all of you I say thank you.

-- Steve Morse