April 25, 2022
Every year the Massachusetts Genealogical Council presents the Shirley M. Barnes Records Access Award to recognize people who emulate Shirley's volunteer spirit and whose dedication to records access has made a significant impact for genealogists. Shirley M. Barnes was committed to advocating for record preservation and access. Frequently donning an inviting smile, and a big orange "Save Massachusetts Records" button, she weekly rode the commuter rail from Concord to Boston to walk the statehouse, visiting with legislators. Her work brought about the 1983 Massachusetts vital records law which mandated the transfer of vital records to the state archives in five-year intervals. Shirley passed away on August 24, 2018, at the age of 95. Her efforts served to establish a model for other New England states to follow in protecting access to public records for research.
Stephen P. Morse, Ph.D.
Joel Weintraub, Ph.D.
David R. Kehs, Ph.D.
for their collaborative work
on One-Step Webpages, making
poorly indexed records, and
newly released census
accessible to all, for free.
Presented on April 25, 2022 by Susan O'Connor,
president of the Massachusetts Genealogical Council.
This award takes the form of a wooden book clock,
a duplicate of the award MGC gave to Shirley
when she retired from the Civil Records Director
job after 25 years of service.