Richard Konkel

—  October 2015  —

South Central normally gives a Henry J. Young award every other year in the odd numbered years to a person in recognition of their contributions to promotion of genealogy, local history, the York County Heritage Trust and the Society. Earlier this year when the time came for a nominee to be choosen, the President reported that he hadn't received any nominations. The Board cancelled plans for an award ceremony that would have been held in June of this year. I've (Margaret Burg) had a nominee in mind for some time, so I proposed to the Board that we surprise that person at the Society's 40th anniversary celebration. The Board supported the idea, luckily that person missed the Board meeting and the surprise was safe.

I'm fairly confident in saying the person who will be given the award today is the youngest person to receive it. There have been twenty-three people who have received the award since it was established in 1991. 

Richard Konkel is the 24th recipient. Welcome to Richard's family and friends ... thank you for coming. I hope we surprised him.

Our honoree today started his quest into genealogy during his teenage years doing research with his grandmother, Olga Eveler, and continues researching several lines of his family. He has always embraced new happenings in the world of genealogy. He promotes DNA testing at each opportunity to anyone he talks with. He is very thorough with his research and documentation of the facts. He has his very large family tree on Ancestry, and is quick to contact someone who has the wrong information on their family tree and also to make corrections on Ancestry to records that have been abstracted incorrectly.

He travels often to archives, county offices, historical societies and genealogy societies to do research and obtain copies of the actual documents. Several of those places have increased their coffers significantly by the time he leaves with copies of documents. But even with the huge number of people in his tree, unlike most of us, he does not use a commercial genealogy program to organize his tree, yet it is very well organized and he has a personal acquaintance with every one of those people. A little known fact is that Richard has his own storage closet at the Family History Center at the local Mormon church to hold all the microfilm reels he has ordered for his European research.

Richard is South Central's own Wikipedia when it comes to history and knowledge of English and European history. But his facts are accurate. Richard is also an expert in translating old documents, whether in German, Latin or French and probably some other languages he hasn't told me about yet.

In York County, Richard doesn't meet too many people that he is not related to. For some he may have to go all the way back to Charlemagne to make the connection, but he usually finds it. He is very familiar with area surnames and can set budding genealogists on the right track to their ancestors almost every time.

Richard has served as president of South Central eleven times since joining the Society, the first time in 1995-96 and the latest in 2013-14, and he has served as vice-president ten times, which is the office he currently holds. As vice president he has the responsibility to organize the programs for each year. Several times he has presented the program himself, sharing his knowledge about many subjects. He's had to fill in a few times when a speaker was unable to make it. He has also made himself available to speak at genealogy conferences both for the Society and other organizations for several years. He truly gets the word out about genealogy.

Richard is currently an attorney at CGA Law Firm, and he has served on the Board of Directors of the York County Heritage Trust for several years. In addition to his church duties, he also gives cello lesson, and plays cello with the York Symphony Orchestra.

It is with great pleasure that on behalf of the South Central Pennsylvania Genealogical Society, I present the Henry James Young award to Richard Konkel.