Richard E. Turley Jr., former Assistant Church Historian and Recorder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was selected as the 2017 winner of the Genealogy/History Achievement Award sponsored by ProQuest and administered by the History Section of RUSA.
Turley was selected for his numerous contributions in the field of historical and genealogical reference. Over a career of three decades working in specialized libraries, he has helped guide teams in the creation of important genealogical and historical reference products and systems that have been recognized internationally for their value.
Turley was the head of the Genealogical Society of Utah, now known as FamilySearch International, for several years. While there, he provided leadership in converting the microfilm collection into digital records and making them available online. This project was the first of its kind to utilize this technology and helped set the standard for the industry and other organizations. The society began by creating the site FamilySearch.org which launched in 1999.
While at the helm of the society, Turley also oversaw the launching of FamilySearch Indexing which has grown into one of the world’s largest crowdsourcing projects. Over 3 billion records have been indexed by approximately 875,000 volunteers.
FamilySearch International also runs libraries called Family History Centers. Under Turley, the number of libraries almost doubled to approximately 4,893 in 126 countries throughout the world. He also directed they be connected via a large computer network that allowed digital records to be streamed to patrons to allow access when they didn’t have computers or internet at home.
Along with his work at FamilySearch International, Richard Turley has published extensively on genealogical and historical topics. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in history for Massacre at Mountain Meadows An American Tragedy (Oxford University Press, 2008), a book he coauthored with Ronald W. Walker and Glen M. Leonard.
Formerly the Managing Director of the Family and Church History Department of The Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, then Assistant Church Historian, Turley now serves as the Church’s Managing Director of the Public Affairs Department.
Turley will receive $1,500 and a citation at the RUSA Achievement Awards Ceremony and Reception held from 5-6:30 p.m. Sunday, June 25 at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. All conference attendees are invited to the event. Additional event details will be available on the conference website in April.
The Genealogy/History Achievement Award selection committee includes: Jennifer Daugherty (Chair), Mary E. Bogan, Michael D. Kirley, and Michele C. McNabb.