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Newsletter #112 Summer 2017

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Archibald F. Bennett

My first question after reading the Introduction to Allred Family in America was, "Who is or was Archibald F. Bennett?" I have been a member of the National Genealogical Society since 1993 and attend NGS conferences as often as I can. In 1994, Archibald F. Bennett was elected to the National Genealogy Hall of Fame, so details of his life and contributions to the field of genealogical research was widely publicized. I hope that by sharing what I have learned with inspire other researchers to take a closer look at what is available today that was not available in the early 1950s when Mr. Bennett's thesis, also called "Allred Family in America" was written. Using the "Introduction" as a place to start, many researchers have found new information.

Archibald F. Bennett was born 17 March 1896 and died 28 August 1965. He had a B. A. and M.A. from the University of Utah. In 1961, he was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists (FASG), recognizing the quality of his written contributions to the field of genealogy. He wrote many genealogical books, including the first genealogical textbooks, and was a much sought-after speaker. Mr. Bennett was the editor of the Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine for many years and was the head librarian of what was to become the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah for over 30 years.

Mr. Bennett was the seventh individual to be elected to the National Genealogy Hall of Fame and the first member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) to be given this honor. Among his accomplishments, he is credited with being largely responsible for the microfilming program began by the Church and starting the system of family history centers located throughout the world.

The thesis written by Mr. Bennett can be found as a "stand-alone" document at the Family History Library and was included as written as the Introduction to Allred Family in America, compiled by Dr. Rulon C. Allred. After the deaths of Mr. Bennett and Dr. Allred, some later family genealogists have made the statement on several occasions that Mr. Bennett's research didn't apply to the Allred family and notices pasted in the front on many of the books stating that "Allred was always Allred" and some statement that the thesis by Mr. Bennett was no longer accepted.

At this point in time, we don't know what Allred was before it was Allred. If we ever do find out, the proper procedure would be to have someone write a scholarly article and have it published in a reputable national genealogical magazine, such as The American Genealogist (TAG) or The National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ). Because these publications demand such high standards of evidence and proof, this is the only way to discredit a reputable, honored genealogist. Anything else should be viewed as another theory or someone's opinion. The notices should be removed from all copies of Allred Family in America.

From the Congressional Record, Proceedings and Debates of the 103rd Congress, Second Session, Archibald Fowler Bennett, was recognized on Monday, July 18, 1994, for the contributions he made to genealogical research. The Senate Tribute to Archibald Fowler Bennett was presented to the President of the Senate by Mr. [Orrin] Hatch. The page from the Congressional Record appeared in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volume 82, Number 4, December 1994, page 312.


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