Kris Rzepczynski “embodies the many aspects of an exemplary genealogical librarian and archivist,” said Mark Harvey, State Archivist of Michigan. That, along with more than two decades of tireless work, is why Rzepczynski was awarded the 2020 William P. Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship, sponsored by ProQuest.
Rzepczynski has been a genealogical expert long before genealogy became a popular worldwide hobby on the internet. He worked with the Abrams Foundation Historical Collection at the Library of Michigan starting in 1998, and then in 2012, he moved, along with the collection, to the Archives of Michigan in Lansing. He continued hosting the Abrams Family History Seminar and introduced researcher “lock-ins” the night before the seminar, drawing up to 50 researchers who could get one-on-one research attention from a team of family history archivists and librarians.
A popular speaker at national and regional family history conferences, Rzepczynski regularly writes articles on genealogy research tips and book reviews for the Trace, the magazine of the Archives of Michigan, and averages 30-40 presentations per year all over the U.S. His work and infectious enthusiasm for family history has helped many researchers clear logjams in their research and inspired them to help others.
Working tirelessly to promote archival collections and assist researchers, Rzepcyznski still finds time to preserve the collections for the future. Currently, he oversees the acquisition of many Michigan county records that will be housed at the Archives of Michigan. He works with FamilySearch on digitizing records in projects such as the Michigan Naturalization Project and the Michigan Probate Project.
Created in 1999 by NGS, the award is named for the late William P. Filby, former director of the Maryland Historical Society, and author of many core genealogical reference tools that genealogists have relied upon for decades. The award has been sponsored by ProQuest since 2006.