Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Thanks, Kenny

Some of the roles of HCGS President

I am a relative "newbie."  I first became interested in the Hamilton County Genealogical Society when I found out about their lineage societies and thought I might have ancestors who qualified.  That's when I first met Kenny.  Over the next few years, I was able to establish that my family qualified for the First Families designation and, of course, for the new Century Families group.

Because of Kenny, I got to meet other Board members and realized what a resource they were.  Got German?  Talk to Kenny and John Tholking.  Irish?  Talk to Mary Ann Falloon. Land records? Tap into Liz Stratton's expertise. I started attending Board meetings. You have no idea how great it is to be with people who have such incredible knowledge of the records of Hamilton County and beyond and who enthusiastically want to share what they know.

But back to Kenny.  He is a "character" to say the least.  If you don't believe it, ask him about his son, The Naked Cowboy. Volunteer to serve on the Board as Recording Secretary and allow your minutes to be "critiqued."  Show up to a member meeting on crutches. Try to submit more ancestors for Century Families than Kenny.  (Final score: Kenny 12, Kathy 11) He can be quite competitive.

Kenny accepts his Century Families Recognition for 12 family members

So as a relative "newbie," I felt that we needed to acknowledge the numerous contributions Kenny has made over the 30+ years he has served our organization and many others.  The problem is that I had no idea what all he had done.  Kenny graciously agreed to send me some of his resumes, so I could have some basis to discuss all that he has done. In the end, what was really valuable to me, was a brief summary of the activities that Jeff Herbert, our new Chapter President, was able to send to me.

-          Many years of service on the Board including multiple terms as President and Vice-President
-          Numerous research publications for the benefit of the chapter
-          Numerous articles and research extractions in the Tracer
-          Leadership positions and service for OGS, FGS, NGS, and Palatinate Societies
-          Host of two national conventions here in Cincinnati (FGS in 1998 & NGS in 2012)
-          Teaching of numerous classes on German research
-          Avid supporter of German Interest Group for the chapter and related programs and activities in the    community

We could write a book fleshing out all of Kenny's contributions, but luckily for me, it wouldn't be conducive to being posted on a blog. So let me just end by saying that we appreciate you. We also know that you are not going anywhere. You are co-chairing the OGS Conference to be held in Cincinnati next spring. You are currently organizing a Chapter Management Seminar for OGS and will continue serving on the Board as Past-President.  

Since we all know that Kenny is "responsible" for moving the Chapter into the 21st Century with new technologies including this blog, facebook and twitter, I'm sure he would love to read your comments below. Consider leaving one. And Kenny, we are all grateful.

Submitted by: 
Kathy Reed


  1. I joined the board when I learned of the need for a membership director. One question to Kenny and he was explaining the benefits of the group, how much I would love serving on the board, and how I would enjoy the position. He was right. What a great leader, cheerleader, and hard worker. Now if he just had a little bit of Irish in him!! Thanks Kenny for all your dedication. Eileen

  2. Yes, thank you Kenny for all your contributions to our society and to genealogy! I appreciate all your hard work for the society and for preserving and publishing records for Hamilton County, Ohio. Also, I have given you the unofficial title of "Ambassador to Genealogy". Your badge is forthcoming. ;) For years, whenever I ran into you at the library, you would encourage me and my friends to come to seminars, conferences, etc. Thank you for your enthusiasm and tenacity.

  3. As a long-time board member, I have enjoyed working with Kenny on many projects. He is enthusiastic, charismatic and hardworking which keeps everyone else motivated. He is still an active member of the board and German Interest Group and I hope will continue for many years. He could only be better if he were IRISH.
    Barbara Wegley

  4. From Ann Hambrecht:

    Kenny has been an awesome influence on the Hamilton Co. Genealogical Society. His friendliness and sense of humor mixed with knowledge of genealogy and organization has made it such a pleasure for me to be a part of this board. He always encourages us to get involved and is so appreciative of what we have done. He is "golden". I feel so fortunate to have him as a friend.

  5. Kenny, I would also like to add my thank you's for all the encouragement you have given me over the years. I don't have any ancestors in Hamilton County, but I wanted to become a member of the group because the chapter is so active. A lot of that is attributable directly to Kenny. I have learned so much from all of the members, and especially Kenny. Kenny, you are always generous with your time and really keep things going. Just an added note . . . with all the blarney that comes from Kenny, I believe he MUST have some IRISH somewhere in his background! Thanks Kenny - Mary Ann

  6. Kenny Burck, you were the best Pres ever (don't tell Jeff). Best Father ever. Best modivater ever. Best guy to ask random question to and you would have the info/map/book right there. Best partier ever "Wanna see my great-grandfathers headstone? It's right over here!" Best conversation starter "Wanna see my new bed and step stool?" Best supposed non-Irishman ever, but I'm pretty dang sure you were spotted at Molly Malone's after an infectious meeting there and the fare was quite tasty and you went back for more. I know you have it in you. I'll see you around, so it's not goodbye, my friend. the best Editor ever-Deb! See you both soon-probably Waldenschmidt? I hated leaving the society, but I appreciate the supoort you gave me when I left the board. Thanks! Carrie

  7. Kenny, thanks for all your dedication, leadership, support ... and of course humor, over the many years that I have known you. Your activity and energy have kept the Hamilton County chapter one of the best in Ohio and in the entire country.
    I know that stepping into the role of chapter president, these are big shoes to fill ... I've already bought a couple of pairs of Dr. Scholl's inserts to help. Thanks again for making Hamilton County, Ohio a great place to do family history research! Jeff Herbert

  8. Kenny,
    What can I add to the many accolades already presented here! Thank you for your leadership and support of the organization over the years and continuing into the future. Your enthusiasm and playfulness are infectious and inspiring. You have managed to bring our disparate group (Irish, Germans, Techies, etc.) together to serve Hamilton County genealogists.

    For those of you who have not had the pleasure, I highly recommend going on a research trip with Kenny. Forget trying to stay on a diet – Kenny always knows the best places to eat! (Schmidt’s cream puffs are to die for!) But, don’t expect long lunch breaks during library opening hours. From Allen County Public Library to the OGS Library to the Family History Library, laughs were plentiful and work productive. Kenny made my first trip to the Family History Library even more special by sharing my wide-eyed wonder even though he had been there many times before. Thanks for the wonderful memories and encouragement!

  9. From Pat Van Skaik:

    Hi Kenny,
    I'll never live down Theo thinking you were my boss at the Library. Kidding aside, your contributions to the Library through your active role in the genealogy community have been huge. Your observations and suggestions are spot-on. Thank you for your many years of service. Genealogy researchers at the Library will appreciate your contributions for years to come.


  10. In addition to all that’s been said about how much Kenny has contributed to Hamilton County genealogists, he helps total strangers with their genealogy addiction. For example, on the Monday after the NGS conference, when anyone might expect he’d be taking a breather after chairing a conference with 2,200 people, he spent the morning driving around two women from out of state who wanted to see their ancestors’ tombstones. He does big-hearted things like that a lot, and it’s one of the many things that make him special.

    Of course I have a huge bias. Kenny has been my constant genealogy companion and travel buddy for nearly 13 years, and he’s the love of my life. We even found out our ancestors knew each other in Maryland in the late 1600s! Thanks, Kenny, for all the wonderful experiences we’ve had, and for many more to come.

  11. Kenny, I came to one board meeting as a guest and my life hasn't been the same since. You helped get Settlers and Builders established and then did the same with Century Families.(The brownies were always great too.) I learned to read a little old German, made a trip to Salt Lake City and learned a lot about genealogy since I became involved with HCOGS. Your help and support is greatly appreciated. Thanks.Gail

  12. Kenny is one of my Hamilton County Heroes (along with Jeff Herbert). Because they published so many great books, and James Jeffrey at Denver Public Library bought them, I've been able to research many of my Cincinnati ancestors remotely.

    In May I was fortunate to attend the NGS Conference in Cincinnati and introduced myself to Kenny. He was warm and welcoming. On Saturday, I ran into him again and thanked him for his role in a great conference. When he found out I was staying over for a few days to do some research, he gave me his cell number -- just in case I needed any help. What a guy!

  13. Congratulations, Kenny! This recognition is well-deserved! We members appreciate you, even those of us who participate remotely. Your leadership has been invaluable!

    K. Pitman

  14. Kenny is the best host it welcoming you into our chapter, at a meeting, conference or just to his home for a committee meeting (baker of the best-ever brownies!) He is the most knowledgable man, and always willing to help you know more. Our chapter has been blessed and will continue to be. Love'ya, Kenny.

    Karen Klaene

  15. Congratulations, Kenny! If you lived in Carmel, we would most likely honor you with a statue for your dedication and varied contributions. You should have been a minister because, like many biblical folk, you are a fisherman of souls. Around 1998, I decided to request membership into First Families. I came to the banquet knowing only Karen Everett. You made me feel accepted and part of the group. What a nice man, I thought. (I took the bait) Then you looked at me and said that I would be a good editor and that I should become the editor of the Gazette. Wow! This man looked into my soul and saw an editor there. I dealt in pictures, not words...yet he saw this in me. And like that, he hooked me, reeled me in and only when I started work on my first Gazette did the spell come off and I asked myself what the hell I was doing. I didn't know the first thing about editing anything. I knew then, I drank the Kool-aide… Kenny's Kool-aide!
    Shortly thereafter, FGS decided to come to town and somehow I ended up on THE Committee. I loved the meetings at Jean's place. I loved getting to know all of the Hamilton County Board Members and I got to really see Kenny in action. He was smart, organized, had a sense of humor, knew how to keep a zillion hormonal women in line without us feeling too managed...give me another glass of that Kenny Kool-aide!
    I didn't like long messages on my answering machine, so I limited messages to one minute. I would come home and find FIVE messages. Oh my gosh, something must be horribly wrong! Nope, Kenny couldn't leave a one minute message and he would just keep calling back until he was finished with what he wanted to say.
    Over the decades, I have watched Kenny and his unhesitating friendliness, his elastic badge that he has unfurled at me hundreds of times, those many pins and ribbons he wears for decoration, his inclusiveness of everyone from Hamilton County or everyone from Ohio and his passion for genealogy and he is my hero. He has taught me many things by his leadership and modeling of behavior. Some say that I am now becoming the female Kenny by wearing all of my pins. I didn't realize it, but maybe I am emulating one for whom I have great respect.
    To me, Kenny Burck is the glue that has held the Hamilton County Genealogical Society together all of these years. Without him, I'm not sure what the group would look like and that's not to say that there aren't a lot of wonderful people who have made the Society what it is. I have my skill sets, but Kenny was always there recruiting new people, listening, motivating and leading. He may be taking on a new role, but I suspect he will still be doing all of those things. Here's to you Kenny, Pip Pip Hurray!

    Jennifer Hershberger


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