2022 Volunteer of the Year

Our Volunteer of the Year has belonged to the Great Falls Genealogy Society for many years. A long-time resident of Great Falls this person retired from public service several years ago and continues to be involved in many community activities. She is a member of the GFGS Board.

When this person joined the Great Falls Genealogy Society, she soon began volunteering in our activities and projects. In recent years, she took on the responsibility for making, advertising, and selling our popular Journal Jars. Almost two years ago, she took on the MONSTER TASK of making an index for each District #1 School Census, 1896-2005. We have had these records for many years, but lacked a logical index to make them accessible.

You see, school censuses contain very useful information for historians and genealogists. They have been used as proof of birth, proof of residence, evidence for verifying an address in the case of money to be received from an estate, proof of mother’s name, father’s name, proof of guardianship, and proof of age.

While our Collection of Cascade County School Censuses have been scanned through 1955, and are available online at FamilySearch.org, there is no index for each year’s records. Each year’s entries are organized alphabetically (beginning about 1920) and consist of two separate reports (no table of contents to show this). Diana Kirol, our Volunteer of the Year, carefully examined each year’s book(s), noting the alpha listings for each group of students, and making a guide which is now available in both the particular year ledger, and also in a Master Guide to Great Falls District #1 Census Records. This now enables our librarians and our clients to easily find the information needed. Each year of the school census, required by Montana law, has two separate sections, and most were not organized for easy use. She has also evaluated each separate ledger and her Master Guide describes the condition of each, giving us the necessary information to get later records scanned because their computer-generated pages are rapidly fading.

Presently, Diana has continued her project so that the same type of Master Guide becomes available for each of the other 99 Cascade County rural districts for which we have records.

Diana Kirol is our Great Falls Genealogy Society Volunteer of the Year. CONGRATULATIONS, Diana!