National Genealogical Society Announces the 2017 Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship


ARLINGTON, VA, 9 MAY 2017— Larry W. Cates is the 2017 recipient of the Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship. Cates, who is librarian at the Heritage Research Center of the High Point Public Library, High Point, North Carolina, received his award and its $1,000 prize, which is underwritten by ProQuest, at the Librarians’ Day event of National Genealogical Society (NGS) 2017 Family History Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, also underwritten by ProQuest. The Filby Award is named for the late P. William Filby, former director of the Maryland Historical Society and author of many core genealogical reference tools that genealogists have relied on for decades. Created in 1999 by NGS, the award has been sponsored by ProQuest and Mr. William Forsyth since 2006.

Cates has been Librarian at the Heritage Research Center of the High Point Public Library since October 2007. During the course of his career, he has created innovative programs for family historians. In 2010, Cates co-founded the Heritage Book Club to introduce genealogists to the historical context in which their ancestors lived. He initiated a “Field Trip to Archives” program with the Guilford County Genealogical Society to mentor inexperienced researchers. He also has provided programs to local genealogical societies; served as journal editor for the Randolph County Genealogical Society and Guilford County Genealogical Society; and helped to promote their activities through his library’s mailing list and at genealogy fairs at his library.

Cates is equally dedicated to the preservation and cataloging of historical records. He has worked single-handedly to process and incorporate various private collections of papers into his library’s local history files. Cates also volunteered to create thorough scope and content descriptions for a sizeable body of manuscript and other textual materials housed at the High Point Museum. He is currently working to document High Point’s participation in the Great War, including a more complete roster of local participants, with African Americans who were omitted from High Point’s World War I monument. Over the years, Cates has published a wide variety of abstracts, transcriptions, and feature articles in various local and state-level genealogical publications.

From 2012- 2015, Cates served the North Carolina Genealogical Society as a director and editor of NCGS News, and North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Digital Library on American Slavery and serves as Clan Genealogist for the Clan MacRae Society of North America.

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogical education, exemplary standards of research, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, and guidance in research. It also offers many opportunities to interact with other genealogists.