Beginning in 1986, the National Genealogy Hall of Fame program, administered by the National Genealogical Society, has honored outstanding genealogists whose achievements in the field of American genealogy have had a great impact on our field. Qualified nominations are solicited annually from genealogical organizations. Those nominated must have been deceased for at least five years and have been actively engaged in genealogy for a minimum of ten years. Their contributions to the field of genealogy in this country need to have been significant in a way that was unique, pioneering, or exemplary. Such contributions could have been as an author of books or articles that added significantly to the body of published works, served as a model of genealogical research or writing, or made source records more readily available. Nominees could also have been a teacher or lecturer, or contributed to the field through leadership in a genealogical organization or periodical. Entries are judged by a panel of genealogists from various parts of the United States.
This year, Peter Stebbins Craig, whose nomination was made by the American Society of Genealogists and the Swedish Colonial Society, was elected to the National Genealogy Hall of Fame.
Peter Stebbins Craig, a devoted historian and relentless genealogist, specialized in publishing genealogies of the first European settlers of southeastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. This settlement, better known as New Sweden, began in 1638 along both sides of the Delaware River. Craig was born in Brooklyn, New York, on 30 September 1928 and died in Washington, D.C., on 26 November 2009. His pioneering research and significant publications on the early Swedish settlers in the Delaware Valley earned him fellowships from both the American Society of Genealogists and the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania in 1991. In recognition of his contributions to Swedish history, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden bestowed on him the title of Knight First Class of the Royal Order of the Polar Star in 2002. He was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 by the Swedish Colonial Society in Philadelphia.
He was the founder of the journal Swedish Colonial News, published by the Swedish Colonial Society. There he published dozens of his articles on Swedish and Finnish families in southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He served as both historian and genealogist for the Society. He also chaired the publication committee that initiated the Gloria Dei Church records series titled Colonial Records of the Swedish Churches in Pennsylvania. Now in six volumes, this indispensable reference work details the church records for the years 1646-1768. He left his extensive research collection including books and monographs to the Society. They are adding his research, “The Craig Collection,” to the Society’s website.
Peter Craig received his BA from Oberlin College in 1950 and his law degree from Yale Law School in 1953. Prior to his career in genealogy, he was a lawyer specializing in railway law in various private and government positions. He served on the boards of the Swedish Colonial Society and the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania and often lectured on the “Antient Swedes.”
This year’s nomination was submitted by the American Society of Genealogists with supporting recognition by the Swedish Colonial Society and the editor of the Swedish American Genealogist.