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Preserving a Legacy, Finding Peace: Jill Crandell Awarded Medal for Patriotism

August 30, 2023

Image of Bill Crandell, Jill Crandell, Katie Madsen, and Jay Buckley
Left to right, Bill Crandell, Jill Crandell, Katie Madsen, and Jay Buckley pose for a photo after Jill Crandell received the Ellen Hardin Walworth Medal.
Photo by Jay Buckley

Family history and prisoners of war are two concepts that would typically never be considered together. However, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) not only understand that there is a connection between these ideas, but that this overlap should be recognized. To that end, DAR have awarded Jill Crandell (BA '81, MA '10), director of the Center for Family History and Genealogy at BYU, with the Ellen Hardin Walworth Medal for Patriotism this year for her extraordinary patriotism and service to her country.

The Utah DAR State Regent, Katie Madsen, presented Crandell with the award at a banquet on April 28, 2023, at the Doubletree Hotel in Salt Lake City. The banquet was attended by members of DAR, keynote speaker Professor Jay Buckley of the BYU History department, as well as other distinguished guests.

"It was a total surprise to receive this award," says Crandell noting, "it's an acknowledgement to the project, I'm just the one who gets to run it." The Center for Family History and Genealogy has a long-standing tradition of excellence in family history research and scholarship, and this award is a testament to the important work being done by Crandell and her team, many of whom are students.

Crandell's team, working as part of a repatriation project, assists the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) on their endeavor to locate the remains of all unaccounted military personnel, and wherever possible, to bring them home. Crandell, research fellow Lenore Carrier, and many students have worked tirelessly on this project for several years, providing family historical research that can be used for DNA analysis to help identify the remains of fallen heroes. Their work has helped bring closure to families who have been waiting for answers for many years.

Receiving the Ellen Hardin Walworth Medal for Patriotism is a great honor, and Crandell and her team are proud of their contributions to this important project. Their work exemplifies the best of American patriotism and service. We congratulate them on this achievement and look forward to seeing the great work they will continue to do in the future.

Students who are interested in participating in this and other exciting research projects should start by taking Hist 205: Introduction to Family History Doctrine and Practice and Hist 217: The Family Historian's Craft. The first fulfills religious education requirements, and the second fulfills general education requirements. Both are open to students of all majors.

Discover more about the Center for Family History and Genealogy.