2014 Harriette Merrifield Forbes Award Presented to

Margaret “Peggy” Jenks

For distinguished service in the field of gravestone studies

June 21, 2014

Harriette Merrifield Forbes Award

The Forbes Award is the highest honor bestowed by the Association For Gravestone Studies and presented by the AGS Board of Trustees to honor an individual, institution, or organization in recognition of exceptional service and outstanding work in the field of gravestone studies. The award is named for Harriette Merrifield Forbes of Worcester, Massachusetts, who photographed gravestones and studied their carvers in the early 1900s. In 1927 she published a book titled Gravestones of Early New England and the Men Who Made Them, which was the first serious study of gravestones in the twentieth century.

Margaret “Peggy” Jenks

Anyone who has researched their ancestors in Rutland County, Vermont knows the name Margaret “Peggy” Jenks. Peggy has catalogued every person on every gravestone in the 200+ cemeteries in the 27 towns of the county, and published these indexed listings in a series of 16 books. Peggy is also an accomplished genealogist, having researched and published books on early families in New England and New York.

Peggy joined both the Genealogy Society of Vermont (GSV) and the Vermont Old Cemetery Association (VOCA) about 1976. She chaired the Seattle Genealogical Society's Computer Interest Group from 1982-1986, and was editor of the Newsletter of the GSV from 1996-2005. Peggy made many contributions to VOCA’s book, Burial Grounds of Vermont, and helped with the field work for VOCA’s other publication, “Stones and Bones.”

In 1982 Peggy joined the Association for Gravestone Studies and became interested in their project to identify gravestone carvers. During her membership, she served six years as a trustee of the Association and chaired the 2003 AGS Conference at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont.

Recently, Peggy is in the process of compiling all the carver records she has accumulated over the past 30 years. The marble industry in the Eastern part of the county and the slate industry on the Vermont - New York border, drew an endless supply of carvers and marble and slate dealers.

Peggy is an advocate for cemetery preservation and urges people to get out and copy the stones in their local cemeteries before they become illegible or fall face down.


Association for Gravestone Studies
Peggy Jenks web site