R.I.P. John T. Humphrey, CG

It is with a heavy heart that we report the recent death from a stroke of John T. Humphrey, CG, who had presented his German Research course at GRIP just three weeks ago. He was 64. You may have read about this from other news sources as John was a well-respected expert in German research and early Pennsylvania. His Baptismal index books for over 10 counties in eastern Pennsylvania are staples of Pennsylvania German genealogy research before 1800. He also wrote Understanding and Using Baptismal Records; Pennsylvania Research: County and Township Records; and other books.

John’s official obituary is at http://obits.lehighvalleylive.com/obituaries/etpa/obituary.aspx?pid=159186783 where you can leave a comment or read others’ memories. John had worked for the National Genealogical Society and you can see their blog story about him at http://upfront.ngsgenealogy.org/. For an excellent tribute to John, please see Judy Russell’s blog, The Legal Genealogist, http://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog/2012/08/15/rip-john-t-humphrey-cg/

John’s death leaves a hole in the genealogy world. He was looking forward to coming back to teach at GRIP. His 33 lucky students this year reveled in his knowledge, humor, and helpfulness. Other students told me of having breakfast or lunch with him and how he was willing to share his expertise with everyone.

Not only has Elissa lost a colleague but a 7th cousin as well. “They say” that chances are that in a room of 40 people two will be related. This became true when Elissa saw one of John’s lectures almost 20 years ago and found her eastern Pennsylvania Stecher line on the screen. It was John’s paternal lineage as well. Later they realized that they were related on another line on his mother’s side, making them double 7th cousins. They called each other “cuz” and joked about who was going to “finish” the family research.

Life is indeed too short.

If you have a GRIP memory of John, feel free to post it here.

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2 Responses to R.I.P. John T. Humphrey, CG

  1. Carolyn Smith says:

    I, too, enjoyed his course and developed a much greater understanding of German research which he delivered based on his years of expertise, tempered with humor! I am now using the syllabus and my notes with his hints (a “u” will always have an umlaut) to continue to “decode” the Gothic script and uncover new information about ancestors as I revisit my records. I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity! John will live on in the knowledge he imparted to his students in his role as a teacher.

  2. Mary Beth Adams says:

    His death is a great loss. He was an incredible speaker. He was not only knowledgeable, but entertaining as well. I am so grateful that I was a member.

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