A Genealogue News Flash [What's That?]An elderly man from rural New England has been awarded the 2005 Nobel Prize for Genealogy. Harley Millett received the news from Stockholm early Tuesday morning at his home in Anson, Maine.
"I tell you, I was surprised," Millett told The Genealogue. "Never even knew I was entered in a contest. Never knew there was a contest."
Millett is credited with advancing the study of genealogy through a practice that has become known as "Ancestor Hoarding," or "The Millett Method." It began when Millett became interested in his family's history, soon after his retirement in 1983.
"Problem was, my mother's people were all buried up to Aroostook County, and my father's folks are right here in town," Millett explained. "I figured I'd just as soon visit 'em all at once as one at a time."
Millett purchased a large piece of land in Anson to accommodate his relatives, drew a large family tree on the ground with orange spray paint, and started digging up, transporting, and reinterring the remains of his forebears, each in the appropriate spot.
"There's my folks over near the fence," Millett said, proudly pointing out the position of each grave. "My grandparents are next, then their folks. Makes it wicked easy to keep track of your lines, this way."
In all, Millett has collected 73 of his direct ancestors in this Maine field. At age 87, he is still looking for more. And he is hoping the Nobel Prize comes with a cash award.
"I've got a line on a great-great-great-grandmother down in Watertown, Mass. I sure could use a couple hundred bucks to rent a U-Haul."