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Founder & Current Leadership

Gerhard NaesethProfessor GERHARD B. NAESETH

The core of the Genealogical Center research collection was assembled by Gerhard B. Naeseth (1913-1994), who was internationally renowned in the field of Norwegian and Norwegian-American genealogy and immigration.

A former University of Wisconsin professor, Naeseth served as associate director for the libraries of the University of Wisconsin from 1948-1978. During his tenure at the University of Wisconsin, he helped build one of the largest collections of Norwegian local & genealogical history in the United States.

Following his retirement, he administered the Genealogical Center, beginning in his home and later in the present quarters. In 1990, the genealogical research library was named in his honor. In 1993, he completed and published volume one of his massive research, “Norwegian Immigrants to the United States: A Biographical Guide, 1825-1850.”

In 2001, the Genealogical Center established the Gerhard B. Naeseth Chair for Genealogical Research and Publication as a tribute to his lifetime accomplishments in the field of Norwegian and Norwegian-American genealogy.

Lowell Olberg and Paul Larson (past Board Chairmen) with 2020 Chairman of the Board of Directors John W. Thompson

2020 Board of Directors Officers (L-R): Gary Smithback (Vice Chairman), John W. Thompson (Chairman), Paul M. Berge (Treasurer) and Ken Larson (Secretary)

Board of Directors

John W. Thompson
Madison, Wisconsin
Ann Leon
Madison, Wisconsin
Gary Smithback
Vice Chairman
Stoughton, Wisconsin
Marg Listug
Stoughton, Wisconsin
Paul M. Berge
Middleton, Wisconsin
Christine Milligan-Ciha
Stoughton, Wisconsin
Ken Larson
Batavia, Illinois
Peder Moren
Madison, Wisconsin
Robert M. Fossum
Chetek, Wisconsin
Ellen Smithback
Stoughton, Wisconsin
Craig Gjerde
Madison, Wisconsin
Paul Larson
Chairman Emeritus
Waunakee, Wisconsin
Scott R. Johnson
Madison, Wisconsin
Lowell Olberg
Chairman Emeritus
Wheaton, Illinois
Rolf Killingstad
Madison, Wisconsin

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By becoming a member, you not only gain benefits for your family history research, you also support a worthy cause.

Your annual membership helps you, your family, and a wide community discover their roots and preserve a treasured heritage.

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NAGC & NL relies upon donations of all types from its members and friends throughout the world.

All gifts, whether large or small, are essential to the work of the Center, an important non-profit organization of international scope that is dedicated to preserving Norwegian-American history and heritage.

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“I can't begin to tell you how much it meant that both Jerry and John took time from their busy schedule and work to help in the search for Knud (a family member I've been searching for since almost my beginnings in researching my own family!). What a gift to receive this information! Words don't express what's in my heart. Please tell Jerry and John what their research has meant to not only me, but my children and their children. Enclosed is the promised donation I want to give as a thank you for Jerry and John's exceptional work. Thank you!”

- Ardie (Minnesota)

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