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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.

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

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