Lois and Norwood Barris

The second recipients of the Elial T. Foote Local History Award (2012) are Lois and Norwood Barris of Dunkirk. As founding members of the Chautauqua County Genealogical Society, the Barris' were instrumental in the publication of more than 50 books and CD's pertaining to Chautauqua County's history and genealogy, and served as newsletter editor for the society for many years. With Norwood's technological skills and Lois' tenacity, thousands of pages of local newspapers, census records, and tax rolls were indexed, cemeteries were mapped and gravestones were read, and many miscellaneous records were made available to researchers for the first time. Their efforts have aided researchers from around the world by providing access to information that was previously unavailable. Because of their cooperative spirit and volunteer efforts to make archival records accessible, the Chautauqua County Clerk was the first county government official to be recognized by the National Genealogical Society.

In 2015 the Dunkirk Historical Society named their research room "The Lois and Norwood Barris Research Library." Dunkirk's mayor A.J. Dolce presented Lois (Norwood passed away in 2011) with a citation noting their lifelong contributions to the Dunkirk community. Lois has given permission to the County Historian's office to post her digital files at this site.