Petty Award


Margaret Anne Petty suddenly passed away on January 10, 2008.  One of Margaret’s passions was the history of her family. Her father served in the US Navy aboard the USS Philadelphia during World War II. In addition to her own side of the family (Keller), Margaret’s passion for history was evident in trying to trace back the lineage of the Petty family. Her son Steve and daughter-in-law Megan also shared her passion for family history and helped to investigate the past.

To honor Margaret’s memory and her love of family history, my wife, Anne, and I give out a $100 award to a junior or senior high school student who does outstanding research on family or genealogical history at Illinois History Day in Springfield. The project can be in the form of a research paper, exhibit, documentary, or a web site.

Some of the past winners include projects on Doctor Dohner of Rushville, Illinois Centennial Farms, and the Mormon city of Nauvoo, Illinois.

If you know the names of the students who won the award in 2008 and 2011, please send me an email ( along with the title of the project or you can send my wife an email as well (

2008 – Dr. Dohner Paper


Anne Petty Johnson and the 2008 Winner From Astoria High School

2009 – Kristen Benton – Illinois Centennial Farms Past and Present

2010 – Katherine Eckert – Eckert Farms


Anne Petty Johnson and Katherine Eckert

2011 –

Anne Petty Johnson and the 2011 Winner

Anne Petty Johnson and the 2011 Winner

2012 – Heather Brooks – Peter Cartwright: A Disciple in Revolutionizing the Spread of Methodism


Heather Brooks and Dr. Johnson

2013 – Carly Ringer – A City Beautiful – A Turning Point of Mormon History

Carly Ringer

Carly Ringer and Dr. Johnson

2014 – Hannah Ketchum – The Reisch Brewing Company

Dr. Johnson and Hannah Ketchum

Dr. Johnson and Hannah Ketchum

Hannah's Exhibit on the Reisch Brewing Company

Hannah’s Exhibit on the Reisch Brewing Company

2015 – Katie Steimel – Making Pianos in DeKalb: How one factory influenced a city and industry

2016 – Jacob Hesselbacher, Austin Kutz, and Ryan Tracey – “Family Farming through the Generations”