General Meeting and Lecture: October 4, 2012

1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Santa Cruz Public Library, Central Location
(2nd floor meeting room)
224 Church Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060


Speaker: Michel Nellis

Lecture Topic:
WWII Fallen Aviators: Bringing a Memorial to Life

A native Californian, Michel Nellis has a love for local and family history. She earned a BA degree in history from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a MA degree in public historical studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is a long-time member of the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society serving as chair of the Budget & Finance Committee, the 2012 Seminar Chair, and as a volunteer librarian. Because of her dedication to WWII, Michel is now on the Board of Directors of the distinguished Pierre Claeyssens Veterans’ Museum and Library. Genealogy has taken Michel on many adventures from Kentucky, Virginia, and Missouri to Ireland, Germany, and the Canadian heartland.

Her most recent endeavor chronicles the lives of forty-nine World War II aviators whose names appear on a memorial dedicated to them at the Santa Barbara Airport. She will describe how the project grew out of simple curiosity about the fliers, what genealogical and historical resources she used to flesh out their stories, and how collaboration with another researcher immortalized the sacrifices these aviators made with the publication of their stories in With Their Eyes Turned Skyward: Santa Barbara’s Fallen Aviators of World War II.