Dana Kelly

Dana Kelly is the new executive director of the Norwegian American Genealogical Center & Naeseth Library in Madison.

The Board of Directors of the Norwegian American Genealogical Center & Naeseth Library in Madison has announced the selection of Deerfield native Dana Kelly as its executive director.

Kelly began the job in August. She replaces Jeanne and David Wright, who are retiring from their decade of part-time work for the administration and development of the center.

Kelly had three grandparents whose ancestors settled in the Koshkonong Prairie area of Wisconsin in the 1840s and 1850s. She traces her roots back to the Buskerud, Telemark, Hordaland, Oppland, Hedmark, and Sogn og Fjordane districts.

“Koshkonong was a well-known Norwegian settlement in its day,” Kelly says “Growing up in that area really gave me a Norwegian-American identity.”

Kelly graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001 with a double major in Scandinavian Studies and Sociology, and also earned a certificate in European Studies. She speaks and writes Norwegian and has traveled to Norway to visit the origins of her ancestors.

Kelly has been an active board member for the Koshkonong Prairie Historical Society as editor of its newsletter and author of the daily posts on its Facebook page. She and her spouse, Gary Swain, were instrumental in the creation of a documentary film on Koshkonong Prairie, helping with all aspects of the project including successful fundraising efforts.

“I am incredibly honored to be given the opportunity to serve NAGC & NL because the center was invaluable to me when I began delving into Norwegian records. I’m thrilled to finally be working where my heart has always been,” Kelly said.

The Norwegian American Genealogical Center & Naeseth Library is one of the country’s leading specialty genealogical research centers. It discovers, collects, preserves, shares, and interprets resources for the study of Norwegian genealogy. Its staff assists Norwegian Americans and Norwegians with their family history research by offering research guidance, classes, and translation services. It is an independent, educational, non-profit organization with national and international scope, and is open to the public.

More information: www.nagcnl.org.

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