Monday, September 19, 2011

Rhian Harris, Exhibitor at Family History Day

Please welcome Rhian Harris as an exhibitor at Family History at the California State Archives.

Rhian Harris, age 14, lives in Sacramento, California and is currently a freshman at St. Francis High School.  Rhian is the oldest of four children.  Her parents are Patrick and Antonette Harris.

Last year, Rhian was a student at Sam Brannan Jr. High School and entered the National History Day competition in the Junior Individual Exhibit category representing Sam Brannan Jr. High School.  Her exhibit was one of two qualifiers at the Sacramento County National History Day contest to qualify for the California State National History Day contest held in San Jose, California last April.

At the California State National History Day competition, Rhian’s exhibit won third place (runner-up) among 34 other student exhibits competing in San Jose.  Her exhibit had the extraordinary distinction of having one judge give her a perfect score for her exhibit and the supporting documentary research she put together for the competition.

The theme at last year’s National History Day competition was “Debate and Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, and Consequences.”  Rhian’s exhibit was entitled “The Rages of Shay’s Rebellion.”  The exhibit included a copy of an original “oath of allegiance” that her 6th great grandfather, Deacon Jacob Bliss, had signed in 1787 in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.  Rhian’s interest in this particular subject was bolstered by the fact that she had a total of three great-grandfathers who participated in Shay’s Rebellion:
  • Deacon Jacob Bliss and Jacob Bliss Jr., both of Rehoboth, and
  • Selectman Job Smith of Shutesbury
This young researcher was able to document with original primary source documents from the Massachusetts Archives that all three of her great-grandfathers had in fact participated in Shay’s Rebellion.

Rhian was selected as Sam Brannan’s Elks Lodge Student of the Year 2011.  Last year was the first year that Sam Brannan Jr. High School has participated in National History Day.

Please come meet Rhian at her exhibit and learn more about her winning display.  She represents the future of family history research.

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