Sharlot Hall Award Recipient 2004

Barbara Baldwin Salyer is honored with the 2004 Sharlot Hall Award for her family history research and publications that has contributed to the understanding and awareness of Arizona History.


It would be almost impossible to do thorough genealogical research in Arizona without coming across a project that was not somehow influenced by Salyer. Born in Tucson in 1932, she first got involved with genealogy when she helped the Tucson Public Library to set up their genealogy collection. Soon she established herself as a charter member of the Arizona State Genealogical Society in 1965 and through this group she has taught classes, lead tours, published the newsletter, served as president four times, and has chaired every committee.


Her most remarkable achievements start as small projects. Specifically, a survey of a cemetery-turned-dump in Willcox turned into a comprehensive publication that records 190 cemeteries and five mortuaries in 12 counties for a total of 5500 individuals. She also created a "cemetery recording kit" that one can use to gather and preserve information about burials throughout Arizona. Her frustration with the lack of an 1890 federal census inspired her to guide a project using the 1890 voter registration records to piece together Arizona male residents.


Salyer has found that genealogy does not only have to be about people who lived years ago. Since 1993 she has been a Confidential Intermediary. These intermediaries are the go-between for adoptees and their biological parents.


Her tenacity in the name of genealogy is unmatched in Arizona. In fact, when she had a letter campaign to legislators to allow access to vital records, one representative requested that she stop writing or he would vote against the measure. One of her nominators says that Salyer has a, "constant desire to make historical records available to all researchers."