Margaret Jenks Cemetery Illustration
Margaret R. Jenks, known as Peggy to her friends and family, has been a family genealogist since 1964 and a cemetery transcriber since 1978. She has published award-winning books listing all the cemetery inscriptions of the twenty-seven towns in Rutland County, Vermont, and of Granville, Washington County, New York...over 225 cemeteries in all. She has also researched the many carvers of Rutland County stones.

Peggy is the author of the three-volume Decsendants of Thomas Horton of Milton and Rehoboth , Massachusetts. More recently she has authored Early Families of Washington County, New York, Stephen Reynolds of Granville and Henry Rice of Hebron, with Related Families of Kenyon, Cole, and Wightman, and The Descendants of Spencer's of Granville, Washington County, New York.

She chaired the Seattle Genealogical Society's computer interest group from 1982 to 1986, was editor of the Newsletter of the Genealogical Society of Vermont from 1996 to 2005, and served six years as a trustee of the Association for Gravestone Studies.

In search of data on the men who carved the area grave or tomb stones, she, with the help of Dani Roberts and Dawn Hance, extracted and published the Rutland County probate records to 1850. Also with Dawn Hance, she has compiled the first book, 1861-1904, of Interment records of the Evergreen Cemetery in Rutland. In many cases, the records include the place of birth, parents' names, and cause of death. Many of the listed interments do not have extant gravestones.

She is continuing the work begun by her mother, Azuba R. Ward, on their family's early ancestors in Washington County, New York. Azuba R. Ward compiled four books on these ancestors: The Ayers Family, Early Families of Washington County, New York, 1980; The Hatch Family, Early Families of Washington County, New York, 1985; The Laing Family, Early Families of Washington Counties, New York, 1991; The Descendants of Ephraim Durham of Guilford, Connecticut, 2000. Now all out of print.

The marble industry in the Eastern part of Rutland County and the slate industry on the Vermont and New York border drew an endless supply of marble and slate workers. In the process of copying the stones, she became interested in who had carved the many beautiful stones. A few of the stones were signed by the carver. Some carved stones are very distinct designs and Peggy researched many of these carvers. The five notebooks of her records and pictures are now at the Rutland Historical Society in Rutland, for other researchers to continue her work.

In June 2014, Peggy was awarded the 2014 Harriet Merrifield Forbes Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Association for Gravestone Studies,  for her distinguished service in the field of gravestone studies.

Peggy is now continuing the research on her children's ancestors. Today, so many of the early New England records are now available online, that took travel to repositories for earlier researchers like her mother and grandmother. Fortunately, she has their notebooks. DNA tests have opened two long time sought-after ancestry lines.