Kenneth H. Thomas, Jr. is a Columbus native who graduated from Columbus High School and then Emory University with a B.A. in History. He served nearly four years in the United States Air Force, the last two in England. In December 1973 he began working for the Historic Preservation Section/Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, working first with researching and fully documenting historic sites while writing five book-length reports.
Later, Ken was Historian for the National Register of Historic Places form 1978 to 2006 and wrote or edited over 1,500 National Register nominations. He organized the Architects and Builders in Georgia Collection, worked with county historians to see that their county histories reached publication, and was the main contact on cemetery preservation. He researched Sapelo Island extensively and donated his research to the Georgia Archives. He became an expert on house history research and lectured on that topic during his years at HPD and afterwards. Ken has served in various capacities with historical markers, both with DNR and later with the Georgia Historical Society.
Since 1977 Ken has written a weekly genealogy column in the Sunday Atlanta Journal-Constitution, one of the longest running in the country. He published two books with Arcadia Publishing, Columbus, Georgia, in Vintage Postcards (2001) and Fort Benning, Images of American Series (2003).
He has served or is serving on numerous boards, including the Georgia Historical Society (1985-1991, 1995-2001); the Dekalb History Center (1984-2013); the Wren's Nest (1990s-2015); Friends of Georgia Archives and History (2006-present); Georgia Postcard Club, President; Georgia Professional Genealogists, Moderator; and Co-Chair of the Coalition to Preserve the Georgia Archives since 2011.
Ken became a Fellow of the Society of Georgia Archivists in 2009. He is the recipient of the Governor's Award in the Humanities (2003), the Sarah Turner Butler Heritage Award from the Historic Columbus Foundation (2008), and the Georgia Historical Society's John McPherson Berrien Lifetime Achievement Award (2013), and a Lifetime Achievement/Legacy Award from Historic Westville (2013) and several awards for advocacy related to his work to keep the Georgia Archives open.