De Fonseka

Webby Honoree (2019)

Webby Awards honour Sri Lankan Genealogy site Defonseka.com

Colombo — 5th April 2019 – DeFonseka.com, Sri Lanka’s premier Family Name / Genealogy website announced today that it has been honored with an Official Honoree award in the Best Personal Blog/Website category, at the 23rd Annual Webby Awards. Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honor” by The New York Times, The Webby Awards, presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS), is the leading international awards organization honoring excellence on the Internet. Alongside the 5 Nominees selected for each category, The Webby Awards honors select additional outstanding entries as Official Honorees. Less than 15% of entries in the Webby Awards are deemed Official Honorees. This is the third Webby Honoree award ever received for digital excellence in Sri Lanka, and the second for a website.

IADAS, which nominates and selects The Webby Award Winners, is comprised of Internet industry experts including Internet inventor Vint Cerf, Instagram’s Head of Fashion Partnerships Eva Chen, Director of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society Susan P. Crawford, actor and activist Jesse Williams, GE CMO Linda Boff, Pod Save the People host and activist DeRay McKesson, Google’s Head of Conversation Design Cathy Pearl, Fortnite Designer Eric Williamson, HBO Digital Chief Diane Tryneski, Los Angeles Laker Isaiah Thomas, and DDB Worldwide CEO Wendy Clark.

DeFonseka.com is the very first web site dedicated to Genealogy and Family Name Research in Sri Lanka. Using authenticated research, a journalistic instinct and the web medium, the site examines and chronicles the family name De Fonseka, the people and their stories, achievements, and their path thru the sweeping social and economic changes over the centuries.

The website setup around 2002 with the objective of collating and preserving the family’s history, undertakes research on areas related to the family name and disseminates the material thru the medium of the internet. Today it has become the premier facilitator and resource bank to anyone researching their family roots in Sri Lanka, and has been a beacon to the Sri Lankan Genealogists for many years.

“Honorees like DeFonseka are setting the standard for innovation and creativity on the Internet,” said Claire Graves, Executive Director of The Webby Awards. “It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 13,000 entries we received this year.”

“It has been a seventeen year labor of love” says the website’s creator Fonny de Fonseka. “What started as an experiment to learn web design in 2002, ended up being a full-fledged family name site, surpassing the best of such sites. The site today contains over 250 pages of information including a helpful guide for Sri Lankan Genealogists”.

The website’s roots originate in a unique court case during the Dutch Period, in which the all-powerful ‘Disava’, is challenged in a court of law. This left a trail of records relating to the De Fonseka and associated families. Early researchers worked with scholars to translate the Dutch work and build the family history to the end of the 19th century. This research lays the foundation for this website, as it picks up and carries the research to the 20th century and beyond. The website is also proud to present extracts from original Dutch records referring to the case.  This is the first time that the Dutch records, now preserved in the National Archives of Sri Lanka, has been brought online.

Since its inception, the web site has grown continuously with contributions from many parts of the world and the author/creator welcomes information, photographs and articles relating to the De Fonseka family name / families. The creator can be contacted thru email on fonnydefonseka@gmail.com

Awards prior to 2007

Leith Hutton

You have clearly put a substantial amount of time and effort into the research of your family, and this is evident in the range of information you have available.

Lauricells Dornbirer

Unlike many genealogy sites in the Internet, the De Fonseka’s have spent considerable time and effort to source their material. This always lends an air of authenticity to genealogical information.

The High in the Sky Award

The implementation, presents an undeniable excellence that puts it well above the remaining ones, making it worthy of being publicly designated as an example to be followed and as a true knowledge and information source.