30 March 2012

Harry Macy, FASG, FGBS: Becoming a Genealogist -- New Release in Voices of Genealogy Video Series


The celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly continues with the third release in the Voices of Genealogy video series of interviews with distinguished genealogists, among them the editors of the major US genealogical journals.

The new episode, “Becoming a Genealogist,” features Harry Macy, FASG, FGBS, who, from 1987 to 2006, was editor of The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, the only genealogical journal focused on research in New York. Produced by award winning filmmaker Kate Geis, the video is now playing for all NGS members on the Society’s website. In this video, Macy describes his discovery of genealogy when he was an eight-year-old boy on Long Island and his journey to becoming the scholar we appreciate today. 

To enjoy the interview, visit http://www.ngsgenealogy.org, log in, click the Members Only tab, and then click the Videos link in the menu on the left of the screen.

Future episodes with Harry Macy will tell the stories of his becoming an editor, his own research, and an opportunity he sees for societies to support researchers in correcting widespread errors in genealogies. There is more information about the Voices of Genealogy series in the January-February-March issue of the NGS Magazine.

The video interviews represent just one of the many opportunities NGS offers its members for becoming successful genealogists. Members receive the society’s outstanding quarterly publications, the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and the NGS Magazine, and they can also take advantage of free courses and significant discounts on publications, courses, and the NGS annual conference, which will be held in Cincinnati 9–12 May 2012 and in Las Vegas 8–11 May 2013.





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copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
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Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
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29 March 2012

220 Illustrated Family Records That Are Part of the National Archives’ Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application Files


Wow!  Are these not wonderful examples of family records?

I first learned about this collection in a note from the editor, Lynn Betlock, in a recent edition (Volume 15, #10) of the Weekly Genealogist where she wrote ....

"Weekly Genealogist reader Jacob Sievers of Somerville, Massachusetts, emailed me with a link to a remarkable collection of 220 illustrated family records that are part of the National Archives’ Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application files. Beginning last July, the National Archives began to contribute tens of thousands of files to Wikimedia Commons, and these images are among them. These family records were submitted as part of the documentation required for a veteran or a veteran’s family member to receive a pension, and then became permanently attached to the veteran’s file...."

Like her and her reader, I was fascinated by the beauty and details of these precious documents that were submitted with Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Applications.

When you just need a pick-me-up or to be reminded of how beautiful documents can be, check out the collection!

Does your own family archive contain illustrated family records?



Editor's Note: This collection is part of Wikimedia Commons.  While there, check out the other National Archives Collections and do browse around further.





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copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
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Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
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28 March 2012

Women's History Month


Though Women’s History Month is almost over, I can say that it’s something I celebrate every day, as a woman who is frequently researching women!

Fortunately, this great website produced by the government doesn’t go away at the end of the month.  It pays tribute to women through history with exhibits, collections, images, history and much more.

On a related note, NARA is “Putting Women on the Map: New Women’s History Collections on Historypin” which talks about four new image collections focusing on women of the past.

Did any particular person’s story or image just really catch your attention in these collections?  If so, please let share!





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copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
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Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
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27 March 2012

Couldn't Attend RootsTech -- Now You Can Watch Recorded Sessions Online



If you are like me, either you weren’t able to attend RootsTech.  Or, you are like those who did attend and yet could only be in one place at a time!

Whether you are catching up on the conference or on missed sessions, videos for 18 of the sessions are now freely available on the RootsTech website.

Which was your favorite video?





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copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
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Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
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26 March 2012

It's Now 1 Week Until the 1940 Census is Released! What Can You Do To Prepare?

by Jan Alpert

The 1940 Census images will become available at 9:00 am 2 April 2012 at http://1940census.archives.gov. The census will not be indexed when it is released. Ancestry will be working with indexers around the world to complete the index as quickly as possible for their subscribers. FamilySearch has organized a volunteer 1940 Census Indexing Project with genealogy societies across the United States. FamilySearch will post the index on its website www.familysearch.org as each state is completed. If you want to volunteer to index the 1940 census on behalf of NGS go to https://the1940census.com and sign up.

What can you do to prepare for the census? Go to http://www.archives.gov/research/census/1940/  and become familiar with the “Questions Asked on the 1940 Census.”

Make a list of everyone you want to research in the 1940 census and their address. If you don’t know their address, how do you find it?

1.      Check for a 1940 City Directory
2.      Check for a World War II draft registration
3.      Check for an address written on the back of a photo
4.      Do you have an old address book which belonged to your parents or grandparents?
5.      Do you have any old envelopes from letters your relatives may have written about 1940?


If your family lived in the same house for at least 10 years you can look for the property address in the 1930 Census. Find your ancestor in the 1930 census. View the image of the census page. The street name is written in the left margin of the census page. The house number is written in the first column.

Here are two examples from the 1930 Census:

My father was Charles Nutter. In 1930 he was living with his parents in Pontiac, Oakland Co., Michigan at 944 Cameron Ave.



Next look at the Enumeration District in the top right corner.  In 1930 the ED was 63-54. We will now show you how to convert the ED in 1930 to the ED in 1940.

Stephen P. Morse has provided a tool to convert census Enumeration Districts from 1930 to 1940.



This means that in the 1940 Census, I will find 944 Cameron Ave., Pontiac, MI on ED 63-73. So when the 1940 Census becomes available, I will go to Michigan  and look for ED 63-73.

This next example are my maternal ancestors from the 1930 census in Peoria, Illinois. I know they were living at 200 Hanssler Place, Peoria, Illinois, even though the street name is further down on the census page.



Take the ED 72-55 from the 1930 Census and return to http://stephenmorse.com/census/unified.html


So as soon as the 1940 Census is available, I can go to Illinois and look for ED 104 and find my grandparents in the 1940 Census. In this case I will have to browse three ED’s 104-41, 104-42 and 104-45 which may mean more than 100 pages, but this is still better than having to browse all the pages for Peoria, Illinois.

We want to thank Stephen P. Morse, PhD and Joel D. Weintraub, PhD for their advance work on the 1940 Census and the many other research tools provided on their website http://stevemorse.org/index.html.






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copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
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Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
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23 March 2012

NC, SC state line isn't where folks thought it was

1862 Johnson Map of North Carolina and South Carolina (Wikimedia Commons)

If you think state and county borders is “old news” then check out this article about the NC/SC border which has just recently been “established,” hopefully for the last time!

“... For decades, officials thought the land where the store sits was in South Carolina, because maps said the boundary with North Carolina drawn back in the 1700s was just to the north.

But modern-day surveyors, using computers and GPS systems, redrew the border to narrow it down to the centimeter. Their results put the new line about 150 feet south of the old one ...” 

Living in NC this isn’t the only example of a recent case where a “border” was finally established.  Back in 2009 the border between Wake and Franklin Counties was set!


So, though we think in our research of checking “where land” is due to county formation and border changes as well as state formation and border changes, I’m not so sure that descendants will think to check for such for land when researching property in 2009 or 2012!

Do you know of other “modern” examples of border changes that will impact future genealogists?





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copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
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Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
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Patriots of Color Database



This new and growing database at Archives.com reflects research facilitated by the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. These records unveil new and invaluable information about some of the men and women of color who fought for American independence in such roles as soldiers, skilled craftsmen, and servants. 

“...Over two years of research has focused on verifying the service and complexion of patriots from each of the 13 colonies using primarily original records such as pension and bounty land application files, muster and pay rolls, lists of troops, court records, legislative records, census records, and more.”

Visit the website.


Please tell us if you found one of your ancestors in the database!



On a related note, check out this NYT Article “Family Tree’s Startling Roots” which talks about an episode of Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr which airs this Sunday on PBS.




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copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
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Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
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22 March 2012

Pinterest? Have You Joined Yet? Please Do Tell Us About How Genealogists Might Benefit!


After seeing references to “Pinterest” on Facebook and elsewhere, I just had to figure out what all the “buzz” was about.

I learned more about just searching around the internet and by reading James Tanner’s post “Pinterest – Upcoming Social Networking Site” where he says ...

“Pinterest is one of the fastest growing websites on the Internet. Initially adopted by a predominantly younger female market, Pinterest has now attracted a substantial special interest following, including a growing number of genealogists. As the name suggests, it is a way to pin pictures you find on the Internet to a virtual board on your page.”

And, here’s a fun article by a self-proclaimed Pinterest addict, “Pinning: These are a few of my favorite things” and one titled “Pinterest – Oh No, Another Addictive Distraction!” on Olive Tree Genealogy.

Are you on Pinterest?  Have you used it for genealogy? 

Share your thoughts on what you like about it, what’s fun about it,  what can be frustrating, should we ask to be invited, or any other thoughts you want to share with your virtual genealogy buddies!  


Editor's Note: I've not yet "requested an invite"  If you have what you consider a great example of a genealogical use of Pinterest and you'd like to share that with me, please do so and it might motivate me to get invited and actually see what it's all about.  After reading how addicting it is, I am trying to control myself and not get started.  Though, all's it took was one good excuse to get on FB, Google+, Linkpendium, etc



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copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
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Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
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Select PA Vital Records Now Public

On December 15, 2011, Governor Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania approved Senate Bill 361.

This bill provides for public access to certain birth and death certificates after a fixed amount of time has passed. This legislation provides that such documents become public records 105 years after the date of birth or 50 years after the date of death.

To apply for a non-certified copy you must first search the Pennsylvania birth indices (1906) or death indices (1906-1961) to obtain a Pennsylvania State File number.



Read this page to learn more about applying for these records and the indexes.

Has this change in the PA vital records law impacted your research?  If so, please share how.


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copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
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Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
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21 March 2012

Tech Tools for Technologically-Challenged Genealogists

Dropbox Graphic


Chris Staats, on his blog, posted a piece titled New Presentation Idea: Tech Tools for Technologically-Challenged Genealogists.

His post reminds us of all the non-genealogy specific tools we use and increasingly these tools are internet-based or involve some form of newer technology ...

He lists out 10 tools that he uses (Dropbox, Transcription, etc).  For a recent class I taught, I expanded his list to include some tools that I use in the categories for some of what he mentions.  For example, instead of Snagit, I used 5 Clicks for years until my new computer came equipped with a “Snipping Tool” which works well enough.  

What non-genealogical techie tools would you add to the list?





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copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
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Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
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20 March 2012

The 1940 Census Indexing Project NEEDS YOU!


NGS is one of many genealogical societies participating in the 1940 Census indexing project with FamilySearch so the 1940 census images and index can be available to the public for free. The National Genealogical Society is pleased to be supporting this project so the 1940 Census index and images can be made available to the public for free. The 1940 census images will be released by the National Archives on Monday, 2 April 2012 at 9:00 a.m. E.D.T.

If you are interesting in volunteering on behalf of NGS, go to https://the1940census.com/society and click on "get started." If you don't already have an account with FamilySearch, you will need to create an account (user name and password). Select "National Genealogical Society" on the profile screen. Download the indexing software provided by FamilySearch. The file is large, so it may take a few minutes depending upon the speed of your Internet provider. The software will automatically create a "FamilySearch Indexing" icon on your desktop. You will click on the icon every time you are ready to index a page or two. If you experience any difficulty or have questions, the FamilySearch help line is 1-855-439-1940. FamilySearch will notify the NGS project administrator, Jan Alpert, that you have registered as a volunteer. She may also be contacted at volunteer@ngsgenealogy.org.

After April 2 you will be able to download a batch of census records to index anytime 24 hours a day. You will be able to select the state to index but not the county, since you will have access to the next page available. A page is estimated to take 30-45 minutes to index. You can index as many records as is practical for your personal schedule. Once you type up the index for a page of census records, you will submit the records back to FamilySearch. Each page is entered by two different people and compared. Arbitrators resolve any differences. Once a state is completely indexed, FamilySearch will make that state index and images available to the public on their website: www.FamilySearch.org.

While we wait for the 1940 Census to become available in April, you can practice by indexing other records available by clicking on the "FamilySearch Indexing Icon" once you have downloaded it. Some of the practice indexing projects include state records similar to the 1940 census:
  • Iowa State Census, 1895
  • New Jersey 1905 State Census
  • New York 1875 State Census
  • Ohio Tax Records, 1800–1850, pt. 5
  • Texas, County Tax Rolls, 1837–1910
Log into the indexing software to access these projects and others.


The following link https://the1940census.com/resources/enum_instructions/ will take you to the 1940 enumerator's instructions, so you can see the questions asked on the 1940 census. Reading and becoming familiar with the census questions and abbreviations will help prepare you to do indexing.
There are also some upcoming webinars available which will walk you through the census indexing project:
Webinar Schedule (classes begin at 6:00 pm MST):
  • To join a webinar:
    1. Fifteen minutes before the webinar start time, click the date or go to go to http://meetingplace.ldschurch.org and enter the Meeting ID and click the “Attend Meeting” button.
    2. Follow the prompts to enter the Meeting ID and join the meeting
  • To Attend the Conference Without Using your Computer:
    1. Dial into 801-240-2663 (Local/International) or 877-453-7266 (US Toll-free)
    2. Sign in as Guest
    3. Select the desired “Connect Me” options and enter the phone number that you want MeetingPlace to call you at
    4. Click the Connect button
  • Intro to Indexing
  • Meeting ID: 6310
  • Click to start Webinar
    1. Tuesday – March 20, 2012
    2. Tuesday – March 27, 2012
  • Tips & Tricks for Indexing the 1940 Census
  • Meeting ID: 8496
  • Click to start Webinar
    1. Wednesday – April 18, 2012
    2. Wednesday – April 25, 2012
    3. Wednesday – May 2, 2012
Again, thank you for volunteering to be an indexer.

Jan Alpert
NGS Past President & NGS Project Administrator for 1940 Census Indexing





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copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
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Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
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19 March 2012

Old Grave, New Discoveries

Image Accompanying Washington Post Article

Last month (25 February 2012) the Washington Post (DC) published an article with the above title and the subtitle “In push to preserve Arlington plot, churchgoers unearth their roots.”  As a genealogist, we know how special cemeteries are – both for information and spiritually.

“When Saundra Green Looks over the compact cemetery adjacent to Calloway United Methodist Church in Arlington, she sees the history of her community.

The oldest grave contains Margaret Hyson, who died in 1891 and was a slave on the Hall’s Hill plantation before emancipation  Under another marker is Hesakiah Dorsey, a slave who joined the Union Army during the Civil War ...

Now Arlington County is about to designate the tiny plot .... as a local historic district”

Do read the full article – it goes on to discuss how the county preservation planner looked at census and historical data, unearthed a 1985 survey of cemeteries by the Arlington Genealogical Club and circulated a questionnaire at the church to get oral reports of who might be buried there.  She ultimately shared this information with the congregation and they responded “It’s a lot ... that this new generation of us didn’t know.  We didn’t know how to find it...”

This reminded me that though I take for granted the basics of genealogical research, there are many more individuals who have an interest and don’t know where to start!

How can we “experienced” genealogists reach out to our local community and help those who are interested and don’t know where to start?




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copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
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Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
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16 March 2012

Official Blogger – NGS 2012 Family History Conference


(16 March 2012) The National Genealogical Society (NGS) announces the opening of the Official Blogger registration for the 2012 Family History Conference, 9–12 May, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

NGS welcomes bloggers’ participation at its conference and also wants to welcome them as members of the press to the NGS conference. In recognition of the important media role they play in the field of genealogy, NGS invites bloggers to register at its website to request “Official Blogger – NGS 2012 Family History Conference” designation and use of the NGS logo.

NGS recognizes that the genealogical community is gifted with a large number of engaged and talented bloggers who write regularly about the release of new records, upcoming events, research methods, tools, software choices, and other items of interest to the community. The designation of Official Blogger is a way for the National Genealogical Society to give recognition to the daily contributions these bloggers make to keep the field of genealogy current, particularly with news that is not covered in the mainstream media.

Official Bloggers will have a limited license to use an “Official Blogger – NGS 2012 Family History Conference” designation and logo. The NGS Conference blog will link to their blogs. Official bloggers will have access to the Media Center on the exhibit hall floor. For more information on the NGS Social Media Policy, see: http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/social_media_policy .

If you write a blog or micro-blog, and would like to be recognized as an “Official Blogger of the NGS 2012 Family History Conference,” please navigate to http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/official_blogger to fill out a form letting us know a little bit about you and your blog.






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