18 October 2021

Welcome Kate Smith, Organizations and Communities Manager

Please join me in welcoming Kate Smith, our new Organizations and Communities Manager, to the National Genealogical Society staff. Kate brings experience working with nonprofits, especially associations, to the Society.

Kate spent nearly ten years at the International Association of Assessing Officers working with property tax assessment and appraisal professionals. While there, she played an integral part in all facets of membership services and was involved with communications and marketing. She also was director of communications for Alpha Phi Omega, a national service fraternity, and most recently worked for Merrigan & Co., a marketing agency that specializes in nonprofit communications and fundraising. In all of her roles, she has been involved with aspects of conferences and events.

With an education background in journalism, Kate enjoys learning about people, doing research, and putting together a story and ways to help others. She looks forward to supporting the Delegate Council and organization members, and making Forum, NGS online communities—launching soon—a place where members can share knowledge, exchange ideas, and easily connect with each other in new ways.

Kate is located in Kansas City, Missouri. She is a member of the American Society of Association Executives and the Kansas City Society of Association Executives (KCSAE). She was honored with the KCSAE Allied Member Award of Excellence in 2019 and received a KCSAE Star Award in 2015.

Welcome, Kate!

11 October 2021

Nominations Open for NGS 2022 Awards and Competitions

Nominations Open for NGS 2022 Awards & Competitions

We invite our members to celebrate their fellow family historians by nominating them for one or more of the National Genealogical Society’s awards. Or throw your hat in the ring and enter one of our competitions.

Our 2022 Awards and Competitions season has officially opened. During the next two months you have the opportunity to participate in our awards and competition program. The deadline for submission of nominations is 15 December 2021. Award recipients will be honored at the NGS 2022 Family History Conference in Sacramento, California, 24-28 May 2022.

The NGS Awards program recognizes scholarship, service, excellence, and achievement in the fields of genealogy, history, and biography by presenting awards to individuals, societies, and organizations. They include

  • The Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern Lifetime Achievement Award
  • The NGS Fellow (FNGS)
  • The Lou D. Szucs Distinguished Service Award
  • The Award of Merit
  • The Shirley Wilcox Volunteerism Award
  • The Genealogical Tourism Award

The Society’s competitions include
  • Family History Writing Contest
  • Award for Excellence: Genealogy or Family History Book
  • Award for Excellence: Genealogical Methods and Sources
  • Award for Excellence: NGSQ
  • The NGS Newsletter Competition
  • The Rubincam Youth Writing Competition

Each year NGS also inducts one person who dedicated ten or more years to the field of genealogy and who passed away at least five years ago into its National Genealogy Hall of Fame. See a full description of the awards and competitions and access nomination forms on the NGS website.

“The NGS Awards and Competitions program represents some of our most important work. Please help us celebrate those who have excelled in the field of genealogy” said President Kathryn Doyle. “And join me as we welcome our new Awards Committee Chair, Judy Nimer Muhn.”

Judy Nimer Muhn
Muhn began her professional career as a genealogist in Europe in 1993. She has lectured at conferences in Europe and the United States, and presented, "Society Management—Volunteer Motivations: Getting and Keeping Your Volunteers" as part of the Focus on Societies program in May. Specializing in French Canadian, Acadian, Native American, and Michigan research, Muhn is the president of the Oakland County Genealogical Society. She also is vice president of the Michigan Genealogical Council, and an active member of NGS, Ontario and Quebec Genealogical Societies, Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, and French Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan.

Be sure to submit your 2022 nominations before 15 December 2021!

07 October 2021

The October-December 2021 Issue of NGS Magazine is Now Online

The October–December 2021 Issue  
of the NGS Magazine is Now Online

The October–December 2021 issue of NGS Magazine, Volume 47, Number 4, is being printed and is now available online in the Members Only section of the website. The USPS is still experiencing long delays in some areas for delivery of print copies. This issue's theme is Census Records.

EDITOR'S NOTE by Deb Cyprych

April Fool’s Day next year will bring an extraordinary gift for genealogists: the release of the 1950 US census online. But research will require more effort than entering names in a database. Genealogists can start preparing now in order to locate records on 1 April 2022 and beyond.

Claire Prechtel Kluskens details the history and schedules of the 1950 census and discloses the preliminary plans of the National Archives for its release. She provides a comparison with the 1940 census, a complete list of the questions in the 1950 population schedule, and information about enumeration district (ED) maps digitized in the National Archives Catalog.

At first, researchers will have to browse the 1950 census by enumeration district. Steve Morse and Joel Weintraub suggest methods for finding 1950 ancestral locations and explain how to use the One-Step website to obtain ED numbers.

Learning about instructions to enumerators and what each census was designed to measure can assist genealogists in using census records to their fullest advantage. In part one of her article, Shelley Bishop explores the substance and availability of census instructions from 1790 to 1870.

When people can’t be located in census records, it may seem that enumerators missed them, but unsuccessful searches are usually due to other reasons. Jill Crandell illustrates strategies for overcoming search challenges related to given names, surnames, ages, birthplaces, and frequent migrations.

Some descriptions of social statistics census schedules are incorrect; Helen Shaw sets the record straight. She outlines the content, accessibility, and uses of social statistics schedules for constructing community profiles and finding clues that lead to other records.

In her column, Kathy Petlewski discusses the research value of mortality census schedules, which may have the only records of death for some ancestors. The 1850 and 1860 schedules list many deceased enslaved persons by name, although identification may be difficult.

In other columns, Cheri Hudson Passey gives helpful tips for societies to promote and conduct successful virtual meetings, Carla Cegielski presents five strategies for locating free online newspapers, and Paul Woodbury clarifies the use of ethnicity admixture estimates for context and clues in the interpretation of DNA matches.



  • NGS 2022 Family History Conference: Westward Ho! by Kathleen O. Beitiks 
  • The 1950 Census: Coming Soon! by Claire Prechtel Kluskens
  • Searching the 1950 Census by Location by Stephen P. Morse, PhD, and Joel D. Weintraub, PhD
  • The Evolution of US Census Instructions: Part One, 1790 to 1870 by Shelley Bishop
  • Locating Hard-to-Find Census Entries by Jill N. Crandell, MA, AG
  • Using Social Statistics Schedules to Learn About Ancestral Communities by Helen A. Shaw, CG


  • PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE by Kathryn M. Doyle
  • EDITOR'S NOTE by Deb Cyprych
    • Call for Proposals for NGS 2023 Family History Conference
    • Successful Virtual Meetings: Moving Societies Forward by Cheri Hudson Passey
    • Mortality Schedules: Death Records Before State Registration by Kathy Petlewski, MSLS
    • Five Strategies for Finding Free Online Newspapers by Carla S. Cegielski
    • Using Ethnicity Estimates to Generate Genealogical Hypotheses by Paul Woodbury

NGS Magazine is published quarterly to update members of the National Genealogical Society on NGS activities and to provide genealogists with special information and guidance on conducting effective genealogical research. The magazine is sent to libraries by subscription. Online access to NGS Magazine is available only as long as membership is active.

05 October 2021

Hotel Reservations Now Open for NGS 2022 Family History Conference

Hotel Reservations Now Open for the

NGS 2022 Family History Conference

Starting today, at 12:00 p.m. (ET), you may reserve hotel accommodations for the NGS 2022 Family History Conference, Our American Mosaic. The conference will be held 24‒28 May 2022, at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center, 1400 J Street, Sacramento, California.

The conference will feature more than 150 genealogy lectures on a wide variety of topics. Lectures will focus on African American research; Asian and Pacific Islander research; BCG Skillbuilding; DNA; European and Middle Eastern research; Hispanic and Latin American ancestry; immigration and migration; methodology; Native American research; New England research; non-traditional families; records and repositories; reference services; society management; technology; the 1950s; western states; and writing. NGS will also welcome special guest speakers.

NGS offers attendees a choice of two hotels with discounted rates. The official conference hotels, the Hyatt Regency Sacramento and the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel, are in walking distance to the convention center. Both hotels offer complimentary Wi-Fi. Several parking garages with affordable parking are located in close proximity to the Safe Credit Union Convention Center.

As a rule, conference hotels tend to fill quickly. To ensure room availability, early reservations are recommended. Hotel reservations close 25 April 2022.

The hotels are offering the NGS rate three days before and three days after the conference, based on availability, so participants can do research or go sightseeing in the area. Check the hotels’ websites for COVID-19 regulations, cancellation policies, and amenities. Full details and links for NGS discounted, online reservations can be found on the NGS conference website. Attendees must request the NGS Family History Conference rate if making phone reservations.

Sacramento is home to several research facilities such as the California State Archives, California State Library, and several genealogical organizations. It also has twenty-eight museums including the Crocker Art Museum, California State Indian Museum, the Sacramento History Museum, the California State Railroad Museum, and the Sojourner Truth African Heritage Museum. The city features art galleries, breweries, coffee bars, fine restaurants, and an historic landmark district, the Old Sacramento Waterfront. To learn about research facilities in the area, refer to the conference’s Announcement Brochure on the NGS conference website.

The NGS 2022 Family History Conference will run five days. It promises to offer many opportunities for family historians to advance their research, hone their skills, and network with fellow genealogists. Be sure to reserve your hotel accommodations as soon as possible.

COVID-19 Regulations

We fervently hope that the COVID-19 pandemic will have subsided by May 2022. Nevertheless, please be advised that NGS will adhere to regulations issued by the California Department of Public Health and Sacramento County Order of the Health Officer.

The SAFE Credit Union Convention Center has GBAC Star Facility Certification, which means it meets “the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention.” The Convention Center also abides by state and county protocols.

All conference participants—including sponsors, guest speakers, lecturers, exhibitors, and conference attendees—will be required to comply with the laws, rules, regulations, orders, and ordinances required at the time of the conference to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. NGS will apprise all participants of the required protocols and procedures in advance of the conference.

27 September 2021

NGSQ September 2021 Issue is Now Online!

John Porter Langdon and his wife,
Caroline (Simmons) Langdon, ca.  1843

The September 2021 Issue of the NGSQ is Now Online

The September 2021 issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volume 109, Number 3, is available online in the members only section of the website and printed issues are being prepared for mailing. The USPS is experiencing long delays in some areas for delivery of print copies. We apologize if your print copy is affected.


  • “Discovering Kin for Washington Graham of Arkansas and Missouri” by Ruth Randall, CG
  • “A Father for Joel Wooley of Ohio, New York, and New Jersey” by Mary G. Burdick
  • “Parents for Willis Ballenger of Weatherford, Parker County, Texas” by Jeanette Shiel, CG
  • “John Bray of Cornwall County, England: Father of Mary Bray's Children?” by Ronald A. Hill, PhD, CG Emeritus, FASG, FNGS

  • “John Porter Langdon: One of Four Brothers to Settle in California” by Shirley Langdon Wilcox, CG, FNGS
  • Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
  • Historical Recurrence?
  • Value of a Husband

The National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) is published four times per year, in March, June, September, and December. The journal is edited by Nancy A. Peters, CG®, CGLSM, and Allen R. Peterson, AG, CG®.

24 September 2021

Meet the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee

DEI committee

The National Genealogical Society is pleased and proud to introduce the members of its DEI Committee: Chair Andre Kearns, Bernice Alexander Bennett, Ken Bravo, Lisa Fanning, Ellen Fernandez-Sacco, and David Morrow.

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Steering Committee is an advisory and working group to help NGS realize its vision to be a society open to all people seeking to discover their family stories, be inspired by them, and give voice to their ancestors. The committee is comprised of a talented team of genealogists who bring rich DEI expertise and fresh perspectives to the table.

The team formed last year as a Working Group and submitted their initial report to the board of directors at the May 2021 meeting. The board approved formation of an ongoing DEI Committee to continue their work and help implement their recommendations.

NGS gratefully acknowledges the contributions of Ellen Pinckney Balthazar, Janet Bailey, Melvin Collier, and LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson who served with or advised the DEI Working Group.

Biographies of the members of the committee can be found on the DEI Committee page at the society's website.

15 September 2021

Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month


National Hispanic Heritage Month 2021

It’s time to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month which runs September 15–October 15, 2021.

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have joined together to pay tribute to generations of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.

Resource list:

The Family History Guide's Hispanic Resources

And don't forget that NGS members have full access to the NGS Magazine archives and the National Genealogical Society Quarterly archives. Articles of interest include:

"The Catholic Church in the American Southwest" by David McDonald, NGS Magazine, 39 (Oct/Nov/Dec 2013): 17–20.

"Introduction to Research in Latin America" by Debbie Gurtler, NGS Magazine, 41 (Jul/Aug/Sep 2015): 37–41.

"California Historic Missions and Their Records" by Sheila Benedict, NGS Magazine, 42 (Apr/May/Jun 2016): 23–26.

"War and Marriage: Some Reasons for Deportation in Hispanic North America" by George R. Ryskamp, NGSQ, 86 (June1998): 134-137.

23 August 2021

New Books for Alabama and Maryland Research from NGS


National Genealogical Society Introduces 

Two New Research in the States Books:

Alabama and Maryland

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) is pleased to announce the publication of two new books as part of its Research in the States series, which now covers research in thirty states and the tribal records of Oklahoma’s American Indians. The newest volumes are Research in Alabama by LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, CGL, and a new edition of Research in Maryland, by Rebecca Whitman Koford, CG, CGL, and Debra A. Hoffman, PLCGS. The books are available in the NGS store in both PDF and print versions.

Both guidebooks provide detailed information on a wealth of resources, including:
  • Archives, Libraries, and Societies
  • Atlases, Gazetteers, and Maps
  • Bible, Cemetery, and Census Records
  • Court and other Jurisdictional Records
  • Directories and Newspapers
  • Ethnic, Land, Probate, and Religious Records
  • Military, Naturalization, State, Tax, Vital Records, and more

The guide books include the website address, physical address, and telephone number for each repository.

In Research in Alabama, Garrett-Nelson also reviews archival documentation regarding the state’s enslaved people and its free people of color, including non-traditional repositories. The author covers information on pertinent digital collections and databases such as bills of sale, estate inventories, and letters as well as postbellum records.

Alabama was one of the few states to grant property rights to married women prior to the Civil War. Historical records of testamentary documents, deeds, bills of sale, and more offer a possible pathway for tracing maternal ancestors. These topics and more are thoroughly addressed in Research in Alabama.

Garrett-Nelson is an author, lecturer, and a trustee and president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG). She is the registrar general of the Sons and Daughters of the United States Middle Passage. Her articles have appeared in NGS Quarterly and the Journal of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society.

Research in Maryland, New Edition, is an invaluable guide for family historians who seek to trace ancestors who lived in Maryland as well as lands that were once part of the “Maryland Colony,” including Delaware, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania as far north as Philadelphia, and parts of what are Virginia and West Virginia. Koford and Hoffman explain the system of land grants during the colonial period as well as after America’s independence. They also discuss Maryland’s court system and its numerous name and jurisdictional changes during and after the colonial period.

Maryland’s state and local governments did not begin to keep records of births and deaths until the late nineteenth century. Research in Maryland reviews other sources including religious records for Anglican/Episcopalian, Baptist, Lutheran and Reformed, Methodist, Roman Catholic, and Quaker religions; and source material for several ethnic groups, including African American, German, Irish, Jewish, and Native American. The authors also describe the resources at Maryland State Archives (MSA) and its Archives of Maryland Online, which includes more than 471,000 historical documents.

Koford is an author and lecturer and Course One coordinator at the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Records (IGHR). She serves on the Board of the ProGen Study Groups, is the executive director of the BCG, and is director of the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records.

Hoffman specializes in Maryland and German research. An author and lecturer, she has presented at IGHR and coordinated the Maryland course at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. She is past co-director of Gen-Fed and recording secretary for the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society.

Research in the States series is edited by Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FUGAFVGS, a former NGS president and editor of the Magazine of Virginia Genealogy. Research in Alabama and Research in Maryland are available for purchase in the NGS online store in both PDF and print versions.