15 November 2018

National Genealogical Society 2019 Family History Conference Program Now Available

National Genealogical Society
2019 Family History Conference
Program Now Available

FALLS CHURCH, VA, 15 NOVEMBER 2018—The National Genealogical Society’s 2019 Family History Conference program is now available online and as a downloadable sixteen-page conference brochure. This year’s program, Journey of Discovery, will feature a variety of lecture tracks and topics including African American, English, French, German, Irish, and Scottish lectures. Other popular tracks include BCG Skillbuilding, eighteen DNA lectures, Immigration and Migration, Missouri, Military, Religion, Technology, and Tips and Techniques. In all, the conference, which will be held 8-11 May 2019 in St. Charles, Missouri, will offer family historians and genealogists more than 150 lectures, an array of social events, several workshops, and a family history expo with more than seventy exhibitors.

The program will begin with Judy G. Russell, JD, CG®, CGLSM, delivering the keynote address, “Journey of Discovery.” She will share tidbits about the Journey of Discovery of many people ranging from Marquette to Lewis and Clark, from Winny v. Whitesides to Dred Scott v. Sanford, from ancestors hiding in the pages of the Territorial Papers to clues lurking deep within our DNA. Americans are on their own journeys of discovery to find out who we are and where we come from.

The conference will take place at the St. Charles Convention Center. Registration opens on 1 December 2018. A number of special events have been planned with limited seating, so register on 1 December, or as soon as possible thereafter, if you plan to attend any of these events.

To learn more about our special events, see the conference brochure and our program. Participants also will want to sign up early for tickets to the NGS banquet on Friday evening, featuring David Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA, who will discuss our ancestors’ record preservations in “If Carved in Stone, Your Epitaph is Already Disappearing!”

Up-to-date information about the availability, amenities, and rates for conference hotels can be found on our conference website.  Be sure to sign up for the NGS conference blog so you do not miss conference news or announcements.

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogical education, exemplary stands of research, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Falls Church, Virginia, based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, and guidance in research. It also offers many opportunities to interact with other genealogists.

30 October 2018

NGS Magazine July–September 2018 Issue

The July-September 2018 issue of NGS Magazine, Volume 44, Number 3, has been mailed to members and is available online in the Members Only section of the website.

EDITOR’S NOTE by Deb Cyprych 

Every family has its secrets—scandalous, tragic, embarrassing, or just different. This issue deals head on with some of these skeletons in the closet and the unusual techniques and records that may reveal them.

Sydney Cruice Dixon discovered a long-hidden family secret in the National Archives. Her case study examines the reaction of two communities to a Civil War court-martial and its long-lasting effect on a family, and introduces the use of genograms to chart patterns of behavior in family history. 

Divorce in earlier generations is seldom disclosed, although it has been part of American culture since the seventeenth century. Pam Stone Eagleson, CG, provides a comprehensive range of clues that a divorce occurred, examples of using indexes, and ways to locate records. 

Genealogists may want to know more about mentally ill ancestors but have low expectations about obtaining access to their records. Jill Morelli, CG, explains what is available publicly, where records may be held, and how to obtain state-held records when restricted by law. 

Some female ancestors who “disappeared” may have become prostitutes. Jane Haldeman demonstrates how an understanding of local and federal laws and the challenges prostitutes encountered can help with researching ladies of ill repute. 

Unscrupulous people took advantage of Civil War pension laws to obtain money under false pretenses. Claire Prechtel Kluskens gives examples of scams and highlights a National Archives collection that is being digitized. 

The 1880 Supplemental Schedules for Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes name thousands of people affected by blindness, child homelessness, deafness, imprisonment, insanity, mental disability, and poverty. Kathy Petlewski outlines the contents, purpose, and locations of these schedules. 

Jordan Jones discusses methods of physically and logically securing private information and ways to share data cautiously, with warnings about the sensitive nature of DNA data and evolving privacy laws.

Table of Contents


  • NGS 2019 Family History Conference: Journey of Discovery Events and Tours, by Ann Carter Fleming, CG, CGL, FNGS
  • A Family Secret: Desertion, Scurvy, and Abraham Lincoln, by Sydney F. Cruice Dixon
  • Divorce Records in Genealogical Research, by Pam Stone Eagleson, CG
  • Finding the Records of the Mentally Ill, by Jill Morelli, CG
  • Loose Women: Researching Prostitutes, by Jane G. Haldeman
  • Researching Eighteenth-Century Gemman Immigrants, by James M. Beidler


  • President’s Message by Ben Spratling
  • Editor’s Note by Deb Cyprych
  • NGS News
  • National Archives Thieves, Scoundrels, Impostors and More by Claire Prechtel Kluskens
  • Reference Desk 1880 Supplemental Schedules: Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes by Kathy Petlewski, MSLS 
  • Technology The Technology for Keeping Secrets by Jordan Jones
  • NGS Members’ Book Notices

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.

24 October 2018

National Genealogical Society Quarterly September 2018 Issue

The September 2018 issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volume 106, Number 3, has been sent to the printer and will be arriving in members' mailboxes. Members can access the current issue at the NGS website (log in required).

Feature articles

Hiram Cochran, Freedman of Abbeville County, South Carolina by Nancy A. Peters, CG, CGL

A Parental Family for Thomas Tidball of North Molton, Devon by J. H. Fonkert, CG

Information in Family Papers and a First Name: Keys to a California Pioneer’s Simmons Ancestry by Shirley Langdon Wilcox, CG, FNGS

2017 Winner: Family History Writing Contest

“Her Sixth Matrimonial Venture”: The Many Marriages of Ida May Chamberlain by Sharon L. Hoyt, MLIS, CG

Editors’ Corner 

The “Street Lamp” Effect 163



Singular Union 
Attention, Veterans 
Wedded to Save Pig’s Life

03 September 2018

Passing of Russell Lawrence Henderson

Russell Lawrence Henderson

DECEMBER 2, 1942 – AUGUST 26, 2018

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) has learned of the passing of Russell Henderson. Russ was the former editor of the NGS NewsMagazine and performed many other important administrative tasks for the society. He was an excellent genealogist and a kind and giving colleague. NGS extends its deepest sympathy and condolences to Russ's entire family and his many friends.

22 August 2018

Visit the National Genealogical Society (NGS) This Week at FGS

The 2018 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference #FGS2018 starts today in Fort Wayne, Indiana, August 22–25.

If you are attending, be sure to stop by NGS booth #519. The hours at the vendor hall are Thursday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., and Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Susan and Julie will be staffing the booth—visit and learn about upcoming NGS conferences, new courses, publications, planned research trips, and more.

You can also purchase publications (including the Research in the States series, Mastering Genealogical ProofMastering Genealogical Documentation, Genealogy and Law, etc.)

Susan will handle three raffle drawings:
  • Friday, 24 August 2018: Choice of one Continuing Genealogical Studies course
  • Saturday, 25 August 2018: Choice of one book from the Research in the States series.
Be sure to enter to win!

NGS Booth #519

See you in the Exhibit Hall at Booth 519!

15 August 2018

Hotel Reservations Now Open for the
National Genealogical Society’s 2019 Family History Conference

FALLS CHURCH, VA, 15 AUGUST 2018—Effective 15 August 2018, you may reserve accommodations for the National Genealogical Society’s forty-first annual Family History Conference, Journey of Discovery, which will be held 8-11 May 2019 at the St Charles Convention Center (SCCC), One Convention Center Plaza, St. Charles, Missouri.

The conference will feature more than 150 unique lectures on topics such as census, court, immigration, land, migration, military, and vital records as well as DNA, ethnic resources, government documents, maps, regional topics, technology, and much more.

NGS offers attendees several discounted hotels, convenient to the convention center. Embassy Suites St. Charles is the conference hotel and is connected to the 2019 NGS conference center site. Other conference hotels offer a variety of room rates, free parking, and internet service. Most offer free breakfast each morning. When making a reservation, be sure to ask for the 2019 NGS rate. Seven hotels, within a two-mile radius of the conference site, will have a complimentary shuttle service to the SCCC. Two additional hotels are a little farther away and do not offer shuttle service. Uber and taxi service are also available.

Since past experience has shown that conference hotels tend to fill quickly, early reservations are recommended if you intend to register and attend the conference. 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 sight-seeing in the area. Please check the hotels’ websites for cancellation rules and for additional amenities. Full details and links for NGS discounted, online reservation can be found on the NGS conference website.

St. Charles has a small-town feel and friendly people. Come early or stay after the conference and take a day trip to wine country, tour the Foundry Art Centre, and dine at a variety of restaurants and breweries. To learn about area research facilities for family history, several of which offer national collections, refer to the conference’s Announcement Brochure on the NGS conference website.

The four-day NGS 2019 Family History Conference promises to be a great opportunity 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.

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogical education, exemplary stands of research, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Falls Church, Virginia, based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, and guidance in research. It also offers many opportunities to interact with other genealogists.

23 July 2018

NGS Magazine Volume 44, Number 2

The April–June 2018 issue of NGS Magazine has been mailed to members and is available online in the Members Only section of the website.

EDITOR’S NOTE by Deb Cyprych 

This issue explores a variety of records and techniques pertaining to nationality: foreigners in the United States, Americans overseas, foreign records, and translation.

During World War I all enemy aliens in the United States over age fourteen were required to register and obey special laws. Each four-page registration record contains personal details and a photograph. Julie Miller explains the background of the Alien Registration Act, the information in these records, and their known locations, in a comprehensive survey that reveals extant records in fourteen states.
Many American merchant seamen before the War of 1812 were impressed by the British into serving in the Royal Navy, usually but not always against their will. As Anne Morddel demonstrates, other records besides seamen’s protection certificates may reveal the history of an impressed seaman, such as in the dramatic case of Ambrose Dodd. 
During the 1930s the United States government transported more than 6,600 mothers and widows of World War I soldiers to Europe to visit the graves of their sons and husbands. John Graham describes the history of the pilgrimages and the records available for researching the Gold Star Mothers.
The most extensive German website with open access to genealogical content is Genealogy.net. Timo Kracke outlines the site’s wealth of indexes, abstracts, and searchable images including family trees, local heritage books, city directories, newspaper announcements, World War I casualty lists, and images of headstones as well as useful resources. Tips are given for translating German web pages into English.

Barriers arise but can be overcome when researchers encounter documents in a language or script they don’t understand. Bryna O’Sullivan examines two records, one in German script and one in French, to illustrate the benefits and process of working with genealogical translators and the 
techniques they use.

Narrow search parameters can also block research. Shannon Green uses a case study to demonstrate how logging search criteria and revisiting results to broaden parameters in spelling, time period, place, and associates can lead to success in identifying the parents of an ancestor.

In the last part of her series about the dissenting churches of Ireland, Fiona Fitzsimons describes the Irish Baptists, Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, Salvation Army, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Christian Scientists.

Our columnists are taking a well-earned break and will resume in the next issue.

Sue Zacharias, our layout manager since 2007, has resigned to focus on other pursuits. Her creative talents and collaborative working style have been key elements in the high quality of NGS Magazine. We wish her well in her new endeavors.

Table of Contents


  • Enemy Alien Registrations during World War I, by Julie Miller, CG, CGL, FNGS
  • Resources for Tracing Impressed American Seamen, by Anne Morddel, MLIS, CG
  • Gold Star Mother Pilgrimages of the 1930s, by John W. Graham
  • Discover German Families in Compgen’s Free Databases, by Timo Kracke
  • Overcoming the Language Barrier: The Genealogical Translation Process, by Bryna O’Sullivan
  • Broadening Search Parameters: A Case Study, by Shannon Green, CG
  • The Records of Irish Dissenting Churches: Part 3, by Fiona Fitzsimons


  • President’s Message, by Ben Spratling
  • Editor’s Note, by Deb Cyprych
  • NGS News
  • NGS Presents Awards at Grand Rapids Conference
  • 2017 NGS Donations and In-Kind Contributions
  • 2019 NGS Family History Conference—A Journey of Discovery: Missouri Was Central to Westward Expansion, by Janet L. Powell
  • NGS Members’ Book Notices
  • Save The Dates!

29 June 2018

Deadline Extended! Join NGS for a Trip to Madison, WI, and Two of the Nation’s Best Repositories

Deadline Extended!
Join NGS for a Trip to Madison, WI, and Two of the Nation’s Best Repositories

If you are still thinking about what to do this summer to advance your genealogical research, we have a wonderful suggestion. NGS has organized a trip for family historians to participate in on-site orientations in genealogical research at the Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS) Library and Archives and the Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies, 6-10 August 2018.

Register By 8 July

The WHS Library and Archives’ genealogy and history collections are among our nation’s most extensive repositories and reflect the diversity of the people who have lived or passed through its territory. Native American tribes, French-Canadians, Northern Europeans—primarily from Germany and Norway—African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics have called Wisconsin home. The state has also seen the rise and diminution of miners, loggers, and railroad workers, and once held Confederate prisoners of war during the Civil War. Dedicated to preserving history, the Society’s more than four million records extend beyond Wisconsin to the rest of the United States and to Canada. 

Its Draper collection’s 491 volumes (ca. 1775-1815) concentrates on the area known as "Trans-Allegheny West," including the western Carolinas and Virginia, some portions of Georgia and Alabama, the entire Ohio River valley, and parts of the Mississippi River valley. Its collection of newspapers, journals, magazines, and union and guilds publications from around the country is only surpassed by the Library of Congress. The WHS also serves as Wisconsin State Archives that includes state, county, and local government records. Land deeds, naturalization records, tax rolls, and court documents are just some of the original records that genealogists can access at the Archives.  

Family historians with ancestors from Germany will be especially interested in the Max Kade Institute’s robust collection of German-American newspapers, letters, diaries, and church and business records. The Institute is also an excellent resource for locating historic German-language, European towns and villages.

Space is limited for this new NGS research trip. Experienced, BCG certified genealogical consultants will introduce and mentor a group of 20 individuals as they explore the wealth of data at both facilities Participants will have ample time to conduct their own personal research during this four-day trip in Madison, Wisconsin, 6-10 August 2018.

Research consultants Rev. David McDonald, DMin, CGSM, and Patricia Walls Stamm, CG, CGLSM; will insure that your introduction to these institutions is both productive and enriching. 

The trip includes:

  • Guidance from BCG certified, leading experts
  • Online orientation  
  • Meet and greet on Monday afternoon at the hotel
  • Five days of research
  • Orientation at the repositories
  • Personal research consultations with group leaders throughout the trip
  • Four nights at the Lowell Center, including daily continental breakfast and free internet in rooms
  • Fees, taxes, and gratuities

Register Now!

Have a wonderful summer!  

Your friends at NGS

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogical education, exemplary standards of research, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Falls Church, Virginia-based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, and guidance in research. It also offers many opportunities to interact with other genealogists.

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The words Certified Genealogist and its acronym, CG, are a registered certification mark, and the designations Certified Genealogical Lecturer and its acronym, CGL, are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

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