13 December 2018

Three Days Remain for NGS Awards & Competitions Submissions

Only Three Days Left for Submissions to the
NGS Annual Awards & Competitions

Final Deadline: 15 December 2018

Less than seventy-two hours remain for anyone who wishes to submit a nomination for the National Genealogical Society’s 2019 Awards and Competitions. Show your appreciation of one or more individuals, a deserving organization, or an NGS volunteer by nominating them for one of the Society’s prestigious awards, including: 
  • NGS Award of Merit
  • The Shirley Langdon Wilcox Award for Exemplary Volunteerism 
  • NGS Distinguished Service Award
  • The Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship (sponsored by ProQuest)
  • National Genealogy Hall of Fame
  • Fellow of the National Genealogical Society

Or enter one of our competitions, including:
  • Family History Writing Contest
  • Award for Excellence: Genealogy and Family History
  • Award for Excellence: Genealogical Methods and Sources
  • NGS Newsletter Competition
  • John T. Humphrey, CG, Memorial Scholarship Award
  • Rubincam Youth Award

The deadline for submissions for both the awards and competitions is 11:59 PM, 15 December 2018.

NGS believes that outstanding work in the field of genealogy—indexing and digitizing records, creating free websites and webinars, writing articles, lecturing, chairing conferences, blogging, leading special interest groups, and creating communications and newsletters—deserves national recognition. We encourage you to nominate a genealogist or organizations or submit your own work to the NGS 2019 Awards and Competitions. Winners and award recipients will be recognized at the NGS 2019 Family History Conference, 8-11 May 2019, St. Charles, Missouri.

Complete details and all necessary forms can be found at the NGS website. All nominations must include email contact information for nominees and the persons nominating them.

Send nomination forms by postal service or email.
NGS Awards Program
6400 Arlington Blvd, Suite 810
Falls Church, VA 22042-2318
Include "NGS AWARD" in the Subject line of your message.

30 November 2018

Important Update Regarding Conference Registration

Registration Will Open Thursday 6 December
for the National Genealogical Society's
2019 Family History Conference

NGS will open registration on Thursday, 6 December, at 10:00 a.m. EST 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 in St. Charles, Missouri.
NGS originally announced it would open registration for the 2019 conference on Saturday, 1 December, but made the decision to delay the opening in order to provide full staff and technology support on the opening day. Since this is the first conference registration event on our new website, we want the registration process to go smoothly, so we ask for your patience and understanding as we do further testing.

For NGS members visiting the new NGS website for the first time, you will need to reset your password in order to login and register. You may also update your profile in “My Account” in advance of registering. You will find “My Account” in the NGS Store, on the left side navigation menu. We encourage all members to visit the new site as soon as possible and explore the new design and content, and please share it with other family and friends interested in genealogy.

If you have family or friends intending to register for the conference who are non-members, they will be required to create a free account so they have a user name and password. If they create a guest profile prior to registering it will accelerate their purchase. Also, visiting the new NGS website in advance offers the opportunity to explore the new features of the website, and information on the conference discount available as a benefit of NGS membership.

Questions? Contact Conference Registrar Courtney Holmes or Conference Manager Erin Shifflet.

21 November 2018

Happy Thanksgiving From NGS

The National Genealogical Society wishes you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

At this time of year when we reflect on all we are grateful for, NGS wants to thank all of our members for their continued support throughout the year, and also a heartfelt thank you to the many volunteers who make our success possible.

Best Wishes,

The NGS Board of Directors and the NGS Staff

Please Note: The NGS office will be closed from Thursday, 22 November until 9:00 a.m. on Monday, 26 November 2018 in observance of the holiday.

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!