19 June 2021
19 May 2021
NGS Announces Its
2021 Awards & Competition Honorees
NGS Award Honorees
National Genealogy Hall of Fame: John T. Humphrey, CG®
NGS introduced its National Genealogy Hall of Fame in 1986. The award honors outstanding genealogists whose achievements in American genealogy have had a great impact on the field. We invite you to visit the National Genealogy Hall of Fame and learn about its honorees. Nominated by the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society, this year’s inductee is John T. Humphrey. Born in Penn Argyl, Pennsylvania, in 1948, he died in Washington, DC, in 2012. Always a scholar, Humphrey had a passion for sharing his knowledge and teaching others.
In demand as a speaker on German and Pennsylvania topics, Humphrey became an expert in reading old German script. In 2008, at Williamsburg's 400th Anniversary Celebration, he gave a keynote address on German contributions to America. Two years later, he was invited to Germany to speak on researching Germans in America. In 2011 he taught the first-ever German course at Samford’s Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research.
Humphrey authored many genealogical articles and books. Two of his most recognized publications are Understanding and Using Baptismal Records and Pennsylvania Births, fifteen volumes of birth and baptism transcriptions. He broke new ground when he unearthed ancestor charts of Nazi SS officers in captured German records housed at the United States National Archives. Humphrey served as president of the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society and vice president of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania. He joined the NGS staff as education manager in 2000.
All who heard Humphrey’s lectures, read his books and articles, or participated in NGS activities he initiated, benefited from his knowledge and skills.
The Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship, sponsored by ProQuest since 2006, honors an outstanding librarian whose primary focus is genealogy and local history. This year’s winner, David E. Rencher AG®, CG, FIGRS, FUGA, is director of the Family History Library (FHL), Salt Lake City, Utah, and the chief genealogical officer for FamilySearch.
Rencher is one of the few genealogists with AG and CG credentials and a renowned lecturer who presents at local, national, and international conferences, institutes, and webinars. In his professional capacity, he partners with archives to digitize historical records and is a trusted collaborator. His leadership in technology advanced the book scanning program for FHL; record-matching methods for FamilySearch databases; and implementation of automated indexes for the 1880 census, the Social Security Death Index, and military casualty files for Vietnam and Korea.
Rencher recently authored Research in Arizona for NGS‘s Research in the States series of guidebooks. He also is the author of numerous articles, particularly regarding Irish research, and a contributing author of NGS’s online course for Continuing Genealogical Studies called War of 1812 Records.
Past president and a Fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association, Rencher is currently on the Board of Directors of the National Genealogical Society. He also is a Fellow of the Irish Genealogical Research Society in London; vice president of the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History; advisor to the Board of the New England Historic Genealogical Society; and director for Gen-Fed Alumni Association.
The 2021 Conference Award was presented to the Virginia Genealogical Society, Mary Vidlak, president, in recognition of its dedication and sustained service to the 2021 NGS Family History Conference.
Conference Certificates of Appreciation honor the VGS host committee chairs: Mary O’Brien Vidlak, CG, & Chuck Novak; volunteer co-chairs: Katie Derby and Kathy Merithew; registration co-chairs: Donald Moore and Phillip Ciske; publicity co-chairs: Robin Dwyer-Maurice and Teresa Kelly; conference blogger: Shannon Benton; hospitality chair: Catherine Gill; VGS booth co-chairs: Deborah Harvey, CG, and Nicki Peak Birch, CG; VGS events chair: Mary O’Brien Vidlak CG.
NGS Competition Winners
The President’s Citation recognizes and acknowledges particularly dedicated efforts on behalf of the National Genealogical Society. During the past year, in the midst of a historic pandemic, the NGS staff accepted the herculean task of transitioning to a newly merged organization while expanding the Society’s education programs and preparing for our second virtual Family History Conference. Despite lockdowns and changing protocols with all the additional work that resulted, NGS staff exemplified an extraordinary level of professionalism. “With gratitude for their expertise, energy, flexibility, and positive attitude,” NGS President Kathryn Doyle said, “I am thrilled to present this year’s NGS President’s Citation Award to our dedicated staff: Executive Director Matt Menashes; Accounting Manager Karen Soch; Conference Manager Erin Shifflett; Member Services Manager Susan Yockey; and Courtney Holmes, our Registrar for many years.
The NGS Awards for Excellence are presented for a specific, significant single contribution in the form of a family genealogy or family history book; a publication discussing or demonstrating genealogical methods and sources; or an article published in the NGS Quarterly.
Award for Excellence: Genealogy and Family History Book
This year’s recipient is Kyle Hurst, of Boston, Massachusetts. The title of her book is Ancestors and Descendants of Charles Le Caron and Victoire Sprague.
Honorable mention: Michael Grow, for his book, John Grow of Ipswich, Massachusetts, and Some of His Descendants: A Middle-Class Family in Social and Economic Context from the 17th Century to the Present.
Award for Excellence: Genealogical Methods and Sources
Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGLSM, FASG, FNGS, FUGA, is this year’s recipient. The title of her book is Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice, and Standards.
Honorable mention: Peter J. Malia, for his book, New Haven Town Records, 1769-1819.
Award for Excellence: National Genealogical Society Quarterly
LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, CGL, of Washington, DC, received the Award for Excellence for her article, “Parents for Isaac Garrett of Laurens County, South Carolina: DNA Corroborates Oral Tradition,” published in the June 2020 issue of the NGSQ.
The NGS Family History Writing Contest has been a Society tradition since 1986. This year’s winner is Amy Larner Giroux, PhD, CG, CGL, for her paper, “The Many Names of Frances Ellsworth: Correlating Evidence to Identify a Birth Name.”
The NGS Newsletter Competition recognizes the hard work and creativity of volunteer editors who publish the newsletters of our member organizations. The competition reviews them according to size of membership: small organizations (under 500) and large organizations (500 and up).
Large Societies and Organizations:
This year’s winner is The Tracer, newsletter of the Hamilton County (Ohio) Genealogical Society, Eileen Muccino, editor.
Honorable Mention: Virginia Genealogical Society Newsletter, published by the Virginia Genealogical Society, Orange, Virginia, and edited by Birgitte Tessier.
Small Societies and Organizations:
The winner is the Newsletter of the Irish Family History Forum, Long Island, New York, edited by Jim Regan.
Honorable mention: Our Endicott Heritage Trail, John Endecott Family Association, Laurie Endicott Thomas, editor.
The Rubincam Youth Writing Contest was established in 1986 to encourage and recognize our youth as the next generation of family historians. It honors Milton Rubincam, CG, FASG, FNGS, for his many years of service to NGS and to the field of genealogy.
Senior Category (Grades 9 - 12):
Wren Marsh of Houston, Texas, for his entry, “Generation to Generation.”
Honorable mention: Akram Elkouraichi, of Yonkers, New York, for his paper, “Project Hesperides: A Genealogical and Biographical Study of the Elkouraichi Family of Ben Ahmed, Morocco Through the Generations.”
Junior Category (Grades 6 - 8):
Asa Marsh of Houston, Texas, is the winner for his paper, “A Short History of My Grandmother: Helen F. Wren.”
Honorable mention: Ava Bielawski, of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, for her entry, “Dorothy Lundy: A Daughter of Emile Terrenoire, Where the Inspiration Began.”
SLAM! Idea Showcase Awards
On 18 May, during NGS 2021 SLAM! Idea Showcase, six organizations received awards. They were selected from among thirty-two recorded video “poster” presentations highlighting innovative projects, programs, and activities benefiting genealogical researchers. The winners were St. Louis Genealogical Society, St. Louis, Missouri: “Congregation Project”; German Historical Institute, Washington, DC: “German Heritage in Letters”; and Chester County (Pennsylvania) Archives: “1777 Chester County Property Atlas Portal.” Honorable mentions went to Godfrey Memorial Library, Middletown, Connecticut: “Genealogy Roundtable”; Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort, Kentucky: “Kentucky Ancestors Town Hall”; and St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis, Missouri: “Rooted in Inclusion: Forgoing the Family Tree Model.”
The National Genealogical Society congratulates all the 2021 award recipients and contest winners. Sincere thanks go to the volunteer judges, chairs, and evaluators from across the country who generously gave their time and expertise to review the submissions for each award and competition. Thanks, too, to Janet Bailey, awards chair, and Susan Yockey of the NGS staff.
Please help us with awards for next year, when we hope to be together again. Consider nominating an individual or organization who exemplifies the qualities we honor with our awards or encouraging someone to participate in one of our competitions.
06 May 2021
Just six days to sign up to hear The New York Times best-selling author, Dani Shapiro, discuss the sometimes unintended, but life-altering, consequences of genealogical DNA testing on 19 May at 1:40 p.m. (EDT).
To date, tens of millions of people have taken consumer DNA tests to search for ancestors. Shapiro explored the subject in Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity. During NGS Live! she will share her shock when she discovered that her deceased father was not her biological father and talk about her journey to come to terms with medical ethics, kinship, and the multitudinous facets that make up one’s identity. Her talk, Family Secrets, will not be available later on-demand.
Just six days left to register for two days of fascinating lectures on family history research with live Q&A.
Just six days left to be included in drawings for terrific giveaways, including:
- Five, Annual World Explorer memberships to Ancestry
- Five, Annual Fold3 subscriptions
- Five, Annual Newspapers.com Publisher’s Extra subscriptions
- Five, Ancestry DNA kits
- Three, One Year MyHeritage Complete Plans
- Three, Family Finders from FamilyTreeDNA
- Two, MyHeritage DNA Kits
- Two, Free registrations for the NGS 2022 Family History Conference in Sacramento, CA
- Two, One-year NGS Memberships
- One Each, Family History Guide: Hoodie, T-Shirt, Tote Bag, Large Tumbler, Mouse Pad
These are just some of the highlights of NGS Live! Don’t miss out on a rich array of learning opportunities for every area of interest and every level of expertise in family history.
02 May 2021
National Genealogical Society Announces
SLAM! Idea Showcase Award WinnersThe National Genealogical Society (NGS) is pleased to announce that six organizations will receive awards during its 2021 SLAM! Idea Showcase on 18 May. The award winners were selected from among thirty-two recorded poster sessions highlighting innovative projects, programs, and activities benefiting genealogical researchers. Three submissions will receive cash prizes of $250 each:
- St. Louis Genealogical Society, St. Louis, Missouri: “Congregation Project”
- German Historical Institute, Washington, DC: “German Heritage in Letters”
- Chester County (Pennsylvania) Archives: “1777 Chester County Property Atlas Portal”
- Godfrey Memorial Library, Middletown, Connecticut: “Genealogy Roundtable”
- Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort, Kentucky: “Kentucky Ancestors Town Hall”
- St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis, Missouri: “Rooted in Inclusion: Forgoing the Family Tree Model”
Videos submitted by the award winners will be featured at the SLAM! Idea Showcase mainstage program on 18 May beginning at 3:00 p.m. (EDT). The program will also include the announcement of the 2021 Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship and a greeting from the Library of Virginia, the 2021 NGS Conference host library. Following the mainstage event, attendees will have the opportunity to view poster sessions and chat live with their submitters. The event is free, but registration is required. Visit the conference website to register.
The SLAM! Idea Showcase is a new NGS event to promote information sharing, collaboration, networking, and collegiality among genealogical information providers. The program is sponsored by VIVID-PIX, Ancestry, and Collectionaire.
The Virtual NGS 2021 Family History Conference is scheduled for May 19-22. Conference and registration information is available online.
21 April 2021
The April–June 2021 issue of NGS Magazine, Volume 47, Number 2, has been mailed to members and is available online in the Members Only section of the website. This issue's theme is Hard Times.
The past year has been difficult for everyone and tragic for many. Besides the direct impact of illness, long-term health complications, and death caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people have suffered from loss of income, social isolation, mental health disorders, and other hardships.
Our ancestors endured hard times, too. Although few wrote about their experiences, many records of the organizations where they sought relief have survived. This issue explores the records of individuals created by almshouses, Freedmen’s Bureau offices, federal bankruptcy courts, and soldiers’ homes.
Almshouse residents included poor families, mentally ill people, orphans, frail older people, vagrants, and people with disabilities. Darryn Lickliter demonstrates that the admission registers, annual reports, and other records of almshouses can provide data not easily found in other sources before 1850.
After the Civil War, the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands operated in fifteen states and the District of Columbia to assist formerly enslaved people and refugees struggling to survive. While many of the Bureau’s records provide personal details, their volume and method of organization makes using them difficult. Sharon Batiste Gillins presents a thorough guide for understanding and accessing the records.
Another complex but potentially rich record group was created by federal bankruptcy courts. Between 1800 and 1940, one and a half million individuals and companies filed for bankruptcy under four federal acts. Jessica Hopkins outlines the requirements of the acts and the current process for locating and requesting records.
“Old soldiers’ homes” have assisted veterans in the United States since 1833. Kathy Petlewski discusses the history and records of the US Naval Home in Philadelphia, the US Soldiers’ Home in Washington, DC, the branch homes of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in various states, and the homes funded by states and Confederate organizations.
Dedicated county archives provide many advantages to genealogists. Pam Pracser Anderson and Magdalena Radovic-Moreno describe the typical holdings of county archives and how to use them to expand research options.
In our new column, Society Forum, Gail Schaffer Blankenau illustrates the benefits of family associations for researchers and the hallmarks of successful societies.
Genealogists have become accustomed to meeting online during the pandemic. Learn more about finding and attending webinars in Carla Cegielski’s Tech Tips column.
Paul Woodbury continues his series on DNA testing with eight steps to pursue when new autosomal DNA test results are received.
May the next year bring better health and less stress than the last!
- NGS 2022 Family History Conference: Our American Mosaic by Kathleen O. Beitiks
- Researching Poor Ancestors: Almshouse Records by Darryn Lickliter
- Navigating Freedmen's Bureau Records for Research Success by Sharon Batiste Gillins
- A Wealth of Information: Federal Bankruptcy Records, 1800–1940 by Jessica Hopkins
- Unique Resources in County Archives by Pam Pracser Anderson, MS, CG, and Magdalena Radovic-Moreno
- PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE by Kathryn M. Doyle
- NGS NEWS
- SOCIETY FORUM
- It’s All in the Family: Benefits of Family Associations by Gail Schaffer Blankenau
- REFERENCE DESK
- The History and Records of Old Soldiers’ Homes by Kathy Petlewski, MSLS
- TECH TIPS
- Genealogy Webinars by Carla S. Cegielski
- DNA DISCOVERY
- Eight Steps to Pursue with New Autosomal DNA Test Results by Paul Woodbury
20 April 2021
On Wednesday and Thursday, 19‒20 May 2021, from the comfort of home she can participate in NGS’s premier, two-day, virtual conference event― NGS 2021 Live!. Speakers include two award-winning authors and nationally recognized speakers who explore a wide variety of topics on researching family history. The two-day event also features a virtual expo hall with the newest genealogical products and services and drawings for exciting genealogy-related prizes.
In addition to NGS 2021 Live!, NGS offers a choice of either a twenty or forty lecture package on-demand. With these options, she may choose from more than eighty-five on-demand sessions available for viewing starting on 15 June. Program content also includes more than twenty additional bonus lectures provided by conference sponsors and sponsoring organizations.
As a free bonus, she can participate in the SLAM! Idea Showcase on 18 May. This debut showcase highlights creative and innovative projects or programs by societies, libraries, archives, and museums (SLAMs) from around the country.
Why not get your special person a wonderfully unique Mother’s Day gift. Purchase a registration for her to the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Virtual Family History Conference.
26 March 2021
|Michael Templeton (1821–1909)|
The March 2021 issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volume 109, Number 1, is available online in the Members Only section of the website. Please note that printed NGSQ delivery may be delayed by the U.S. Postal Service.
- “Backtracking Longstanding Errors to Prove Negatives: William Templeton’s Alleged Pennsylvania Military Service and Mahoning County, Ohio, Burial” by Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, FASG, FNGS
- “A Father’s Lynching and Multiple Maiden Names: Ida King of Ralls County, Missouri, and Des Moines County, Iowa” by Ricki L. King
- “Whom Did Mary Marry? Finding Mary Browett’s Multiple Marriages in Early Nineteenth-Century Gloucestershire, England” by Amy Harris, PhD
- “A Birth Family for Moses W. Shields of Hardin County, Tennessee, and Spartanburg County, South Carolina” by Nicki Peak Birch, CG
- Tell Somebody about It
- To Bow or Not to Bow? Social Etiquette, 1850s Style
- Warning to Smokers
- A Singular Event?
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®.
03 March 2021
Early Bird Discounts End 15 March
for NGS 2021 Virtual Family History Conference
Time is running out for family historians and three representatives from each NGS society or organization to receive a discount on registration for the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Virtual Family History Conference, 17−21 May 2021. After 15 March, the price of registration for NGS 2021 Live! and On-Demand! will increase $50 across the various packages available. To qualify for the early bird discount, attendees must register online by 15 March.
Join NGS on Wednesday and Thursday, 19‒20 May, for its premier two-day virtual conference event― NGS 2021 Live! Speakers include two award-winning authors, Dani Shapiro, author of Inheritance, and Ric Murphy, author of Arrival of the First Africans in Virginia. Other nationally recognized speakers will join them, including Barbara Vines Little, the keynote speaker for the opening session, Elizabeth Shown Mills, Thomas W. Jones, Judy Russell, Eric Grundset, Craig Scott, Janice Lovelace, and more. The two-day event also features the announcement of winners for NGS awards; the newest genealogical products and services from exhibitors in our virtual expo hall; and drawings for exciting genealogy-related prizes.
In addition to NGS 2021 Live!, NGS offers a choice of either a twenty or forty lecture package on-demand. Those who purchase a package may choose from more than eighty-five on-demand sessions available for viewing starting 15 June. Program content includes bonus lectures provided by conference sponsors and sponsoring organizations.
NGS will host additional events throughout the week. On Monday, 17 May, the Delegate Council Kickoff Workshop focuses on helping member organization delegates understand their role within NGS. Tuesday, 18 May, presents the debut of the SLAM! Idea Showcase, highlighting creative and innovative projects or programs by societies, libraries, archives, and museums (SLAMs). The week ends with Focus on Societies on Friday, 21 May, an all-day event devoted to presentations offering expert advice for society leaders on managing and growing their genealogical or historical society.
Take advantage of the discounted Early Bird registration fee, plus member discounts, when signing up by 15 March 2021. NGS member societies and organizations should have their representatives contact our registrar at [email protected] to have up to three officers or directors register at the member rate.