04 October 2023

Celebrate Family History Month with New Resources from NGS!


Celebrate Family History Month
Get Tips to Help You Scan, Record, and Write
October is Family History Month—a perfect opportunity to delve into the rich tapestry of your past. NGS is excited to support your genealogy journey as you explore, preserve, and share your family's unique history.
Whether you're curious about old photos and hoping to scan them, looking to record family members’ memories, or aiming to write stories that are part of your family's legacy, this is the moment to begin or restart a project. It's easy to put off these tasks, thinking there's always tomorrow. But as we're often reminded, the best time is now.
NGS created three resources to inspire you this month with steps to help make projects successful. Download
Sharing stories within your family cultivates a deeper connection between members in the past and present and the generations to come. (Remember to respect privacy. Discuss plans to ensure everyone is on board when conveying personal anecdotes and information.)
So, gather your family, dive into those photo albums or boxes, and collect the stories that weave the fabric of your family history. NGS is here for you every step of the way.
And pass this on—download free images on our site you can post on social media with #FamilyHistoryMonth and the link to ngsgenealogy.org/family-history-month.
Celebrate this October and invite people to join you!

02 October 2023

It's Official! ConferenceKeeper.org Is Now Part of NGS

As of 1 October 2023, ConferenceKeeper.org is now officially part of the NGS family. ConferenceKeeper is the most complete, entirely free, online calendar of genealogy conferences and events. 

Created in 2012, ConferenceKeeper was the brainchild of Jen Baldwin. In 2015, Baldwin passed it on to Eowyn Langholf Walker and Tami Osmer Mize. Mize has been its sole manager since 2016 and will continue in this role as a consultant for NGS.

ConferenceKeeper will continue to support local genealogical societies, libraries, and genealogy-related businesses by providing a wider audience for their programs. The website will offer its calendar of thousands of genealogical education opportunities as a free resource for everyone interested in furthering their knowledge of family history research. ConferenceKeeper will also continue to accept genealogy-related advertising. NGS member organizations will benefit from a special advertising rate and increased visibility for their events.

"We are thrilled to welcome ConferenceKeeper and its manager extraordinaire Tami Osmer Mize into the NGS family," said President Kathryn M. Doyle.

29 September 2023

NGSQ September 2023 Issue is Now Online

Mary (Cesta) Calabrese (1912–1997), circa. 1921

The September 2023 Issue of the NGSQ is Now Online

The September 2023 issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volume 111, Number 3, is available online in the members-only section of the website and printed issues are being prepared for mailing. The USPS is still experiencing delays in some areas for the delivery of print copies. We apologize if your print copy is affected.


  • The Recordless Marriage of Virginia Jones from Caroline County, Virginia, and Henry Brooks of Covington County, Alabama,” by Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, FASG

  • “Stanislao Cesta and Fortunato Cesta: Merging Identities,” by Eva Holmes, CG, AG

  • “A Family for Samuel Robbins of Sumner, Maine,” by Aaron D. Spohr, CG

  • "Willis Gay: The Testator, the Groom and Their Wives,” by Susan Michael, CG

  • Never Give Up

  • Dual Diagnoses
  • Husbands and Blackberries: Take Your Pick
  • The Butler Did It?


  • Bon Tempo, Carl J. and Hasia R. Diner. Immigration: An American History. Reviewed by J. H. Fonkert, CG

  • Bakkala, Jenifer Kahn. The Maynard, North, and DeForest Families: A Story of Immigration, Industry, and Community. Reviewed by Aaron Goodwin

  • Middleton, Saundra. The Pioneering Life of Peter Kirk from Derbyshire to the Pacific Northwest. Reviewed by Jill Morelli, CG

  • Hackenesch, Silke, ed. Adoption Across Race and Nation: US Histories and Legacies. Reviewed by Janet Hall Werner, JD
  • Hämäläinen, Pekka. Indigenous Continent: The Epic Contest for North America. Reviewed by Tracy Neely

The National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) is published four times per year, in March, June, September, and December. The journal is edited by Margaret R. Fortier, CG, and Mary Kircher Roddy, CG.

18 July 2023

The Third Quarter 2023 Issue of NGS Magazine is Now Online

The July–September 2023 Issue of NGS Magazine is Now Online

The July–September 2023 issue of NGS Magazine, Volume 49, Number 3, is being printed and is now available online in the Members Only section of the website. Delivery of print copies depends upon USPS schedules. This issue’s theme is Back to School.

EDITOR'S NOTE by Deb Cyprych

Since every family presents a unique research situation, genealogists are perpetual students. To identify ancestors correctly and place them appropriately in their historical setting, we need to learn about the techniques most likely to be effective and the nuances of the records, resources, and repositories for each ancestral locale and period.

Fortunately, educational opportunities for genealogists have increased dramatically due to virtual platforms. In the first article for this back-to-school issue, NGS Education Director Angela Packer McGhie surveys the changing landscape of education and its variety of options to suit individual needs—from self-study to formal courses—based on preferred learning style and other factors.

Genealogical societies can contribute to the education of members by offering special interest groups (SIGs) and small study groups as part of their programming. Cari Taplin discusses the operation of both types of groups and the tendency for member interaction to lead to more active participation in society projects.

Another way to go back to school is to visit university libraries, which can be intimidating to many genealogists. Tim Pinnick explains how to tap their wealth of resources for African American history and genealogy in databases, microfilm, government documents, journals, books, and theses and dissertations.

Resources produced by and for students can add depth and character to family histories. Gail Shaffer Blankenau demonstrates the targeted, well-researched information in dissertations and theses, which have become more available due to digitization and databases allowing public access. Thomas Stephen Neel examines the types of photos, community context, and glimpses of personality that appear in high school and college yearbooks.

In the final back-to-school article, Kathy Petlewski compares the evolution of educational systems in three colonies (Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia) to explore the likely experiences of ancestors and the availability of some colonial school records.

NARA archivist Claire Kluskens describes the scope and uses of a significant source for veterans and their families: the set of original bounty land warrant application files at the National Archives. NGS and NARA recently announced a joint project to increase accessibility by indexing and digitizing the 360,000 files.

The issue wraps up with Carla Cegielski’s investigation of search engines for identifying and accessing genealogical content, including general and genealogy-specific search engines, and Paul Woodbury’s analysis of potential clues in the profiles of mystery DNA matches for determining their identities, building their family trees, and ultimately discovering how they are related.



  • Bounty Land Warrant Application Files by Claire Kluskens 
  • Genealogy Education: A Changing Landscape by Angela Packer McGhie, CG, FUGA
  • University Libraries and African American Research by Tim Pinnick 
  • Using Theses and Dissertations to Enhance Family History by Gail Shaffer Blankenau, MA
  • What Can Genealogists Learn from Yearbooks? by Thomas Stephen Neel, MLIS


  • PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE by Kathryn M. Doyle
  • EDITOR'S NOTE by Deb Cyprych
  • NEWS
  • 2023 NGS Awards and Competition Results Announced by Judy Nimer Muhn
    • Form Strong Membership Bonds in SIGs and Study Groups by Cari Taplin, CG
    • Roots of Education in America: A Comparison of Colonial Experiences by Kathy Petlewski, MSLS
    • Search Engines for Genealogy by Carla S. Cegielski
    • Considering Every Clue in the Identification of Mystery Matches 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.

10 July 2023

NGSQ June 2023 Issue is Now Online

Myrtle Eva Mapes (Porter) Dewein, ca. 1883

The June 2023 Issue of the NGSQ is Now Online

The June 2023 issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volume 111, Number 2, is available online in the members-only section of the website and printed issues are being prepared for mailing. The USPS is still experiencing delays in some areas for the delivery of print copies. We apologize if your print copy is affected.


  • “A Charming Scoundrel and a Tragic Victim— Charles Mapes and Maggie McBurney of Rock Island County, Illinois: Biological Parents of Myrtle Eva (Porter) Dewein” by Karen Stanbary, CG

  •  “A Family for John and Rosannah (Hogg) Howard of Rhode Island, Vermont, and New York” by Mack D. “Skip” Duett
  •  “Was Nancy a Northamer? DNA Helps Identify a Revolutionary War Militiaman’s Daughter” by Catherine Becker Wiest Desmarais, CG
  • “Parents for Apprentice Thomas Collins of Monks Kirby, Warwickshire, England” by Allen R. Peterson, AG, CG

  • Knowing How to See
  • Cold and Lonely Nights?
  • Memory Test
  • Politics Run Deep
  • Bold Predictions of Rain, Sun, or Maybe Snow

The National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) is published four times per year, in March, June, September, and December. The journal is edited by Margaret R. Fortier, CG, and Mary Kircher Roddy, CG.

26 June 2023

NGS Releases New Book: Research in the District of Columbia

NGS Publishes An Invaluable Guidebook of Federal 
and District of Columbia Genealogical Resources
The National Genealogical Society (NGS) has published a new book in its Research in the States series, Research in the District of Columbia by Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG Retired (2021), FUGA, and Richard G. Sayre, CG®, CGL, FUGA.

Available exclusively in print format, it offers a detailed overview of the many repositories and records for family historians researching ancestors who may have lived in the District of Columbia (DC) as well as anyone for whom a federal record may exist such as:
  • someone who served in the military,
  • an employee of the federal government,
  • a prisoner of war,
  • someone convicted in federal court, or
  • immigrants who applied for citizenship
Given the scope of records housed in DC, Research in the District of Columbia is a welcomed and invaluable guide for new and seasoned genealogists.

Published by NGS, Research in the District of Columbia is one volume in the Research in the State series edited by Barbara Vines Little,  CG®, FNGS, FVGS. It is available for purchase in the NGS online store exclusively in a print version. Other books in the series are available in print or as a PDF download.


01 June 2023

NGS Honors Excellence in Volunteerism and Service

NGS Presents Awards Honoring Excellence in Volunteerism and Service

The National Genealogical Society began its four-day Family History Conference in Richmond, Virginia, on 1 June 2023 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Following the Opening Session’s keynote address, entitled “Diverse from the Beginning” by Christy S. Coleman, executive director, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, NGS Awards Chair Judy Nimer Muhn presented several awards to honor the conference’s local volunteer leadership and to recognize the winners of the NGS Newsletter Competition and the Rubincam Youth Writing Competition. Also presented were the Genealogy Tourism Award, the President’s Citation, Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern Lifetime Achievement Award, and The Shirley Langdon Wilcox Award for Exemplary Volunteerism.

President’s Citation
The President’s Citation is given in recognition of outstanding, continuing, or unusual contributions to genealogy or the National Genealogical Society. Janet A. Alpert, FNGS, was awarded the 2023 President’s Citation, honoring her many years of service to the NGS. She served on the NGS Board from 2004–2012 as secretary (2004–2006) and president (2006–2010). In 2014, she was named a Fellow of NGS. She has served in a leadership role for every conference since 2009 and has been Conference Committee chair for the last five years. She returned to the board for a second term from 2019–2022. The President’s Citation also recognized Alpert for her ten years of service for the Records Access and Preservation Coalition (RPAC), which she has chaired since 2013.

Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern Lifetime Achievement recognizes an individual whose positive influence and leadership have fostered unity and helped make family history a vital force in the community. This year’s award recipient is Angela Walton-Raji. Walton-Raji is a founding member of MAAGI, the Midwest African-American Genealogy Institute, and is known nationally for her genealogical and historical research and work with Oklahoma Native American records. She is a leader in the genealogy arena who encourages family history research regarding the freedmen of the five civilized tribes and much more.

The Lou D. Szucs Distinguished Service Award recognizes exemplary contributions to the mission of NGS. This year Diane MacLean Boumenot received the award for her outstanding service to NGS. Boumenot worked for more than two years to coordinate the work of a team that reviewed content for the new NGS Advanced Skills in Genealogy course in support of the NGS Education Director Angela McGhie, CG.

Shirley Langdon Wilcox Volunteerism for Exemplary Volunteerism recognizes a volunteer whose generosity of spirit and time has greatly benefited the National Genealogical Society and the genealogical community in general. This year the Society is honoring two awardees.

Deborah Lebo Hoskins, CPA, was elected treasurer to the NGS board of directors in May 2018 and began her first two-year term on 1 October 2018. She served a second term as treasurer from 1 October 2020–30 September 2022. Hoskins significantly provided hours of support and expertise when NGS and the Federation of Genealogical Societies merged.

Darcie Hind Posz, CG, served as an awards committee judge for seven years, during which time she devoted many hours reviewing award nominations. She also served NGS as editor of NGS Magazine (January 2015–September 2016), and as a member of the Nominating Committee for positions on the NGS Board in 2020.

The Award of Merit is presented to an individual or non-profit genealogical or historical organization to recognize exceptional contributions to the field of genealogy over a period of five or more years. Their work must have significantly aided research or increased interest in genealogy. This year the NGS board of directors presented the award to the following distinguished leaders in our sector:

Jill Morelli, CG, who has been a speaker, society leader, and networker for years in the genealogy community. Morelli was recognized for the significant time, energy, and expertise she dedicated to the establishment and support of the Certification Discussion Group. The Group helps genealogists understand and progress through the Board for Certification of Genealogist’s certification process to become Certified Genealogists.

Dr. Shelley Viola Murphy. For the past ten years, Dr. Shelley Murphy has dedicated her life to educating others about African American research and genealogy in general. She has served as president, course coordinator, and instructor at the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI), as coordinator of genealogy education for the Center of Family History at the new International African American Museum, and more.

David M. McCorkle. McCorkle was nominated for this award by a group of genealogists for his work in digitizing and providing easy and free access to records of critical importance to North Carolina researchers. Those efforts included the creation of the free website North Carolina Land Grants Images and Data to make North Carolina's land entry and grant records accessible and the creation of a nonprofit for the North Carolina Historical Records Online.

Patricia M. Gailes. Patricia M. Gailes was recognized for her many roles in Southeastern Massachusetts, including as the former vice president of Bristol Chapter, Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, Inc. (MSOG, INC.), for the creation of a genealogy research room at the local library, and for obtaining grant funding through the Massachusetts Cultural Council to cover speaker fees for the Chapter. Patricia has served as vice president of Dighton Historical Society, Inc., and chairman of the Dighton Historical Commission for the town.

Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI). The Institute has grown over the last ten years and has taken its place as a trusted educational and training institute for the beginner, the intermediate researcher, and the professional. Today MAAGI welcomes a record number of participants from multiple states.

The Genealogy Tourism Award is awarded to the following leaders in the promotion of local genealogy research.

Miriam Weiner was nominated for this award because of her significant and long-term focus on the Jewish records and archives of Eastern Europe, notably Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, and more. Building relationships with archivists and government officials, Weiner has opened doors for researchers from across the world. She has augmented this work by leading tour groups at these repositories. Weiner’s development of relationships fostered good will and key records access and preservation in areas and countries with frequent conflicts and lack of resources and staffing that would have resulted in record loss.

Homestead National Historical Park. Homestead National Historical Park actively works to educate and share the enormous impact of the Homestead Act of 1862. In 2019, it received digital assets from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln-Center of Great Plains Study about six black homesteading communities. The park’s job is to share those stories on their website as the Black Homesteaders Project. This Project grew to an innovative collaborative effort between the Homestead National Historic Park and descendants of homesteaders, researchers, genealogists, and volunteers.

The Library of Virginia. The Library of Virginia (LVA) is the premier destination for Virginia family history researchers through its in-person and online programs. It also utilizes social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and the Virginia state tourism site to reach thousands of people to spread the word about the exciting historic sites and repositories found throughout Virginia.

New York Genealogical & Biographical Society (NYG&B). For more than a decade, the NYG&B has organized research trips every year to New York City and Albany, New York. The research trips to New York City and Albany offer guided tours and lectures by the NYG&B and consulting NYC experts for researchers seeking to learn about the most important collections in local libraries and archives.

The conference continues through Saturday, 3 June 2023.

Copyright © 2023 National Genealogical Society (NGS), all rights reserved.
National Genealogical Society · 6400 Arlington Blvd · Suite 810 · Falls Church, VA 22042-2318 · USA

31 May 2023

Press Release: NGS to Acquire Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP)


National Genealogical Society to Acquire Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh
RICHMOND, VA, 31 MAY 2023—The National Genealogical Society (NGS) and the partners of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), LLC, a Pennsylvania limited liability company, today announced an agreement for NGS to acquire GRIP’s assets and take over management of the institute as of 1 October 2023.
GRIP, LLC, co-owned by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, and Deborah Lichtner Deal, is a leading provider of in-depth genealogical education. The co-directors have decided to step back after managing the institute for twelve years. “We are so proud of Elissa and Debbie’s work to build GRIP into a top genealogical education provider,” said President Kathryn M. Doyle. “We are pleased they chose NGS to steward GRIP into the future.”
Powell and Deal founded GRIP in 2011. The institute has hosted almost 5,000 students in more than 170 courses since the first institute was held at LaRoche College (now University) in 2012. Powell and Deal will remain involved, serving as ambassadors and on the GRIP steering committee, but will give up day-to-day operations.
GRIP will continue providing in-depth genealogy education in-person and virtually under NGS’s stewardship. GRIP will be positioned in NGS’s education department and report to NGS Education Director Angela McGhie, CG, FUGA. NGS members will receive discounts on GRIP registrations.
“GRIP has always provided a friendly atmosphere where students and faculty alike feel supported in their educational goals,” said Powell. “With NGS’s education mission, this tradition will continue and is a natural fit. Debbie and I look forward to our continued involvement with NGS and will finally be able to be students in the wonderful GRIP courses.” According to Deal, “NGS is an excellent organization that prides itself in providing quality education. We are confident they will continue our mission and support students and faculty in education.”
“Genealogy institutes are important to those ready for in-depth study of genealogy topics,“ said McGhie, who has taught at GRIP and other genealogy institutes for years. “This acquisition will help NGS serve the educational needs of many in the genealogical community.”
“The institute setting is an amazing way to advance a learner’s knowledge and skills,” said Matt Menashes, CAE, executive director of NGS. “By bringing family historians together, GRIP significantly advances student learning through shared problem-solving. It will be great to collaborate with the coordinators and instructors to build on the wonderful learning experience at GRIP.”
“We look forward to working with Debbie and Elissa over the coming years to ensure GRIP remains a vital part of the genealogy education world,” said Doyle. “As a GRIP attendee myself, I am so happy that NGS can support additional learning opportunities through the institute model.”
#   #   #
Contact: Matt Menashes, CAE
Phone: 703-525-0050
Email: [email protected]
Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society inspires, connects, and leads the family history community by fostering collaboration and best practices in advocacy, education, preservation, and research. We enable people, cultures, and organizations to discover the past and create a lasting legacy. The Falls Church, Virginia, based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian.
Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, and Deborah Lichtner Deal began GRIP’s formation in 2011, and the first institute was held in July 2012. Powell is an experienced institute educator, and Deal ran a week-long genealogical workshop week at the Ohio Genealogical Society Library. GRIP is typically held in person at LaRoche University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but expanded online during the pandemic. The 2023 institute is 18-23 June (virtual) and 9-14 July (LaRoche University).
Copyright © 2023 National Genealogical Society (NGS), all rights reserved.
National Genealogical Society · 6400 Arlington Blvd · Suite 810 · Falls Church, VA 22042-2318 · USA