20 May 2020

NGS Awards Excellence in Genealogy Scholarship and Service


NGS Announced Today 
Its 2020 Award & Competition Winners
During NGS 2020 Live!

Today, during NGS 2020 Live!—the first segment of our Virtual Family History Conference—Janet L. Bailey, chair of the NGS Awards Committee, announced the winners of our 2020 awards and competitions. The following awards recognize excellence, achievement, and genealogical service.

National Genealogy Hall of Fame:  George Ely Russell, CG® FASG, FNGS

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.

This year George Ely Russell who was nominated by the American Society of Genealogists, was elected to the National Genealogy Hall of Fame. Born in Niagara Falls, New York, on 24 November 1927, George died in Ijamsville, Maryland, on 9 January 2013.

In 1955, Russell started what became a massive output of genealogical articles and books, reaching around 150 publications. From 1970 to 1986, he served as editor of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) bringing it to its highest scholarly standards. NGSQ became recognized as “one of the four leading genealogical journals,” the position it holds today. For several years, he was editor and publisher of Genealogical Periodical Annual Index, a pioneer publication in that field. His numerous articles on early Maryland families represent a significant contribution to the literature. As a lecturer at major genealogical conferences, he was an inspiration, mentor, and teacher to many aspiring genealogists.

Over the years, Russell also served on the NGS Council; was a contributing editor for The American Genealogist (1982–1993); a contributing editor for the Western Maryland Genealogy (1985–2013); and founder and first president of the Prince George’s County (MD) Genealogical Society (1969). He was the recipient of the NGS Distinguished Service Award (1978); a Fellow, American Society of Genealogists (1980–2013); a Fellow, National Genealogical Society (1981); and a board-certified associate (Certified Genealogist®) of the Board for Certification of Genealogists® (1967–2012).

Russell was a man with a dry sense of humor that was enjoyed by many. He was dedicated, knowledgeable, and a wonderful friend to those who were fortunate to know him personally. His legacy of accumulated genealogical material will be valuable to generations to come.

NGS Fellow:  Ronald Ames Hill, PhD, CG, CGLSM

NGS Fellows are recognized for their outstanding work in genealogy or the related fields of history, biography, or heraldry, in addition to outstanding service to the National Genealogical Society. This year’s Fellow is Ronald Ames Hill of Portland, Oregon.

Hill is among the most prolific NGSQ authors. To date, the journal has published eighteen of his articles. He has written another thirty genealogical articles that have appeared in other publications. Hill has served on NGSQ’s editorial board for seventeen years. In that capacity, he provides the editors and prospective authors detailed and helpful advice and critiques of papers submitted for publication consideration.

A former NGS board member and conference speaker, Hill also has spoken at Federation of Genealogic Societies and GenTech conferences, the North American Cornish Genealogy Seminar, and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. One of his eight model family histories won the 2008 NGS Award of Excellence for a Genealogy and Family History Book.

The President’s Citation:  Ric Murphy

The President’s Citation is given in recognition of outstanding, continuing, or unusual contributions to genealogy or the Society. Ric Murphy, national vice president for history, for the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, (AAHGS) is this year’s recipient of the President’s Citation. The award recognizes Murphy for his extraordinary career as an educator, historian, scholar, lecturer, and award-winning author.  His work explores the roles and rich contributions made by African Americans in United States history.

As a direct result of his groundbreaking research, Murphy learned that his African American family lineage dates to the earliest colonial periods of Plymouth, Massachusetts, and Jamestown, Virginia.  In 1983 he submitted his mother’s application to the Daughters of the American Revolution where she became the first African American woman during modern times to descend from an African American Revolutionary solider, an enslaved man named Caesar Russell.

Through his leadership, he has helped residents of communities of color understand the historical and genealogical importance of the African diaspora, and the importance of personal genealogical research, and learning about and connecting to their African roots.  He has conducted training sessions helping Americans of African descent to find their Revolutionary War ancestors and has assisted many to become members of the lineage societies of Daughters and the Sons of the American Revolution. He is one of the founders and charter members of the only African American lineage society, the Sons and Daughters of the United States Middle Passage.

He recently chaired AAHGS’s 400th Commemoration Commission, bringing attention to the arrival of the first documented Africans in English North America in 1619, at Point Comfort in the Virginia colony; and helped to guide the organization in recording the historic contributions and achievements of Americans of African descent over a four-hundred-year period.

The Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship:  Kris Rzepczynski

The Filby Award, sponsored by ProQuest since 2006, with its $1,000 prize, is presented to Kris Rzepczynski, senior archivist, the Archives of Michigan, Lansing, Michigan.

State Archivist Mark Harvey says Rzepczynski, “embodies the many aspects of an exemplary genealogical librarian/archivist.” He worked with the Abrams Family Historical Collection, at the Library of Michigan from 1998-2012.  In 2012, he moved, with the Collection, to the Archives of Michigan.  He continued hosting the Abrams Family History Seminar and introduced researcher “lock-ins” the night before seminar, drawing up to fifty researchers who could get one-on-one research attention from a team of family history archivists and librarians.

Rzepczynski regularly writes articles on genealogy research tips and book reviews for the Trace, the magazine of the Archives of Michigan, and averages 30-40 presentations per year, from New York state throughout Michigan and west to Montana.  His work and infectious enthusiasm for family history has helped many researchers clear log jams in their research and inspired them to help others.

Working tirelessly to promote archival collections, assist researchers, Rzepcyznski still finds time to preserve the collections for the future. Currently, he oversees the acquisition of many Michigan county records that will be housed at the Archives of Michigan. He works with Family Search on digitizing records such as the Michigan Naturalization Project and the Michigan Probate Project.


The Conference Award of Honor is presented to the Utah Genealogical Association, Kelly Summers, president, in recognition of the Association’s dedication and sustained service in support of the 2020 NGS Family History Conference.

Conference Certificates of Appreciation are given to those who worked unstintingly to plan this year’s conference.  The honorees include: Conference Chair Luana Darby, Conference Blog Editor Valerie Elkins, Hospitality Chair Rebecca Dalton, Librarians’ Day Moderator Kim Harrison, Local Events Chairs Katrena Mortenson and Zachary Hamilton. Local Host Committee Chair Tristan Tolman, AG; Registration Chair Suzannah Beasley, AG;  Local Publicity Chair Erin Pritchett; Vendor Support Co-Chairs Pat Richley-Erickson and Gordon Erickson; and Volunteer Chair Ken Smith.

NGS COMPETITIONS 
The NGS Newsletter Competition honors excellence in newsletter editorship in three categories:

Major Genealogical and/or Historical Societies
This year’s winner is The Virginia Genealogical Society Newsletter, published by the Virginia Genealogical Society, Orange, Virginia, and edited by Deborah R. Harvey.

Local Genealogical and/or Historical Societies
The winner is The Heritage, newsletter of the Gwinnett Historical Society, Lawrenceville, Georgia, edited by Miriam Machida.

Honorable mention: The Newsletter of the Irish Family History Forum, Long Island, New York, edited by Jim Regan.

Family Associations. 
The 2020 recipient is The Hungerford World Tree, newsletter of The Hungerford Family Foundation, Inc., in Bonita Springs, Florida, edited by Charles C. Morgan.

Honorable Mention:  The Seeley Genealogical Society Newsletter, edited by Paul Taylor.


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 George L Findlen, CG, CGL, of Madison, Wisconsin. The title of his book is Our Acadian Martin Family History; The First Four Generations, 1650-1800.
Honorable mention: Cdr. Stephen F. Snell, USN (Ret.) for his book, Descendants of Thomas Snell (1634-1725): of Fillongley, Warwickshire, England and Bridgewater, Plymouth.

Award for Excellence: Genealogical Methods and Sources
Robert C Anderson, FASG, is this year’s recipient. The title of his book is Puritan Pedigrees: The Deep Roots of the Great Migration to New England.

Award for Excellence: National Genealogical Society Quarterly
Melinda Daffin Henningfield, CG, of Ashland, Oregon, received the Award for Excellence for her article, “A Family for Mary (Jones) Hobbs Clark of Carroll County, Arkansas,” published in the March 2019 issue of the NGSQ.

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.

Jason DiRusso of Vestavia Hill, Alabama, is the winner of this year’s Senior Category for students in grades ten through twelve. The title of his entry is “The Family History of a Boy and His Dog.”

Andrea Bergamaschi, of Fossombrone, Italy, is the winner of the Junior Rubincam Youth Award for students in grades seven through nine. The title of her entry is “A Dad, my Superhero: Life of Valerio Bergamaschi.”

Honorable mentions were presented to Logan Starkey, of Malvern, Arkansas, (Senior Category) for his paper, “Up Close and Personal with Four Generations,” and Elizabeth Bradshaw of Centerville, Virginia, (Junior Category) for her paper, “Carline Grove: A Biography.”

The National Genealogical Society congratulates all of the 2020 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.

NGS asks you to help us with next year’s awards.  You probably know an individual or organization who exemplifies the qualities we honor with our awards. You may know someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of genealogy, or maybe you have been impressed with a local newsletter.  Please consider nominating them or encourage someone to enter one of our competitions. 

15 May 2020

Today—Last Chance to Register for NGS 2020 Live!



Last Chance to Register for NGS 2020 Live! 

Today is the last day to register to participate in the NGS 2020 Live! event on 20 May, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (EDT)—the first segment of the NGS Virtual Conference. Registration closes at 11:59 p.m. (EDT) today.

NGS 2020 Live! kicks off the NGS Virtual Conference featuring five great speakers. These five lectures are the first of over 85 lectures to be offered as part of the amazing line-up for NGS’s On-Demand lecture portion of the virtual conference ready for you on 1 July.

  • “Validating Unsourced Online Information,” Thomas Wright Jones, PhD, CG®, FASG, FUGA, FNGS
  • “Breaker Boys and Spinner Girls: Child Labor Laws and Their Records,” Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGLSM 
  • “Echoes of the Women Who have Gone Before—Celebrating Women’s Suffrage,” Steffani Raff  
  • “Turning Witnesses into Evidence,” Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA
  • “What If? Learning About DNA Through Case Studies,” Blaine T. Bettinger, PhD,


NGS 2020 Live! also includes product sessions from our Platinum Sponsors, Ancestry, FamilySearch, and FamilyTreeDNA; the NGS Awards program; live chat; Q&A;  25 drawings for genealogy-related prizes, and more! To participate in NGS 2020 Live! and win prizes you must register by 11:59 p.m. (EDT) today, 15 May, to receive your invite to the streaming event. 

The second component of your registration to the NGS Virtual Family History Conference is NGS 2020 On-Demand!, which begins on 1 July. This two-part conference is a tremendous value. Your registration includes both NGS 2020 Live! and NGS 2020 On-Demand! You can select one of three package levels. Each offers a choice of more than 85 lecture sessions to build a package from. Any package you register for includes repeat viewing of the five-featured lectures from the NGS 2020 Live! event at your convenience after 1 July until 15 May 2021. 

Starting in June, Playback Now will contact registrants and ask you to select from the more than 85 lecture topics offered as part of NGS 2020 On-Demand! to build your package of audio-visual presentation recordings. Access to these recordings begins 1 July and includes repeat viewing for your selected sessions until 15 May 2021, plus over ten additional sponsored bonus lectures, as well as the five-featured lectures from NGS 2020 Live! You can start to review the current list of lecture sessions and bonus sponsored lectures at the NGS Conference website.

Register before midnight tonight, Friday, 15 May, for one of these three package options.  

  • The “Full” Package includes registration for the NGS 2020 Live! virtual conference on 20 May; streaming access to your choice of twenty NGS 2020 On-Demand! sessions from 1 July 2020 through 15 May 2021; an electronic copy of the virtual conference syllabus, and sponsored bonus lectures.
  • The “Works” Package includes everything in the Full Package with an additional twenty-five NGS 2020 On-Demand! sessions you select (a total of 45 lectures you choose), a USB with audio recordings of ALL the recorded sessions (more than 100 hours of audio content that can also be streamed to your mobile device). Plus, the sponsored bonus lectures.
  • NGS 2020 “Light” Package includes registration for the NGS 2020 Live! virtual conference on 20 May; an electronic copy of the virtual conference syllabus; and ten NGS 2020 On-Demand! sessions of your choice. You also will receive access to the full list of sponsored bonus lectures.
Be part of NGS 2020 Live! Register now to join us along with more than one thousand genealogy enthusiasts and enjoy the first part of the NGS Virtual Conference streaming to your computer or mobile device on 20 May.

For more information about NGS 2020 Live! and NGS 2020 On-Demand! or to register, visit our conference website.


12 May 2020

In Memoriam: Life Member James Robert Bentley (1942–2020)

James Robert Bentley
James Robert Bentley (1942–2020)
The National Genealogical Society learned of the death of life member James Robert Bentley at his home Wednesday, 8 April 2020. 

Bentley joined NGS in 1979. He was a major contributor to the field of genealogy. A Louisville native, Mr. Bentley served as editor and publisher of The Kentucky Genealogist 1979–1986.

A full list of his accomplishments and genealogical contributions is included in his online obituary available via The Daily Mining Gazette and Louisville Courier Journal

04 May 2020

Free Access to NGS Monthly Archives Through 31 July 2020




National Genealogical Society 
Providing Free Access to
NGS Monthly Archives Through 31 July 2020


During this time when so many Americans must stay at home, the National Genealogical Society (NGS) is offering non-members free access to five years of NGS Monthly. Starting immediately through 31 July 2020, everyone interested in family history can read insightful articles in our digital publication archive.

Edited and authored by Aaron Goodwin, an award-winning genealogist, NGS Monthly’s articles help researchers of all levels. The articles offer family historians invaluable insights on methodology and digestible recommendations on genealogical research by considering the techniques of skilled researchers and scholars, and how they solved difficult research problems. Topics often examine valuable lessons in case studies published in the scholarly NGS Quarterly to help readers understand how to apply new concepts to their own work.

The October 2019 issue’s “Land Evidences and Geographic Clues: Mapping As a Research Tool,” was especially popular among members. Goodwin examined an NGS Quarterly article by Rachal Mills Lennon[1]. Lennon’s article showcased how she used mapping activities and associations of eighteenth-century Solomon Harper, whose name appeared in multiple locations in South Carolina, to determine if he was one and the same man.

In the February 2020 issue of NGS Monthly, “The Creation of Leap Year and Its Effects on Genealogy” gave a nod to the leap year and used the opportunity to review how calendars have changed over the centuries. These changes are of critical importance to family history researchers. Goodwin explained the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars, and noted that though the Gregorian calendar was commissioned in 1582, some areas of Europe did not begin using it until the eighteenth century.

These articles from Goodwin and many more, as well as dozens from former editors Laura DeGrazia and Melissa Johnson in the NGS Monthly archives, can provide genealogists and family historians hours of fascinating reading and will help them advance their skills as they continue to build their family tree. This free opportunity is available now until 31 July 2020.

You can also access the NGS Monthly archives by going to:

NGSgenealogy.org > Learning Center > NGS Monthly > Archives.

We wish you all the best during these challenging times. Stay well!

[1] Rachal Mills Lennon, “Southern Strategies: Merging Identities by Mapping Activities and Linking Participants—Solomon Harper of South Carolina’s Lowcountry,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 107 (September 2019): 165–184; PDF, NGSQ Archives (https://www.ngsgenealogy.org/ngsq/ : 14 October 2019).

29 April 2020

The April–June 2020 Issue of NGS Magazine is Now Online



The April–June 2020 issue of NGS Magazine, Volume 46, Number 2, is available online in the Members Only section of the website and will be mailed to members in the coming weeks. Log in soon to read the article about the virtual NGS 2020 Family History Conference and its 15 May registration deadline. If you have not already discovered the pleasure of reading the digital edition of NGS Magazine, we urge you to start with this issue. Editor, Deb Cyprych and Designer, Mikayle Stole have worked tirelessly to bring you excellent and informative articles in a pleasing format with beautiful color images. Many of us at NGS can’t wait to see and read the digital version and then savor it all over again when the print version arrives. We hope you enjoy reading each issue as much as we do!

EDITOR'S NOTE by Deb Cyprych

This spring, while people around the world stay at home to slow the spread of COVID-19, workers are risking their health to provide medical care and other essential services. Dedicated to the spirit of these heroes, this issue highlights the records of ancestral military veterans who risked their welfare to serve their country.

In gratitude for the work done by military personnel, Congress passed a series of acts to award bounty land to enlistees and veterans for service between 1790 and 1855. Susan Goss Johnston demonstrates that far more veterans applied for bounty land than for pensions, and that their applications are becoming more accessible. These files, which are not identical to the warrants and patents found in online databases, may offer detailed information.

American citizenship was granted to three hundred thousand immigrants who served in US military forces during World War I. Since the process occurred in military camps usually far from the soldiers’ homes, their records can be hard to find. Debra M. Dudek addresses the myths associated with these naturalizations, access to the records, and the types of information in petitions, naturalization certificate files, and Alien Papers.

Some immigrants provided military service opposed to the United States. During the Revolutionary War, King George III of Great Britain negotiated treaties with the rulers of six German principalities to furnish so-called Hessian soldiers to fight against the American patriots. Craig R. Scott outlines the process for researching ancestors among the five thousand soldiers who remained in North America.

Descendants may not even be aware that their ancestors served in the military. Kathy Petlewski explains how to thoroughly check the census columns requesting brief information about military service in 1840, 1890, 1910, 1930, 1940, and 1950 (after its release in 2022). Some state censuses also requested information about veterans.

In this issue’s other articles, Teri E. Flack describes the history and achievements of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, Paul Woodbury explains the biological aspects that control DNA inheritance, and Carla Cegielski covers the value and process of using RSS feeds to receive useful information.

Annette Burke Lyttle reveals that the opposition of Quakers to slavery evolved over time. Focusing on the Friends of the Philadelphia area, she illustrates that early Quakers participated in the purchase and sale of enslaved people, while later Friends forbade such transactions but tolerated slaveholding until it was prohibited in 1776. The records of many monthly meetings contain manumissions and personal details.

To see the digital issues of NGS Magazine in color for the last three years, visit https://www.ngsgenealogy.org/magazine/archives and log in as a member. Issues from 2005 to date are searchable individually, and all URLs mentioned in the articles are hyperlinked to the corresponding websites.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Features

  • NATIONAL GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY 2021 FAMILY HISTORY CONFERENCE Virginia: Deep Roots of a Nation
  • Five Things to Know about FGS before the Merger by Teri E. Flack
  • An Underutilized Treasure: Bounty Land Warrant Applications by Susan Goss Johnston
  • Researching Hessian Soldiers in the Revolutionary War by Craig R. Scott, CG, FUGA
  • Immigrant Ancestors in World War I Military Naturalizations by Debra M. Dudek
  • Quakers and Slavery in the City of Brotherly Love by Annette Burke Lyttle

Departments

  • PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE NGS and the New Normal by Ben Spratling
  • NGS NEWS 
    NGS 2020 Family History Conference is Now Virtual by Jan Alpert, NGS Conference Chair, and Luana Darby, 2020 Conference Chair
  • REFERENCE DESK 
    Finding Veterans in Federal Census Records by Kathy Petlewski, MSLS
  • DNA DISCOVERY 
    The Biological Journey of DNA Inheritance: From Meiosis to Fertilization by Paul Woodbury
  • TECH TIPS 
    Using RSS Feeds for Productivity by Carla S. Cegielski


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.

28 April 2020

Registration Open for NGS 2020 Live! Virtual Conference


Registration Now Open for the 
NGS 2020 Live! Virtual Conference

Register now for our Virtual Family History Conference starting with NGS 2020 Live! on 20 May, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (EDT). In addition, conference registrants will receive streaming access to your choice of up to 45 On-Demand! audio-video sessions from 1 July 2020 through 15 May 2021; an electronic copy of the conference syllabus; and an opportunity to win one of seventeen prizes on 20 May. Registration closes on 15 May 2020. If you were already registered to attend the event in Salt Lake City, your registration will automatically be transferred to the virtual event. For more details, visit the conference website.

NGS 2020 Live! will feature lectures by four of the most renowned genealogy scholars in America, including:

  • “Validating Unsourced Online Information,” Thomas Wright Jones, PhD, CG®, FASG, FUGA, FNGS 
  • “Breaker Boys and Spinner Girls: Child Labor Laws and Their Records,” Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGLSM 
  • “Turning Witnesses into Evidence,” Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA
  • “What If? Learning About DNA Through Case Studies,” Blaine Bettinger, PhD, JD. 


An online chat will take place during each session as well as a short Q&A after each session facilitated by Ann Staley, CG, CGL.

The virtual conference also will include the latest genealogy news in presentations by representatives from Ancestry, FamilySearch, and FamilyTreeDNA. Steffani Raff will give the keynote luncheon talk, “Echoes of the Women Who have Gone Before—Celebrating Women’s Suffrage,” followed by a Q&A. Participants on 20 May also will be eligible to win one of the following prizes:
  • One-year membership to Newspapers.com
  • DNA kit courtesy of Ancestry 
  • One-year World Explorer membership to Ancestry.com
  • One-year Membership to Fold3 
  • A registration to NGS 2021 Family History Conference in Richmond, Virginia

Family historians and genealogists may register for one of three options. The “Full” Package is described above. The “Works” Package includes everything in the Full Package with an additional twenty-five audio-video sessions and a USB with 45 audio recordings. NGS 2020 “Light” Package includes registration for the NGS 2020 Live! virtual conference on 20 May; an electronic copy of the conference syllabus; and ten On-Demand! audio-video sessions.

For more information about NGS 2020 Live! or to register, visit our conference website.

16 April 2020

NGS Announces Move to Virtual Conference for 2020


The National Genealogical Society Announces
2020 Family History Conference Will be Virtual

Due to the continuing spread of COVID-19 across the nation and concern for the health and safety of all those involved in our 2020 Family History Conference, the National Genealogical Society (NGS) has changed its in-person conference to a virtual conference.

Our main priority is to protect the welfare of all attendees, speakers, exhibitors, volunteers, and staff involved in the conference. Therefore, NGS is developing a virtual conference that is a mixture of live and on-demand programming. A full day of NGS 2020 Live! is planned for Wednesday, 20 May, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (EDT). In addition, streaming access to many more sessions will be available starting in July.

In the coming days, we will post specific information relevant to our registrants, speakers, award recipients, exhibitors, and sponsors. We will also let you know how all prior commitments to social events, meals, workshops, and tour fees, as well as registration, will be handled.

Thank you for your patience, understanding, and commitment to NGS as we all make our way through these challenging times.






07 April 2020

Deadline Approach for NGS 2021 Call for Proposals



Deadline Approaching to Submit Lecture Proposals for 
NGS 2021 Family History Conference

Time is running out for speakers to submit lecture proposals for the National Genealogical Society 2021 Family History Conference, Virginia: The Deep Roots of a Nation. The conference will be held in Richmond, Virginia, 19‒22 May 2021. All proposals—including those from organizations interested in sponsoring lectures—must be submitted electronically at https://www.ngsgenealogy.org/call-for-proposals/ by 11:59 p.m. EDT on 15 April 2020.

Seventeenth century, native born Virginian William Byrd II once said, “In the beginning, all America was Virginia.” The first permanent English settlement was established at Jamestown in 1607. Since then immigrants from many countries have made Virginia their home. Some remained for generations while many others moved on to new frontiers to expand, populate, and build a nation. In 1619 the first ship carrying enslaved African Americans arrived in Port Comfort, Virginia. Transcontinental slave trade continued for more than two hundred years. Virginia’s Native American tribes include the Pamunkey, Chickahominy, Upper Mattaponi, Rappahannock, Nansemond, and Monacan. Throughout the centuries, the Virginia General Assembly has been in continuous operation since its first meeting in Jamestown’s church in 1619. Richmond and its surrounding area offer a treasure-trove of resources for family historians.

Conference tracks under consideration include DNA; government records; heritage; immigration, naturalization, and passenger records; land; maps; migrations, trails, and events that affected patterns of settlement; military; organizing methods; repositories; and Virginia and her neighbors. NGS also requests proposals that address the law as it relates to genealogy, methodology, analysis, and problem-solving. NGS encourages proposals that demonstrate methods to help genealogists accurately identify ancestors through reasonably exhaustive research; proper source citations, analysis, and correlation; resolution of conflicts; sound reasoning; and coherent writing.

The NGS 2021 Family History Conference will be the first conference after the merger of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) into the National Genealogical Society. Therefore the conference will dedicate a full day to topics that focus on society management on Tuesday, 18 May 2021. Topics under consideration include best practices, leadership, membership, programs, publications, disaster plans, and record preservation. Suggested formats include lectures, panels, and workshops.

Speakers who wish to submit lecture proposals may submit up to eight proposals electronically by 11:59 p.m. EDT on 15 April 2020.The speaker compensation is described in detail on the website. Please visit the website for details about required speaker information and each submitted proposal.

NGS has a free webinar, Becoming a Better Conference Speaker: Proposals and Preparations, on its YouTube channel. Speakers are encouraged to view the webinar before beginning the proposal process.

NGS members will receive first consideration as speakers. Notifications for acceptance will be issued in August 2020. Syllabus material, due 2 February 2021, is required for each lecture or workshop presentation and will be included in the syllabus distributed to all conference registrants. Speakers are expected to use electronic presentation programs and provide their own digital projector, laptop, and connector to the projector cable. NGS will provide projector support, which consists of a VGA or HDMI cable, cart, and power strip. Internet connections will not be provided in lecture rooms.

Sponsored Lecture Proposals
If your genealogical organization would like to sponsor a lecture, submit proposals to NGS. If your organization would like to sponsor a luncheon, please contact [email protected]. Do not use the sponsored lecture form.