05 November 2019

NGS Awards and Competitions Deadline: 15 December 2019

NGS Awards and Competitions Deadline: 15 December 2019 

Each year the National Genealogical Society (NGS) recognizes excellence in the field of genealogy by presenting awards to honor individuals and organizations for their volunteerism, scholarship, and achievements. Last year NGS presented awards to thirty-four recipients who made outstanding contributions to NGS programs or performed exceptional work in genealogy, history, biography, or heraldry. The honorees hailed from throughout the United States, representing states from coast to coast. The application deadline for the 2020 NGS Awards and Competitions is 15 December 2019.

“We encourage family historians and genealogists to nominate extraordinary individuals and genealogical organizations,” said Janet Bailey, chair of the Society’s Awards Committee. “They may also submit their own applications for our competitions. Our goal is to recognize and celebrate notable contributions to the field of genealogy.” The awards will be presented at the NGS Family History Conference in May 2020 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Award categories include:
  • Award of Merit
  • Distinguished Service Award
  • The Shirley Langdon Wilcox Award for Exemplary Volunteerism
  • Fellow of the National Genealogical Society (FNGS)
  • The Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship

Competitions are as follows:
  • Family History Writing Contest
  • Rubincam Youth Writing Competition
  • Awards for Excellence
    • Genealogy and Family History Book
    • Genealogical Methods and Sources
  • NGS Newsletter Competition
    • Major Genealogical or Historical Societies
    • County/Local Genealogical or Historical Societies
    • Family Associations
Entry forms and full information can be found at the NGS website. Questions can be sent to [email protected].

01 November 2019

NGS Board Selects Matt Menashes as Executive Director

6400 Arlington Blvd., Suite 810
Falls Church, VA 22042-2318
Phone 703-525-0050 or 800-473-0060

Matt Menashes Tapped as Executive Director
of National Genealogical Society 

Matt Menashes
The NGS Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Matt Menashes as the Society’s executive director. A veteran executive with twenty years’ experience in association management, he will begin his employment with NGS on 1 November 2019. Menashes will lead all operational aspects, while working with the Board to develop a shared vision for the future as NGS moves toward a merger with the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) by October 2020.

Menashes comes to NGS from the natural resources sector, where he was a senior executive in associations in outdoor recreation, coastal and marine management, wildlife, and forestry. He has driven increases in member engagement, revenue, and educational programming for multiple organizations. He is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and a longtime member of both the American Society of Association Executives and BoardSource. Menashes currently serves on the Board of Leveling the Playing Field, a charity that provides sports equipment to underserved youth throughout the Washington, DC/Baltimore region.

According to Ben Spratling, president of the NGS Board, Menashes was selected through an extensive process that attracted almost two hundred applicants. “We are excited Matt has accepted the position as our executive director. He has an impressive record of identifying and implementing sustainable, long-term growth strategies and is especially gifted at delivering positive results for members. The NGS Board and staff look forward to the innovation and experience Matt will bring to our organization, especially as we move toward our next phase.”

”I am thrilled to have been chosen to serve as NGS’s executive director and to be welcomed into the genealogy community,” Menashes said. “I look forward to working with our great team at NGS and our colleagues at the Federation of Genealogical Societies to move the merger forward, build on our great service to the community, and expand the ways genealogists share and learn together. What a great time to be joining a field with such a wonderful reputation and such significance for families around the world."
Founded in 1903, the NationalGenealogical 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.

09 October 2019

NGSQ September 2019 Issue Now Online

The September 2019 issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volume 107, Number 3, is available online in the Members Only section of the website. Members should see the new edition in their mailboxes in the next few weeks.



  • Southern Strategies: Merging Identities by Mapping Activities and Linking Participants—Solomon Harper of South Carolina’s Lowcountry by Rachal Mills Lennon, CG, FASG
  • Who Were the Parents of Abigail (Grant) Risley of Canton, St. Lawrence County, New York? by Joan A. Hunter, CG
  • Reexamining the Parentage of Anderson Boon of Lincoln, Marshall, and Obion Counties, Tennessee by Darcie Hind Posz, CG
  • John C. Ahern a.k.a. John Lockren of Sonoma and Alameda Counties, California: Who Were His Parents? by Mary Kircher Roddy, CG


    • A Concept of Time

      • “Bonnie and Clyde” in Reverse
      • Somebody Should Write a Country Song

      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, CG.

      05 October 2019

      NGS Magazine July–Sept 2019 Issue Now Online

      The July-September 2019 issue of NGS Magazine, Volume 45, Number 3, is ready for mailing to members and is available online in the Members Only section of the website.

      EDITOR'S NOTE by Deb Cyprych

      Digital tools and resources have become essential in genealogy. Family historians regularly use websites to access record images, software to organize information, and electronic media to connect with other researchers. This issue highlights two key aspects of digital genealogy and three types of tools that offer research assistance.

      Negative search results in a FamilySearch database could mean that the record doesn’t exist in a particular FamilySearch collection, that the record exists but hasn’t been digitized, or that the record has been digitized but not yet indexed. Robert Raymond outlines an array of techniques for determining the coverage and indexing of FamilySearch record collections, so genealogists can plan their research accordingly.

      Genealogical software programs and websites that host family trees are useful for keeping track of individuals, relationships, and facts, but their flexibility may allow researchers to become inconsistent in data entry methods. Ronald V. Hodges explains the best practices for data entry with detailed examples.

      Donna Cox Baker describes the robust functions of Zotero, a free reference management tool that can store voluminous research and guide the collection of source information. Carla S. Cegielski demonstrates how browser extensions can simplify tasks and ease vexations such as “page not found” error messages. Kathy Petlewski provides an update to her 2013 NGS Magazine article on online family trees with a focus on privacy, sources, DNA, and mobile applications.

      Other articles in this issue feature autobiographies, records preservation, lineage society qualifications, and DNA testing decisions.

      B. Darrell Jackson makes a persuasive argument for the value of asking relatives to write or dictate their own memories. His examples reveal how personal accounts can answer important questions and convey the uniqueness of personality.

      Janet Alpert reports on the broad scope of efforts by the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) to maintain access to vital records, with breaking news about a new model act including shorter embargo periods for birth and death records.

      Bryna O’Sullivan discusses two ways in which Quebec ancestors can qualify for the Sons or Daughters of the American Revolution and lists the variety of patriotic services accepted by DAR. She also details the “last act” policy of SAR and DAR, which can nullify an application if the ancestor performed a Loyalist act after service in support of the Revolution.

      Paul Woodbury, our newest columnist, has helped solve hundreds of genetic genealogy cases for clients. His first DNA Discovery column for NGS Magazine tackles the pressing question of whether genealogists should or should not take a DNA test.

      Phyllis Matthews Ziller, our proofreader extraordinaire for the past seven years, has resigned to focus on other endeavors. Her eagle eye has been a valuable asset, and we wish her well.

      Table of Contents


      • Determining FamilySearch Collection and Index Coverage by Robert Raymond
      • Best Practices for Data Entry in Family Trees by Ronald V. Hodges, PhD
      • Managing Research with Zotero by Donna Cox Baker, PhD
      • Nine Solutions for Stress-Free Web Browsing by Carla S. Cegielski
      • The Case for Autobiography by B. Darrell Jackson, PhD, CG
      • Unexpected Patriots: Finding Ancestors in Quebec Who Qualify for DAR and SAR by Bryna O’Sullivan
      • The "Last Act" Policy of the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution by Bryna O’Sullivan


      • PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE by Ben Spratling
      • EDITOR’S NOTE by Deb Cyprych
      • NGS NEWS 
        • Hotel Reservations Now Open for NGS 2020 Family History Conference
        • NGS Awards and Competitions Deadline: 15 December 2019
        • Nominations to the National Genealogy Hall of Fame
        • Call for Proposals for NGS 2021 Family History Conference
      • Salt Lake City: The Heart of Genealogical Research by Erin Pritchett
      • Records Preservation and Access Committee: Working for Genealogists by Janet A. Alpert
      • REFERENCE DESK Online Family Trees: An Update by Kathy Petlewski, MSLS
      • DNA DISCOVERY To Test or Not to Test? 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.

      02 September 2019

      Celebrate Labor Day with 50% off a MyHeritage complete subscription, valid through 12 September 2019

      A Special Offer From Our Trusted Partner

      The National Genealogical Society has an exclusive offer for our members, friends, and family:

      Celebrate Labor Day with 50% off a MyHeritage complete subscription, valid today through 12 September 2019.
      MyHeritage is an industry-leading platform that makes family history research easy and offers you some of the most advanced tools on the market to overcome genealogical brick walls. MyHeritage search and matching technologies enable you to grow your family tree more easily and make fascinating discoveries about your ancestors.
      Get 50% off the MyHeritage Complete subscription
      The Complete plan gives you full access to all MyHeritage advanced features, including:
      Unlimited family tree size (option to upload a GEDCOM file)
      9.6 billion international historical records
      Automatic Smart Matches™ with millions of family trees
      Automatic Record Matches
      Instant Discoveries™, which can add an entire branch to your family tree with one click
      Consistency Checker, which automatically identifies inaccuracies in your tree
      Advanced DNA features
      Family Tree Builder software premium edition
      Priority customer support via phone and email 24/7
      Hurry up! For a limited time, every NGS member, plus their family, and friends can get a one-year Complete subscription for only $149. Grab this deal before it’s gone!
      Save 50% off now
      *Offer valid for NEW MyHeritage subscribers only, valid through 12 September 2019.

      21 August 2019

      NGS and FGS Announce Intent to Merge

      6400 Arlington Blvd., Suite 810
      Falls Church, VA 22042-2318
      Phone 703-525-0050 or 800-473-0060

      Press Release

      Contact: Kathryn M. Doyle
      Phone: 510-388-6477
      Embargoed until 9:00 a.m. EDT 21 August 2019


      In a historic move, the boards of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) and the Federation of GenealogicalSocieties (FGS) announced today their intent to merge. The two organizations, both non-profit leaders in the dynamic genealogy industry, will form one consolidated group that will continue to operate as the National Genealogical Society. Both boards approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) earlier this week, and jointly announced the news at the Opening Session of the FGS Family History Conference in Washington, D.C., this morning.

      Leaders of both organizations believe this merger will serve the genealogy community by improving support of both individual members and societies in the pursuit of genealogical excellence.

      The organizational structure of NGS will be modified to increase functions that support genealogical societies and family organizations. Digitization projects of genealogical importance such as the War of 1812 pensions will continue. The two organizations will continue to operate independently while all details of the merger are completed, no later than October 1, 2020.

      Faye Stallings, President of FGS, said: “We are excited about this opportunity to combine with a premier organization that has been in operation since 1903. This will allow for improved and expanded services to help support societies.” Ben Spratling, President of NGS, commented, “We look forward to continuing the strong legacy of FGS as a ‘gathering point’ for family historians and societies all across the nation.”

      Founded in 1903, the NationalGenealogical 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.

      15 August 2019

      Hotel Reservations Open 15 August 2019 for the 2020 Family History Conference

      #NGS2020GEN Hotel Reservations Now Open

      Reserve your accommodations starting 15 August 2019 for the National Genealogical Society’s forty-second annual Family History Conference, Echoes of Our Ancestors. 

      The conference will be held 20-23 May 2020 at the Salt Palace Convention Center (SPCC), 100 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah. It will feature more than 150 genealogy lectures on a wide variety of topics including DNA, ethnic sources, historical migrations, immigration, research techniques, specialized collections at the Family History Library, and more.

      NGS offers attendees a choice of several hotels with discounted rates. All are convenient to the convention center. The official conference hotel, the Hilton Salt Lake City Center, is just a short walk from the convention center. The Radisson Hotel Salt Lake City Downtown is located adjacent to the convention center, and the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel is only half a block away. The three hotels offer complimentary wireless internet. 

      As a rule, conference hotels tend to fill quickly, so we recommend making your reservations early 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 sightseeing in the area. Check the hotels’ websites for cancellation rules and for additional amenities. You can find full details and links for discounted, reservations on the NGS conference website.

      Set in the beautiful Wasatch mountain range, Salt Lake City is a sophisticated city with a modern convention center and many great choices for hotels, restaurants, and shops. For family historians, it offers some of the best genealogical research resources in the United States. To learn about research facilities in the area, refer to the conference’s Announcement Brochure on the NGS conference website.

      The four-day NGS 2020 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.