10 May 2019

NGS Awards Excellence in Genealogy Scholarship and Service

NGS Awards Excellence in Genealogy Scholarship and Service at

Family History Conference

At our annual banquet on Friday evening on 10 May at the 2019 Family History Conference in St. Charles, Missouri, NGS presented awards that acknowledge and honor genealogical scholarship and service. The banquet speaker, David E. Rencher, AG, CG®, FIGRS, FUGA, spoke about the precarious future of tombstones in his presentation, “If Carved in Stone, Your Epitaph is Already Disappearing!” Awards Committee chair Janet L. Bailey opened the awards portion of the banquet.

Each year, NGS presents awards to organizations and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to NGS programs or have done outstanding work in the field of genealogy, history, biography, or heraldry.

National Genealogy Hall of Fame
Beginning in 1986, the National Genealogy Hall of Fame program, administered by the National Genealogical Society, has honored outstanding genealogists whose achievements in American genealogy have had a great impact on the field. Qualified nominations are solicited annually from genealogical organizations. Those nominated must have been deceased for at least five years and actively engaged in genealogy for a minimum of ten years.

Their contributions to genealogy in this country need to be significant in a way that was unique, pioneering, or exemplary. Such contributions could have been books or articles that added significantly to the body of published works, served as a model of genealogical research or writing, or made source records more readily available. Nominees could also have been a teacher or lecturer, or a person who contributed to the field through leadership in a genealogical organization or periodical. Entries are judged by a panel of genealogists from various parts of the United States.

This year, George Harrison Sanford King, FASG, who was nominated by the Virginia Genealogical Society, was elected to the National Genealogy Hall of Fame. Born in 1914, he was a life-long resident of Fredericksburg, Virginia. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1935 with a chemistry degree. As a young man he developed an interest in genealogy, emphasizing a scholarly approach to research and documentation. In the 1930s he along with others lobbied the Virginia General Assembly for funds to restore deteriorating records, for which all Virginia researchers are grateful.

King was known as an expert on the complex family relationships of Virginia's Northern Neck, an area that includes what are often referred to as burned counties. Using numerous sources, he made extensive notes and transcriptions on early Virginia families. A card index to his more than 100,000 papers is available at the Virginia Historical Society and abstracts are being published in the Magazine of Virginia Genealogy.

Virginia did not keep early vital records. King recognized the need to find and preserve other source materials. He published record abstracts for many church parish records. He also had the foresight to collect and preserve bible records. He published articles in numerous periodicals. In 1947 he was elected a fellow of the American Society of Genealogists. He was active in many societies and was a registrar for Virginia's Order of the First Families.

King was one of the experts who assisted in the compilation of the first edition, published in 1956, of Adventurers of Purse and Person. This publication has been revised and expanded several times and is considered an essential reference for early Virginia families.

The NGS Fellow
Fellowship in the National Genealogical Society recognizes 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 Connie Miller Lenzen, CG®, of Portland, Oregon.

Lenzen is a highly regarded contributing author to national and local genealogical publications. She won the NGS Quarterly’s 1995 Award of Excellence and is a two-time winner of the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors Award. From 2005 to 2008, she served as president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

Lenzen joined the NGS Board of Directors in 2004. That year the Society was facing financial insolvency and its future was in question. With her fellow board members, she worked tirelessly to ensure its survival. She served on the board for six years, 2004–2010. As chair of the Education Committee, she managed and edited the revised Home Study Course, 2005 revision. By the time she retired from the Board, NGS was again on firm ground. Its membership was strong and its educational programs were flourishing.

The President’s Citation is given in recognition of outstanding, continuing, or unusual contributions to genealogy or the Society. Miriam Weiner, CG Emeritus, was awarded the 2019 President’s Citation, honoring her years of service to the field.

Weiner dedicated her career as a genealogist to discovering and publishing lists of surviving Jewish and civil records from archives throughout Eastern Europe previously thought to have been destroyed during the Holocaust. The New York Jewish Week Newspaper described Weiner as “The Genealogist Who Lifted the Archival Iron Curtain.” In 1990, Weiner organized the first customized Jewish genealogy tours to Eastern Europe. Participants received unprecedented access to archives with family documents, toured ancestral towns, and sometimes met previously unknown relatives. An author of two books, Weiner has received numerous awards for her writing including the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies’ Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Distinguished Service Award recognizes outstanding contributions to the mission of NGS. At the banquet, the Board of Directors presented the award to Terry Koch-Bostic for her outstanding service to NGS as she shepherded the new NGS website from its inception through its launch in October 2018.

Completely redesigned with a focus on the NGS Learning Center, the site includes new content and educational resources for genealogists of all levels and is available to NGS members and the genealogical community at large. Koch-Bostic meticulously managed all phases of this two-year project even as she continued to serve as the NGS vice president and marketing/communications chair.

The Shirley Langdon Wilcox Award 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 over a period of years.

Ann Fleming, CG, CGL, FNGS, of St. Louis, Missouri, is this year’s award recipient. Fleming, who has spent the past two years planning the 2019 NGS Family History Conference, has in fact chaired more than six conferences for NGS as well as numerous events for other societies over the years. Active in local and state organizations, she served as president of the St. Louis Genealogical Society, where she was involved in helping with the creation of the Julius K. Hunter and Friends African American Research Collection established at the St. Louis County Library. She has served NGS as president, vice president, and secretary and was instrumental in preserving the NGS Book Collection by negotiating its move to the St. Louis County Library.

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, which have significantly aided research or increased interest in genealogy. This year the NGS Board of Directors presented awards to three winners.

In recognition of their efforts during the past sixty years, NGS awarded The Florida Genealogical Society, Tampa, Florida, with the Award of Merit.

Founded in 1958, the Florida Genealogical Society is the oldest genealogical society in the state of Florida. It is celebrating sixty years of service to the genealogical community. In addition to monthly educational programs and an annual seminar, the Society has worked on projects that have made genealogical and historical information available to the public. Some of these projects include the digitization and indexing of naturalization records; photographing more than 500 graves; collecting and uploading over 115,000 county cemetery records to FindAGrave; and sorting and indexing 16,000 Burgert Brothers historical photographs depicting Tampa life between 1899 and the 1960s.

The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, received the Award of Merit in recognition of its exceptional contributions to researchers.

The Center brings together collections from more than 230 libraries, archives, museums, and other institutions into a single, searchable website, DigitalNC. Unlike other genealogy sites, DigitalNC’s locally focused content is chosen by community-based librarians, archivists, and curators. The thousands of yearbooks and newspaper pages are just part of this ever-growing archive.

The third Award of Merit was presented to Carolyn Carter of Detroit, Michigan, in recognition of her significant efforts to increase an interest in genealogy.

Carter is a professional genealogist and academic instructor in genealogy at the Wayne County Community College District in Detroit, Michigan. For the past six years, she has designed and taught research methodology and family history techniques to the students in the college’s downtown campus. She helped to maintain and grow the students’ enthusiasm by creating a student genealogy club and by providing opportunities for them to attend genealogy conferences (most recently at the 2018 NGS conference in Grand Rapids) as well as research field trips to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the Allen County Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

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. Entries serve to foster scholarship and/or otherwise advance or promote excellence in genealogy.

Award for Excellence: Genealogy and Family History Book
This year’s recipient is Henry B. Hoff, CG, FASG, of Burke, Virginia, who collaborated with Nancy Sands Maulsby of Greenwich, Connecticut. The title of their book is Ancestors and Descendants of Robert Alfred Sands and Kate Van Volkenburgh: Enduring Relations.

Award for Excellence: Genealogical Methods and Sources
Scott Andrew Bartley of West Roxbury, Massachusetts, is this year’s recipient. The title of his entry is Early Vermont Settlers to 1771, Volume 1—Southern Windsor County.

Award for Excellence: National Genealogical Society Quarterly
Worth Shipley Anderson, JD, of Vienna, Virginia, received the Award for Excellence for his article, “John Stanfield ‘as he is cald in this country’: An Illegitimate Descent in Eastern Tennessee,” published in the June 2018 issue of the NGSQ.

The Rubincam Youth Award 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.

Adriana Sela
of Miami, Florida, is the winner of this year’s Senior Rubincam Youth Award for students in grades ten through twelve. Ms. Sela’s paper documents her maternal ancestry from Ecuador to Miami.

Andre Galistinos of Ridgefield, Connecticut, is the winner of the Junior Rubincam Youth Award for students in grades seven through nine. The title of his entry is “An Unexpected Surprise.”

Honorable mentions were presented to Wyatt Anderson Taylor of Long View, Texas (Senior) for his paper, “The Walkers: A Sawmill Family,” and Tyrone Kearse of New Castle, Delaware (Junior) for his paper, “A Biography of Irving S. Young.”

08 May 2019

NGS Opening Session Awards Presented at 2019 Conference

NGS Presents Awards Honoring Excellence
in Newsletter Editorship and Service to NGS

Today, at the opening session of our four-day Family History Conference in St. Charles, Missouri, President Ben Spratling, JD, presented several awards to honor the conference’s local volunteer leadership and to recognize the winners of the NGS Newsletter Competition. 

The Award of Honor was presented to the St. Louis Genealogical Society, Kay Weber, president, in recognition of the Society’s dedication and sustained service in support of the 2019 NGS conference. 

Certificates of Appreciation were given to committee chairs who worked tirelessly to assure the success of the conference. The honorees included: Local Host Co-Chairs, Kay Weber and Viki Fagyal; Exhibit Co-Chairs, Robert Goode and Robert Cejka; Hospitality Co-Chairs, Karen Goode and Rich Stanton; Local Publicity Chair, Ann Hodges; Registration Co-Chairs, Barbara Larson and Diane Broniec; Social Media Chair, Laura Balluff Mackinson; and Volunteer Chair, Marilyn Brennan.

The winners of the 2019 NGS Newsletter Competition, honoring excellence in newsletter editorship in three categories, were presented to:

Newsletter for a Major Genealogical and/or Historical Society with 500 or more members
Winner: The Tracer, the newsletter of the Hamilton County Genealogical Society, of Cincinnati, Ohio, edited by Eileen Muccino.

Honorable Mention: The Virginia Genealogical Society Newsletter, published by the Virginia Genealogical Society, Orange, Virginia, edited by Deborah Harvey.

Newsletter for Local Genealogical and/or Historical Societies with less than 500 members
Winner: The Newsletter of the Irish Family History Forum, the periodical of the Irish Family History Forum in Long Island, New York, edited by Jim Regan.

Honorable Mention: The Archivist, the newsletter of the Genealogical Society of Bergen County, New Jersey, edited by Michelle D. Novak.

Family Association Newsletter
Winner: The Timen Stiddem Society Newsletter, the newsletter of The Timen Stiddem Society, a family association whose ancestor was among the seventeenth century settlers of New Sweden (now Wilmington), Delaware, edited by Richard L. Steadham.

Honorable Mention: The Hungerford World Tree, the newsletter of The Hungerford Family Foundation, Inc., in Bonita Springs, Florida, edited by Charles C. Morgan.

NGS Magazine January–March 2019 Issue

The January-March 2019 issue of NGS Magazine, Volume 45, Number 1, has been mailed to members and is available online in the Members Only section of the website.

EDITOR'S NOTE by Deb Cyprych

In celebration of the NGS Family History Conference in May in St. Charles, Missouri, this issue explores the history, people, resources, and repositories of Missouri and some of its neighbors. 

French citizens settled in what was New France as early as 1720. After the French and Indian War ended France lost its land west of the Mississippi to Spain, but many French practices continued. Ann Fleming describes the history, cultural influence, and records of early French residents in Missouri and Illinois. 

Germans have left their mark in several states within the Louisiana Purchase: Louisiana, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas. Kathy Petlewski outlines the history of German settlement in these states and cites sources with further information. 

The Homestead Act of 1862 was a prime motivation for millions of settlers to travel west and obtain their own land by meeting the law’s requirements. Gail Blankenau demonstrates the valuable types of information contained in homestead records and explains where to locate them. 

Over two hundred thousand children in New York City and Boston were sent west to new homes because one or both of their parents were unable to care for them, and the managers of orphan asylums believed the children would be better off on farms. Clark Kidder discusses the history and records of the orphan train movement and provides contact information for thirteen asylums. 

Two repositories in Missouri are particularly notable for genealogical research. Cheryl Lang highlights the materials and databases of the Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence, Missouri, three hours from St. Charles. Bryan McGraw lists a variety of records held in the National Archives at St. Louis, with a focus on Individual Deceased Military Personnel Files, and provides details about access. 

In their columns, Claire Prechtel Kluskens features an example of an unusual Civil War accounting record, and Jordan Jones evaluates three types of task management tools. This is the final column by Jordan, NGS Magazine’s expert technology columnist for the past ten years. Many thanks to Jordan for his contributions, which have helped readers enhance their use of technology in genealogical research.

Table of Contents


Early French Citizens in the Upper Mississippi Valley, by Ann Carter Fleming, CG, CGL, FNGS

“A Comfortable Place to Live In”: Using Homestead Files in Family History
by Gail Shaffer Blankenau

Military Individual Deceased Personnel Files by Bryan K. McGraw

Researching Orphan Train Riders by Clark Kidder

Researching at the Midwest Genealogy Center by Cheryl Lang, MLS



EDITOR’S NOTE by Deb Cyprych



German Settlement in Louisiana Purchase Lands by Kathy Petlewski, MSLS
Task Management for Genealogists by Jordan Jones
Accounting for Each Penny: Revelations from Civil War Accounting Records of a Maine Provost Marshal by Claire Prechtel Kluskens


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.

NGS Introduces War of 1812 Records Course

National Genealogical Society Introduces
Its New Online Course: War of 1812 Records

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) is pleased to introduce our new Continuing Genealogical Studies (CGS) course, War of 1812 Records. The course will be available online at the commencement of the NGS 2019 Family History Conference in St. Charles, Missouri, 8-11 May 2019.

War of 1812 Records takes an in-depth look at the wealth of information family historians can access to trace ancestors in this time period. Records include compiled military service, pension, bounty land, Navy and Marine Corps, and prisoner of war records. War of 1812 Records will be available in the NGS online store on 8 May 2019.

Students will develop an understanding of the cause of the war and the genealogical significance of various records associated with it. They will examine and learn how to use numerous records including muster rolls, ship’s logs, diplomatic records, state militia records, and lineage society files. The course also covers African American and Native American participation in the war.

War of 1812 Records was developed by the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) with David Rencher, CG®, Rebecca Koford, CG, Ken Nelson, and Michael Hall as contributing authors. It is divided into fourteen modules which include readings, web links, self-correcting quizzes, practical assignments, and a reading and reference list. War of 1812 Records is the latest and ninth special subject course in the National Genealogical Society’s Continuing Genealogical Studies online learning series.

07 May 2019

NGS Announces Winner of the Filby Award

National Genealogical Society Announces the Winner of the
Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) is pleased to announce that Susan Kaufman, manager of the Houston Public Library’s Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, is the winner of the NGS Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship. The award, along with its $1,000 prize, was presented to Kaufman today at Librarians’ Day, an event held a day in advance of the NGS 2019 Family History Conference in St. Charles, Missouri.

Created in 1999 by NGS, the award is named for the late P. William Filby, former director of the Maryland Historical Society and author of many core genealogical reference tools that genealogists have relied on for decades. It is presented annually at the NGS Family History Conference and has been sponsored by ProQuest and William Forsyth since 2006.

In 2005, Kaufman was appointed manager of the Clayton Library. Previously, she held positions as a genealogy librarian at the Peoria Public Library in Peoria, Illinois, and the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. During her tenure, the Clayton Library has become one of the finest genealogy libraries in the nation with some 100,000 research volumes, 3,000 periodical titles, and an extensive microfilm collection. It also is a FamilySearch affiliate library, which allows patrons to access extensive genealogical records held by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A respected librarian, presenter, and administrator, Kaufman regularly lectures at community, statewide, and national events. She has served on the boards of many genealogical organizations, including the Texas State Genealogical Society and the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS). During the nomination process, patrons, colleagues, and volunteers offered tributes that tell the story of a generous and skilled researcher who is always willing to help other family historians.

NGS to Release Research in Arkansas, 2nd Edition, at 2019 Conference

NGS to Release Research in Arkansas, 2nd Edition,
at its Upcoming Family History Conference

The National Genealogical Society is pleased to announce the latest Research in the States guide book, Research in Arkansas, 2nd edition, by Lynda Childers Suffridge, will go on sale on 8 May at our 2019 Family History Conference in St. Charles, Missouri, 8-11 May. It also will be available for purchase in the online store in both PDF and print versions beginning 8 May.

Family historians and genealogists will discover a wealth of newly updated information in Research in Arkansas. The most significant revision is the renaming of the Arkansas History Commission and State Archives—now known as Arkansas State Archives—and its merger with the Arkansas Department of Heritage. Website addresses were changed, some records were given new call numbers, and its Biodex is no longer online. In addition, the Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives with holdings dating back as far as 1815 opened at Powhatan in 2011. The guide book also provides the latest information and website addresses for archives, libraries, and societies throughout the state.

Research in Arkansas describes where genealogists can find African American records; cemetery records; colonial, territorial, federal, and school censuses; and military records for the Mexican War, the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World I, and World War II. In the section on military records, family historians will learn where to access records on people of Japanese descent who were interned in World War II relocation camps in Arkansas. Land and property records, reconstruction era records, and religious, tax, and vital records are also covered in this comprehensive guide book.

Lynda Childers Suffridge is vice president of the Friends of the Arkansas State Archives. She has lectured at NGS conferences, IGHR at Samford University, and many local societies.

Published by NGS, Research in Arkansas, 2nd edition, is one volume in the Research in the States series edited by Barbara Vines Little, CG®, FNGS, FUGA, FVGS.