29 July 2020

NGS Member Discount for FGS Virtual Conference Plus NGS-FGS Merger Updates

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) has offered NGS members a $10 discount on registration for their virtual conference, which begins 2 September 2020. See more exciting details about their virtual program below or visit the FGS conference website. Details and the discount code have been emailed to members. And if you register before 15 August, you will save $40 on a regular registration with the NGS Member and Early Bird discounts combined.

NGS-FGS Merger Updates
The NGS merger with FGS continues to move forward. NGS and FGS recently met three significant milestones on the way to the merger. First, the NGS Board modified its bylaws to allow genealogy societies and organizations to be members of NGS with full voting rights (one org/one vote). Previously, societies and organizations had no membership voting rights and were only eligible to "subscribe" to NGS publications and programs. Second, the boards of both NGS and FGS approved the legal documents necessary to merge. Finally, the FGS membership vote on the merger, which is required under Illinois law, is now underway. All of these steps are milestones on the path to creating the "New NGS." The next step will be the announcement of the slate of candidates for the NGS Board. The slate includes a new Vice President for Society & Organization Management and additional at-large directors from the FGS ranks. Both organizations remain on target for the final merger that will occur on 1 October 2020.

FGS Virtual Conference Plus NGS Discount
In recognition of the upcoming merger of NGS and FGS, FGS has graciously offered NGS members a $10 discount on registration for its virtual conference. The FGS virtual event will begin with FGS "Live!" on 2 September 2020, starting at 11:00 a.m. (EDT) and concluding at 7:00 p.m. (EDT). In addition to the live event, all conference registrations will include a collection of sixteen society management sessions assembled by FGS and more than thirty sponsored sessions.

The registration packages also allow you to select ten, twenty, or forty-five sessions from the On-Demand content, including more than eighty sessions by leading genealogists from which to choose. All registration packages provide online access to the digital conference syllabus. A special commemorative goody bag is included with the forty-five-session package and you will be entered for a chance to win one of two free registrations to the May 2021 NGS Family History Conference in Richmond, Virginia. If you had already registered for the FGS conference in Kansas City, your registration will convert to the twenty-session conference package. For more information, visit the FGS conference website.


The FGS Live! event will feature lectures from some of the most popular genealogy speakers:
  • David E. Rencher, “FGS: Celebrating the Past and the Future”
  • Judy G. Russell, “Quarantined! Genealogy, The Law & Public Health”
  • Ari Wilkins, “Scaling the 1870 Brick Wall in African American Research”
  • Thomas W. Jones, “Building a Respectable Genealogy, One Documented Biography at a Time” 
  • CeCe Moore, “Strategies of ‘The Genetic Detective’”
  • Lisa Louise Cooke, “The 2020 Genealogist’s Google Search Methodology”

The FGS Live! event will also include special presentations from our two Platinum sponsors:
  • Ancestry’s “Journey to ‘Roots Less Traveled’”
  • Ron Tanner of FamilySearch, “What’s New at FamilySearch”

An online chat will take place during the Live! event and there will be a Q&A session following each session.

The following two-hour workshops will also be held on 3-4 September:
  • Angie Bush, “Using the ‘What are the Odds’ (WATO) Tool” on 9/3/2020
  • Cari Taplin, “Using Google’s My Maps as a Planning & Analysis Tool” on 9/3/2020
  • Angie Bush, “Latest Developments in Company Tools for DNA” on 9/4/2020
  • Pam Vestal, “What the Heck Does That Say” on 9/4/2020

For a full description of the registration packages, a list of the available On-Demand content, a list of all of the free sessions, and much more information, visit the FGS conference website. To learn more, visit fgs.org.

16 July 2020

Announcement Brochure for 2021 NGS Conference Now Online


National Genealogical Society Announces Plans 
for its 2021 Family History Conference

We are pleased to announce that our 2021 Family History Conference is scheduled to take place 19-22 May 2021 in Richmond, Virginia, at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Information about the Conference’s program—Virginia: Deep Roots of a Nation—and the many genealogical resources in Richmond are now available online as a downloadable brochure.

Conference Committee Chair Janet A. Alpert, FNGS, said, “We are acutely aware that we have to build contingency plans for any eventuality. Though we hope COVID-19 will not be a factor next spring, we are already preparing options to insure the health and safety of registrants, sponsors, exhibitors, and staff. We’re confident that we will have a strong and enriching program for everyone interested in family history research.”

The NGS 2021 Family History Conference program will feature a variety of lecture tracks. Session topics will include African American, Native American, and other ethnic groups research; archival records in Virginia and neighboring states; immigration and migration; researching federal and local government records as well as land, military, religious, and tax records; using DNA to trace your ancestors; and much more. In support of NGS’s merger later this year with the Federation of Genealogical Societies, a “Focus on Societies” day is also planned. The Board for Certification of Genealogists will again sponsor a skillbuilding track.

The conference will also offer family historians and genealogists an array of other events, special workshops, and a family history expo with a host of exhibitors. Registration opens on 6 January 2021. Be sure to sign up for the NGS conference blog to receive up-to-date conference news and download the 2021 announcement brochure to learn more about the Richmond conference.

In 2022, the NGS Family History Conference will be on the West Coast with the California Genealogical Society (CGS) serving as the local host. Join us in Sacramento, California, 25-28 May 2022. Details will be available in the coming months on the NGS Family History Conference website and in the NGS Magazine.

08 July 2020

The July–September 2020 Issue of NGS Magazine is Now Online



The July–September 2020 issue of NGS Magazine, Volume 46, Number 3, is available online in the Members Only section of the website. It will be mailed to members in the coming weeks.

EDITOR'S NOTE by Deb Cyprych

To paraphrase the authors of Woman Suffrage and Politics, Carrie Chapman Catt and Nettie Rogers Schuler, this issue “is dedicated on behalf of the women who have gone before to the women who come after”—and to all victims of sexism and racism.

American woman suffragists displayed astonishing determination in nine hundred campaigns to convince male voters to allow them to vote. Twenty-six countries gave women the right to vote before suffrage was finally ratified in the United States in 1920. In celebration of the centennial, dramatist Steffani Raff portrayed Emmeline B. Wells, a Utah suffragist, during the NGS Live! program; in this issue, she answers questions about how she developed her performance.

But the women’s suffrage struggle was not always based on equal rights, as Eileen Muccino points out in a history of the movement. Some leaders opposed the Fifteenth Amendment granting suffrage to African American men, in an attempt to persuade southern states to adopt women’s suffrage. For many years the national suffrage organizations rejected Black women, immigrants, and working-class women. Eventually the suffragists’ massive efforts shifted the tide of public opinion, and the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified by a one-vote margin. Some American women could not vote until long after 1920, however.

Two million women were members of the National American Woman Suffrage Association at its height. Kathy Petlewski presents resources for researching suffragists such as personal papers, newspapers, city directories, compiled publications, organizational records, and petitions. She also discusses possible reasons for lack of participation in the suffrage movement.

Voting records from before and after the passage of women’s suffrage may hold valuable genealogical information. Rebecca Whitman Koford describes uses for registration and turnout registers and provides an extensive list of digitized voting records. Her summary of the checkered history of American voting rights demonstrates sexism and racism for more than two centuries.

Thousands of women born in the United States, including many suffragists, lost their citizenship when they married unnaturalized immigrants. These women could not vote until they were repatriated, some as late ast the 1970s; others never repatriated. Rich Venezia outlines the history of the relevant laws and the records normally restricted to immigrant aliens in which native-born women appear.

In other articles, Janice Lovelace discusses diaries, letters, and records for researching the women settlers of the West, and Teresa Kelley and Robin Dwyer-Maurice profile repositories in the vicinity of Richmond, Virginia, to consider visiting before or after the 2021 NGS Family History Conference. In their columns, Paul Woodbury explains how spit samples are processed to reveal DNA results, and Carla Cegielski covers useful methods of cataloging book collections.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Features

  • NGS 2021 Family History Conference: Research Opportunities in Richmond, Virginia by Robin Dwyer-Maurice and Teresa Kelley
  • Woman Suffrage from the Revolution to Ratification by Eileen Muccino, MA
  • Buried Treasure: Voter Lists and Registrations by Rebecca Whitman Koford, CG, CGL
  • Native-Born Aliens: The Laws and Records of Expatriated Women by Rich Venezia
  • Resources for Nineteenth-Century Women Settlers in the West by Janice Lovelace, PhD

    Departments


    • PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE A Silver Lining and a Bright Future by Ben Spratling
    • NGS NEWS
      • From In-Person to Virtual Conference in Thirty Days: NGS 2020 Live! by Janet A. Alpert, FNGS
      • NGS Announces 2020 Awards and Competition Honorees by Janet L. Bailey
    • REFERENCE DESK
      • Was Grandmother a Suffragist? by Kathy Petlewski, MSLS
    • TECH TIPS
      • Keeping Track of Genealogy Books by Carla S. Cegielski
    • DNA DISCOVERY
      • From Spit to Screen: The Journey of a DNA Sample 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.

    07 July 2020

    NGS 2020 On-Demand Lectures Now Available


    National Genealogical Society’s 
    2020 On-Demand! Now Available

    Individuals interested in researching their family history can now purchase educational webinars at the National Genealogical Society’s Virtual Family History Conference. NGS 2020 On-Demand! offers three packages of ten, twenty, and forty-five lectures for purchase and streaming on PlaybackNGS.com. As a bonus, every package also includes twenty-six free webinars.

    Once an individual purchases a package, he may choose from more than eighty-five sessions that cover a comprehensive range of topics, including DNA, ethnic heritage and women, immigration and migration, records and resources, religion, and research techniques and methodology. To learn more, download the Sessions Guide for the full list of webinars.

    Registrants can view or listen to webinars on their computers or mobile devices at their convenience until 15 May 2021. Registrants also are invited to explore the NGS Virtual Expo Hall.

    The three package options at PlaybackNGS.com include:

    The “Full” Package includes streaming access to a 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 26 bonus lectures.

    The “Works” Package includes everything in the Full Package with an additional twenty-five NGS 2020 On-Demand! sessions (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 a mobile device); plus, 26 bonus lectures.

    NGS 2020 “Light” Package includes streaming access to a choice of ten NGS 2020 On-Demand! sessions from 1 July 2020 through 15 May 2021; an electronic copy of the virtual conference syllabus; and 26 bonus lectures.

    For more information about NGS 2020 On-Demand! or to register, visit PlaybackNGS.com.

    30 June 2020

    Registration Ends Soon for International & Ethnic Workshops


    Registration Ends 7 July for 
    Six International and Ethnic Workshops

    Time is running out to register for six international and ethnic workshops on German, Hispanic, Irish, Italian, Native American, and Swedish heritages, respectively. Registration ends on Tuesday, July 7. Presented live online and hosted by NGS and FamilySearch, the workshops will be scheduled between 14 July and 17 July. Each will be two hours in length. Information and registration for the workshops is available on the NGS Conference website.

    Research specialists from the world-renowned Family History Library will conduct the workshops. Several moderators will assist with the Q&A portion of each workshop as well as with technical questions.
    Reading Italian Records Workshop
    Brandon Baird, AG, will teach participants how to read Italian civil registration records and church records. Fluency in Italian is not required.
    Hispanic Research Methodology Workshop Arturo Cuellar, AG, and Lyn Turner, AG, will provide instruction on how to research ancestors in Mexico, Latin America, and Spain. This workshop for beginners will cover basic research guidelines, finding aids, and language helps, along with a case study.
    Strategies for Locating German Records Workshop
    Camille Andrus, AG, will discuss the records of your German immigrant ancestor, help you identify what records are available, where they’re located, and how to use them effectively. This workshop is for those beginning research in Germany who have identified their ancestor’s hometown and are ready to research in Germany.
    Swedish Research Strategy WorkshopGeoff Morris, AG, will lead a workshop on how to approach common problems and tackle them in an efficient way. Elements will include analysis, translation, records, and prioritizing research steps.
    Ireland: Discovering Where and How They Lived Workshop
    Craig Foster, AG, Dan Poffenberger, AG, Kori Robbins, AG, and Phil Dunn, AG, will provide insight on family history research in Ireland, a country that presents unique challenges in genealogical research. This workshop will help people understand Irish jurisdictions, as well as key record groups.
    Native American WorkshopLyn Rasmussen, CG, Forrest Emmett, and Hellen Bileen will focus on using 20th century records as the foundation for researching Native American ancestry.

    Prior to each workshop, registrants will receive an electronic handout. Event moderators and NGS staff will assist anyone who is unsure about how to participate in the virtual workshops.

    Each workshop costs $35. Register soon to reserve your spot in these expert led workshops. Registration closes at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, 7 July.

    For more information about the international and ethnic workshops, or to register, visit our conference website.

    24 June 2020

    NGSQ June 2020 Issue Now Online!

    Wister "Wick" Lee Garrett (1863–1928), circa 1917

    The June 2020 issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volume 108, Number 2, 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.

    CONTENTS:

    FEATURE ARTICLES 
    • “Parents for Isaac Garrett of Laurens County, South Carolina: DNA Corroborates Oral Tradition” by LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, CGL
    • “Parents for Sarepta McMillin: Untangling the McMillin Family in Champaign and Clark Counties, Ohio” by John D. Beatty, CG
    • “Peter Wingate of Cecil County, Maryland: Son of Isabella Stoops or Sarah Johnson?” by Carol Cooke Darrow, CG

    COMMUNICATIONS

    EDITORS’ CORNER
    • Beware Things That Aren’t So
    ADMINISTRATION 

    SIDELIGHTS
    • Otto Garrett Killed by Peace Officer
    • When the Cure Was Worse Than the Disease
    • A Case of Being Two-Faced
    REVIEWS


    The National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) is published four times per year, in March, June, September, and December. The journal is edited by Nancy A. Peters, CG®, CGLSM, and Allen R. Peterson, AG, CG®.

    23 June 2020

    New NGS Course: Transcribing, Extracting & Abstracting Genealogical Documents


    NGS Introduces New Online Course: 
    Transcribing, Extracting, and Abstracting Genealogical Documents

    The National Genealogical Society today announced its newest course in our Continuing Genealogical Studies series: Transcribing, Extracting, and Abstracting Genealogical Documents. The course is designed to teach family historians the skills needed to examine, analyze, and apply information accurately from any kind of document to further their genealogical research. It serves both as a refresher course for the experienced genealogist and as a comprehensive tutorial for those who are working to acquire these skills.

    The purpose of family history research is not merely to trace your ancestors but also to prove their relationships in your family tree. Simply duplicating documents will not accomplish these goals. The way to build a family tree accurately and successfully is through the careful examination and analysis of those documents. This can be accomplished by fully transcribing a document, extracting selected portions, or abstracting the important information while leaving the nonessential legal language out.

    In a step-by-step format, Julie Miller, CG®, CGLSM, FNGS, a full-time professional researcher, speaker, and writer, teaches how to transcribe, extract, and abstract documents along with when to use each process. The course includes multiple examples, videos, and guidelines for working with deeds and wills as well as other types of documents. The many exercises in each of the ten modules give students hands-on experience working with documents and refining their skills. To learn more about Transcribing, Extracting, and Abstracting Genealogical Documents, visit the NGS website.


    16 June 2020

    Registration Opens for International & Ethnic Workshops


    Registration Now Open for Six International
    and Ethnic Live Workshops

    Registration is now open for six international and ethnic workshops presented live and hosted by NGS and FamilySearch. The workshops, originally scheduled for the in-person NGS 2020 Family History Conference, will be live online between 14 July and 17 July and are each two hours in length. Information and registration for the workshops is available on the NGS Conference website.

    Research specialists from the world-renowned Family History Library will conduct workshops on German, Hispanic, Irish, Italian, Native American, and Swedish heritages, respectively. Each workshop will also have several moderators to assist with the Q&A portion of the workshop as well as with technical questions.


    • Reading Italian Records Workshop
      • Brandon Baird, AG, will teach participants how to read Italian civil registration records and church records. Fluency in Italian is not required.

    • Hispanic Research Methodology Workshop
      • Arturo Cuellar, AG, and Lyn Turner, AG, will provide instruction on how to research ancestors in Mexico, Latin America, and Spain. This workshop for beginners will cover basic research guidelines, finding aids, and language helps, along with a case study.
    • Strategies for Locating German Records Workshop
      • Camille Andrus, AG, will discuss the records of your German immigrant ancestor, help you identify what records are available, where they’re located, and how to use them effectively. This workshop is for those beginning research in Germany who have identified their ancestor’s hometown and are ready to research in Germany. 

    • Swedish Research Strategy Workshop
      • Geoff Morris, AG, will lead a workshop on how to approach common problems and tackle them in an efficient way. Elements will include analysis, translation, records, and prioritizing research steps.
    • Ireland: Discovering Where and How They Lived Workshop
      • Craig Foster, AG, Dan Poffenberger, AG, Kori Robbins, AG, and Phil Dunn, AG, will provide insight on family history research in Ireland, a country that presents unique challenges in genealogical research. This workshop will help people understand Irish jurisdictions, as well as key record groups.
    • Native American Workshop
      • Lyn Rasmussen, CG, Forrest Emmett, and Hellen Bileen, will focus on using 20th century records as the foundation for researching Native American ancestry. 

    Prior to each workshop, registrants will receive an electronic handout. Event moderators and NGS staff will assist anyone who is unsure about how to participate in the virtual workshops.

    Each workshop costs $35. Register soon to reserve your spot in these expert led workshops. Registration closes at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, 7 July.

    For more information about the international and ethnic workshops, or to register, visit our conference website.

    10 June 2020

    NGS 2020 On-Demand! Now Available




    NGS 2020 On-Demand! Now Available

    Nearly 1,900 people participated in the first part of the National Genealogical Society virtual conference—NGS 2020 Live!—in May. Part two—NGS 2020 On-Demand!—starts streaming 1 July.

    Sales have re-opened so if you missed NGS 2020 Live! in May, you can still see those lectures as part of every virtual conference package sold starting in June. NGS 2020 On-Demand! packages are now available for purchase at the PlaybackNGS website.

    This is your opportunity to choose from three lecture packages offering incredible values and the ability to customize your package. PlaybackNGS will contact all registrants to let them know when they can begin selecting their lecture sessions from more than 85 webinars presented by nationally recognized speakers and explore a virtual Expo Hall with more than 35 exhibitors. With your choice of registration packages, you can choose 10, 20, or 45 sessions, plus all the sessions from NGS 2020 Live! and 18 sponsored bonus sessions. That’s up to 70 hours of exceptional genealogy education from NGS and our expert genealogists! Every NGS conference has a different theme—this year it’s Echoes of Our Ancestors—with a new program top to bottom so there is always more to learn and discover.

    NGS 2020 On-Demand! offers you the opportunity to develop genealogy skills that will help expand your family history with a highly comprehensive set of on-demand lectures. View or listen on your computer or mobile device, from the comfort of your home or anywhere! Watch at your convenience from 1 July 2020 until 15 May 2021.

    Register now at PlaybackNGS.com for one of these three package options:

    The “Full” Package includes all sessions from NGS 2020 Live!; 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 18 sponsored bonus lectures.

    The “Works” Package includes everything in the Full Package with an additional twenty-five NGS 2020 On-Demand! sessions (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 18 sponsored bonus lectures.

    NGS 2020 “Light” Package includes all sessions from NGS 2020 Live!; 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 18 sponsored bonus lectures.

    Be part of NGS 2020 On-Demand! by joining us in the second part of the NGS Virtual Conference. For more information about NGS 2020 On-Demand! or to register, visit PlaybackNGS.com website.

    08 June 2020

    A Message for Change from NGS

    Dear NGS Members and Friends,

    As genealogists, we root our passion for family history in using records from the past. It helps us to understand our families, our history, and ourselves. Looking to history can help all of us better understand the long struggle to fight for equality, justice, and fairness in the face of racial disparity.

    That makes our genealogical community an important part of the support, understanding, and actions needed so that all racial and ethnic communities receive fairness and equality.

    The flow of American history brought all of us here. As genealogists, it is time for us to acknowledge our past, open our minds and hearts, and build a stronger and more just society. The National Genealogical Society encourages our members to begin an honest dialogue about racism, social justice, and equality.

    We share these resources to stimulate dialogue:
    The National Genealogical Society takes these issues seriously and we are here to support our members in this learning process.

    Sincerely,

    The National Genealogical Society

    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