25 March 2020

NGS 2021 Call for Proposals Extended to 15 April 2020

The Call for Lecture Proposals for 
NGS 2021 Family History Conference
Extended to 15 April 2020

Given the difficult circumstances that all Americans are facing during this COVID-19 pandemic, the National Genealogical Society (NGS) is extending by two weeks the deadline for speakers to submit lecture proposals for the NGS 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 now 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.

24 March 2020

NGSQ March 2020 Issue Now Online!

Admire Lucinda "Addie" (Dyer) Davis, ca. 1888 (1883–1942) 

The March 2020 issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volume 108, Number 1, 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.


  • A Lineal Descent from Nancy Young: Five Generations Living in 1870 in Lowndes County, Georgia?” by Paul K. Graham, AG, CG, CGL
  • Tracing Seventeen Enslaved African Americans of the "Second Middle Passage" from Maryland to Louisiana by Michael G. Hait, CG, CGL
  • "Pains and Penalties" of Nineteenth-Century Divorce: Was Elizabeth White of Tennessee and Kentucky Married to Mordecai Pillow? by Elizabeth Bottorff Ahlemann, JD
  • The Identity of Three-Time Convict Henry F. Neher of California, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, and Texas by William M. Litchman, PhD


  • Schnible, Schnidley, Shinble, Shumbly, Snaivley, Snavly, Snawly, Sneely, Sneivly, Snevely, Snible, Snibly, Snivel, Snively, or Swively of Holmes County, Ohio by Ronald A. Hill, PhD, CG Emeritus, FASG


    • All that Glistens is Not Gold


    • An Ungrateful Daughter
    • Only a Supervisor
    • Baltimore to New Orleans on a Slave-Traders’ Ship
    • Married Women Need Not Apply


    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.

    17 March 2020

    COVID-19: NGS Conference Update

    COVID-19: NGS 2020 Family History Conference Updates

    Early Bird Discount Extended; Cancellation Fee Waived

    The NGS Board of Directors continues to closely monitor health and safety concerns regarding COVID-19. Last week a national emergency was declared to free up federal resources and improve the country’s response to the pandemic. In addition, on 15 March 2020, the CDC recommended that gatherings larger than 50 people be cancelled for eight weeks.

    The 2020 Family History Conference remains more than eight weeks away. Our Conference Committee continues to plan and prepare for a great experience for our conference attendees. While we remain optimistic that the event can be held, we are prudently making contingency plans. The health and safety of our members, attendees, and employees remain our priority and will continue to guide our decisions related to COVID-19.

    At this time, the 2020 Family History Conference is still planned as scheduled for 20-23 May 2020 in Salt Lake City. Please visit COVID-19: NGS Conference Updates on our Conference website since conditions on the ground are changing quickly.

    The early bird registration deadline is extended until 31 March 2020. We have also waived the $50 cancellation fee, including for those who cancelled previously. If you would like to consider donating your cancellation fee to help NGS weather what may be a challenging period, please email Matt Menashes, NGS Executive Director.

    If anything else should change, speakers, exhibitors, and registrants will be notified, and all information will be posted on the conference website. In addition, if there are any changes to event schedules, we will provide information about options that may be available and/or other specific details. Please check the COVID-19: NGS Conference Update page frequently for any changes.

    14 March 2020

    COVID-19: NGS 2020 Family History Conference Updates

    NGS has not cancelled its Family History Conference, Echoes of Our Ancestors, 20–23 May 2020, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    We look forward to welcoming you to our upcoming conference. We know, however, that many of you, as we do, have concerns about the spread of COVID-19. Please be assured that NGS is monitoring the situation very closely and we have established a webpage at our conference website to keep you updated. The health and safety of our attendees are our priority and will guide our decisions. Below is our first statement and posting. Any time you want to check back go to our conference website and click on the link COVID-19: NGS Conference Updates.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding in this matter.

    COVID-19: Conference Updates
    10 March 2020

    The National Genealogical Society (NGS) is closely monitoring health and safety concerns regarding COVID-19. We are following recommendations by local and federal government agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    The health and safety of our members, attendees, and employees are our priority and will guide our decisions.

    Absent mandated federal travel restrictions and/or local, state, or regional decisions to close venues, NGS has not canceled the 2020 Family History Conference scheduled for 20-23 May 2020, nor any of our related pre-conference events.

    If that should change, speakers, exhibitors, and registrants will be notified, and all information will be posted here on the conference website at https://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/. In addition, if there are any changes to event schedules, we will provide information about options that may be available and/or other specific details.  

    We will work with our venues to check that they maintain appropriate sanitary, health, and safety measures and we encourage attendees to follow guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization

    Our cancellation policy remains in place for your benefit at this time. Please check back here frequently for any updates on the event, including any cancellation policy changes.

    05 March 2020

    The January–March 2020 Issue of NGS Magazine is Now Online

    The January–March 2020 issue of NGS Magazine, Volume 46, Number 1, is available online in the Members Only section of the website and will be mailed to members in the coming weeks.

    EDITOR'S NOTE by Deb Cyprych

    In celebration of the NGS Family History Conference this May in Salt Lake City, Utah, this issue features the history, records, and resources of some of the people who settled in the West.

    In the cover story, Grant Din and Linda Harms Okazaki describe the restrictions placed upon Asian immigration and the types of details in associated records. Chinese were prevented from entering the United States for sixty years but developed ingenious ways of getting around exclusion, such as “paper sons” with false identification papers. From 1908 to 1920 Japanese laborers already in the United States were allowed to send for their families, and the custom of marriage in Japan facilitated by photographs evolved so “picture brides” could immigrate. Interrogation of these immigrants—including children—produced thousands of extensive case files.

    As might be expected for a church dedicated to preserving the world's records, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stresses record-keeping for its members. Angela Packer McGhie illustrates the wealth of resources for researching Mormons such as baptismal, membership, and ordinance records; meeting minutes; congregational histories; and many other sources.

    A little-known chapter in American history involves the Jewish agricultural colonies founded west of the Mississippi for Jews fleeing Russian pogroms in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. Jane Neff Rollins and Andrea Massion explain the role of philanthropic organizations in the development of the colonies and provide strategies for researching Jewish agricultural ancestors.

    Many migrants to the West travelled on trains, especially after 1869 when both parts of the transcontinental railroad were completed at Promontory Summit, Utah. Kathy Petlewski discusses the history of railroads and the types of records available for railroad workers.

    Two articles delve into the topic of DNA. Cari Taplin summarizes the Board for Certification of Genealogists’ recent changes to its standards, primarily related to DNA, in the second edition of Genealogy Standards. Paul Woodbury uses story-telling to demonstrate how the inheritance patterns of X-DNA and autosomal DNA can help in solving research problems.

    In a new column, Tech Tips, Carla Cegielski offers useful information gained from her experience as a webmaster, web designer, technological consultant, and genealogical researcher. In this issue she covers the basics of capturing, snipping, and saving images for personal use.

    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.



    • The NGS Family History Conference: A Rich Educational Opportunity by Erin Pritchett
    • Paper Sons and Picture Brides: Asian Immigrant Case Files, 1884–1944 by Grant Din and Linda Harms Okazaki
    • Researching Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Angela Packer McGhie, CG
    • Farming in the Golden Land: Jewish Agricultural Colonies West of the Mississippi by Jane Neff Rollins and Andrea Massion
    • New DNA-Related Standards Offer Guidance by Cari A. Taplin, CG


    • PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE by Ben Spratling
    • EDITOR’S NOTE by Deb Cyprych
    • NGS NEWS 
      The Rise of Railroads and the Records of Railroaders by Kathy Petlewski, MSLS
      The Journey of DNA’s Inheritance Paths: X-DNA and Autosomal DNA by Paul Woodbury
    • TECH TIPS 
      Capturing, Snipping, and Saving Images 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.

    03 March 2020

    Early Bird Discount for 2020 Conference Ends Soon

    Early Bird Discount Ends 17 March
     for 2020 Family History Conference

    Only two weeks are left to take advantage of our Early Bird Discount for the NGS Family History Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, 20−23 May 2020. After 17 March, the price of registration for NGS members will increase from $215 to $250 for all four days. (Non-members will pay $285, up from $250.) You also will no longer be able to order a printed syllabus or flash drive version of the syllabus.

    To qualify for the early bird discount, you must register online by 17 March or mail your registration postmarked 17 March 2020.

    The conference, “Echoes of Our Ancestors,” will showcase more than 175 lectures featuring a variety of tracks and topics including DNA, heritage, immigration and migration, records, religion, resources and research techniques, and women. In addition to lectures that focus on tracing ancestors of European descent, attendees will discover lectures on African American, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, and Polynesian ancestry. The program will include all levels of genealogical skills from basic to advanced as well as four days of the Board for the Certification of Genealogists® (BCG) Skillbuilding lectures.

    The opening session will feature Dani Shapiro, author of Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love, who has spent a lifetime writing fiction and memoirs about the corrosive power of secrets within families. She stumbled on a secret of her own: her beloved father was not her biological father. As she writes in Inheritance, “I always knew there was a secret. What I didn’t know: the secret was me.”

    The Family History Expo will host more than seventy-five exhibitors and be open to the public Wednesday through Saturday. Check the website for a list of exhibitors and the accompanying floor plan.

    The NGS Conference will be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center and will run from 20−23 May. For conference information and to register go to the NGS 2020 Family History Conference website.

    Registration for local area tours and social meal events closes on 17 April 2020. You will not be able to purchase tickets on-site at the conference. Be sure to sign up as quickly as possible.

    Add Items to an Existing Registration

    To add meals, tours, workshops, and pre-conference events to your current registration, log on to the NGS website, go to Store > My Account > Purchases > Events > Details > 2020 Conference > Add Session.

    See you in Salt Lake City in May!