18 October 2021

Welcome Kate Smith, Organizations and Communities Manager

Please join me in welcoming Kate Smith, our new Organizations and Communities Manager, to the National Genealogical Society staff. Kate brings experience working with nonprofits, especially associations, to the Society.

Kate spent nearly ten years at the International Association of Assessing Officers working with property tax assessment and appraisal professionals. While there, she played an integral part in all facets of membership services and was involved with communications and marketing. She also was director of communications for Alpha Phi Omega, a national service fraternity, and most recently worked for Merrigan & Co., a marketing agency that specializes in nonprofit communications and fundraising. In all of her roles, she has been involved with aspects of conferences and events.

With an education background in journalism, Kate enjoys learning about people, doing research, and putting together a story and ways to help others. She looks forward to supporting the Delegate Council and organization members, and making Forum, NGS online communities—launching soon—a place where members can share knowledge, exchange ideas, and easily connect with each other in new ways.

Kate is located in Kansas City, Missouri. She is a member of the American Society of Association Executives and the Kansas City Society of Association Executives (KCSAE). She was honored with the KCSAE Allied Member Award of Excellence in 2019 and received a KCSAE Star Award in 2015.

Welcome, Kate!

11 October 2021

Nominations Open for NGS 2022 Awards and Competitions

Nominations Open for NGS 2022 Awards & Competitions

We invite our members to celebrate their fellow family historians by nominating them for one or more of the National Genealogical Society’s awards. Or throw your hat in the ring and enter one of our competitions.

Our 2022 Awards and Competitions season has officially opened. During the next two months you have the opportunity to participate in our awards and competition program. The deadline for submission of nominations is 15 December 2021. Award recipients will be honored at the NGS 2022 Family History Conference in Sacramento, California, 24-28 May 2022.

The NGS Awards program recognizes scholarship, service, excellence, and achievement in the fields of genealogy, history, and biography by presenting awards to individuals, societies, and organizations. They include

  • The Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern Lifetime Achievement Award
  • The NGS Fellow (FNGS)
  • The Lou D. Szucs Distinguished Service Award
  • The Award of Merit
  • The Shirley Wilcox Volunteerism Award
  • The Genealogical Tourism Award

The Society’s competitions include
  • Family History Writing Contest
  • Award for Excellence: Genealogy or Family History Book
  • Award for Excellence: Genealogical Methods and Sources
  • Award for Excellence: NGSQ
  • The NGS Newsletter Competition
  • The Rubincam Youth Writing Competition

Each year NGS also inducts one person who dedicated ten or more years to the field of genealogy and who passed away at least five years ago into its National Genealogy Hall of Fame. See a full description of the awards and competitions and access nomination forms on the NGS website.

“The NGS Awards and Competitions program represents some of our most important work. Please help us celebrate those who have excelled in the field of genealogy” said President Kathryn Doyle. “And join me as we welcome our new Awards Committee Chair, Judy Nimer Muhn.”

Judy Nimer Muhn
Muhn began her professional career as a genealogist in Europe in 1993. She has lectured at conferences in Europe and the United States, and presented, "Society Management—Volunteer Motivations: Getting and Keeping Your Volunteers" as part of the Focus on Societies program in May. Specializing in French Canadian, Acadian, Native American, and Michigan research, Muhn is the president of the Oakland County Genealogical Society. She also is vice president of the Michigan Genealogical Council, and an active member of NGS, Ontario and Quebec Genealogical Societies, Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, and French Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan.

Be sure to submit your 2022 nominations before 15 December 2021!

07 October 2021

The October-December 2021 Issue of NGS Magazine is Now Online

The October–December 2021 Issue  
of the NGS Magazine is Now Online

The October–December 2021 issue of NGS Magazine, Volume 47, Number 4, is being printed and is now available online in the Members Only section of the website. The USPS is still experiencing long delays in some areas for delivery of print copies. This issue's theme is Census Records.

EDITOR'S NOTE by Deb Cyprych

April Fool’s Day next year will bring an extraordinary gift for genealogists: the release of the 1950 US census online. But research will require more effort than entering names in a database. Genealogists can start preparing now in order to locate records on 1 April 2022 and beyond.

Claire Prechtel Kluskens details the history and schedules of the 1950 census and discloses the preliminary plans of the National Archives for its release. She provides a comparison with the 1940 census, a complete list of the questions in the 1950 population schedule, and information about enumeration district (ED) maps digitized in the National Archives Catalog.

At first, researchers will have to browse the 1950 census by enumeration district. Steve Morse and Joel Weintraub suggest methods for finding 1950 ancestral locations and explain how to use the One-Step website to obtain ED numbers.

Learning about instructions to enumerators and what each census was designed to measure can assist genealogists in using census records to their fullest advantage. In part one of her article, Shelley Bishop explores the substance and availability of census instructions from 1790 to 1870.

When people can’t be located in census records, it may seem that enumerators missed them, but unsuccessful searches are usually due to other reasons. Jill Crandell illustrates strategies for overcoming search challenges related to given names, surnames, ages, birthplaces, and frequent migrations.

Some descriptions of social statistics census schedules are incorrect; Helen Shaw sets the record straight. She outlines the content, accessibility, and uses of social statistics schedules for constructing community profiles and finding clues that lead to other records.

In her column, Kathy Petlewski discusses the research value of mortality census schedules, which may have the only records of death for some ancestors. The 1850 and 1860 schedules list many deceased enslaved persons by name, although identification may be difficult.

In other columns, Cheri Hudson Passey gives helpful tips for societies to promote and conduct successful virtual meetings, Carla Cegielski presents five strategies for locating free online newspapers, and Paul Woodbury clarifies the use of ethnicity admixture estimates for context and clues in the interpretation of DNA matches.



  • NGS 2022 Family History Conference: Westward Ho! by Kathleen O. Beitiks 
  • The 1950 Census: Coming Soon! by Claire Prechtel Kluskens
  • Searching the 1950 Census by Location by Stephen P. Morse, PhD, and Joel D. Weintraub, PhD
  • The Evolution of US Census Instructions: Part One, 1790 to 1870 by Shelley Bishop
  • Locating Hard-to-Find Census Entries by Jill N. Crandell, MA, AG
  • Using Social Statistics Schedules to Learn About Ancestral Communities by Helen A. Shaw, CG


  • PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE by Kathryn M. Doyle
  • EDITOR'S NOTE by Deb Cyprych
    • Call for Proposals for NGS 2023 Family History Conference
    • Successful Virtual Meetings: Moving Societies Forward by Cheri Hudson Passey
    • Mortality Schedules: Death Records Before State Registration by Kathy Petlewski, MSLS
    • Five Strategies for Finding Free Online Newspapers by Carla S. Cegielski
    • Using Ethnicity Estimates to Generate Genealogical Hypotheses 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.

05 October 2021

Hotel Reservations Now Open for NGS 2022 Family History Conference

Hotel Reservations Now Open for the

NGS 2022 Family History Conference

Starting today, at 12:00 p.m. (ET), you may reserve hotel accommodations for the NGS 2022 Family History Conference, Our American Mosaic. The conference will be held 24‒28 May 2022, at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center, 1400 J Street, Sacramento, California.

The conference will feature more than 150 genealogy lectures on a wide variety of topics. Lectures will focus on African American research; Asian and Pacific Islander research; BCG Skillbuilding; DNA; European and Middle Eastern research; Hispanic and Latin American ancestry; immigration and migration; methodology; Native American research; New England research; non-traditional families; records and repositories; reference services; society management; technology; the 1950s; western states; and writing. NGS will also welcome special guest speakers.

NGS offers attendees a choice of two hotels with discounted rates. The official conference hotels, the Hyatt Regency Sacramento and the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel, are in walking distance to the convention center. Both hotels offer complimentary Wi-Fi. Several parking garages with affordable parking are located in close proximity to the Safe Credit Union Convention Center.

As a rule, conference hotels tend to fill quickly. To ensure room availability, early reservations are recommended. Hotel reservations close 25 April 2022.

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 COVID-19 regulations, cancellation policies, and amenities. Full details and links for NGS discounted, online reservations can be found on the NGS conference website. Attendees must request the NGS Family History Conference rate if making phone reservations.

Sacramento is home to several research facilities such as the California State Archives, California State Library, and several genealogical organizations. It also has twenty-eight museums including the Crocker Art Museum, California State Indian Museum, the Sacramento History Museum, the California State Railroad Museum, and the Sojourner Truth African Heritage Museum. The city features art galleries, breweries, coffee bars, fine restaurants, and an historic landmark district, the Old Sacramento Waterfront. To learn about research facilities in the area, refer to the conference’s Announcement Brochure on the NGS conference website.

The NGS 2022 Family History Conference will run five days. It promises to offer many opportunities 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.

COVID-19 Regulations

We fervently hope that the COVID-19 pandemic will have subsided by May 2022. Nevertheless, please be advised that NGS will adhere to regulations issued by the California Department of Public Health and Sacramento County Order of the Health Officer.

The SAFE Credit Union Convention Center has GBAC Star Facility Certification, which means it meets “the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention.” The Convention Center also abides by state and county protocols.

All conference participants—including sponsors, guest speakers, lecturers, exhibitors, and conference attendees—will be required to comply with the laws, rules, regulations, orders, and ordinances required at the time of the conference to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. NGS will apprise all participants of the required protocols and procedures in advance of the conference.