Celebrate Family History Month
Get Tips to Help You Scan, Record, and Write
October is Family History Month—a perfect opportunity to delve into the rich tapestry of your past. NGS is excited to support your genealogy journey as you explore, preserve, and share your family's unique history.
Whether you're curious about old photos and hoping to scan them, looking to record family members’ memories, or aiming to write stories that are part of your family's legacy, this is the moment to begin or restart a project. It's easy to put off these tasks, thinking there's always tomorrow. But as we're often reminded, the best time is now.
NGS created three resources to inspire you this month with steps to help make projects successful. Download
Sharing stories within your family cultivates a deeper connection between members in the past and present and the generations to come. (Remember to respect privacy. Discuss plans to ensure everyone is on board when conveying personal anecdotes and information.)
So, gather your family, dive into those photo albums or boxes, and collect the stories that weave the fabric of your family history. NGS is here for you every step of the way.
And pass this on—download free images on our site you can post on social media with #FamilyHistoryMonth and the link to ngsgenealogy.org/family-
Celebrate this October and invite people to join you!
04 October 2023
02 October 2023
29 September 2023
“The Recordless Marriage of Virginia Jones from Caroline County, Virginia, and Henry Brooks of Covington County, Alabama,” by Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, FASG
“Stanislao Cesta and Fortunato Cesta: Merging Identities,” by Eva Holmes, CG, AG
“A Family for Samuel Robbins of Sumner, Maine,” by Aaron D. Spohr, CG
- "Willis Gay: The Testator, the Groom and Their Wives,” by Susan Michael, CG
- Never Give Up
- Dual Diagnoses
- Husbands and Blackberries: Take Your Pick
- The Butler Did It?
- Bon Tempo, Carl J. and Hasia R. Diner. Immigration: An American History. Reviewed by J. H. Fonkert, CG
- Bakkala, Jenifer Kahn. The Maynard, North, and DeForest Families: A Story of Immigration, Industry, and Community. Reviewed by Aaron Goodwin
- Middleton, Saundra. The Pioneering Life of Peter Kirk from Derbyshire to the Pacific Northwest. Reviewed by Jill Morelli, CG
- Hackenesch, Silke, ed. Adoption Across Race and Nation: US Histories and Legacies. Reviewed by Janet Hall Werner, JD
- Hämäläinen, Pekka. Indigenous Continent: The Epic Contest for North America. Reviewed by Tracy Neely
18 July 2023
Since every family presents a unique research situation, genealogists are perpetual students. To identify ancestors correctly and place them appropriately in their historical setting, we need to learn about the techniques most likely to be effective and the nuances of the records, resources, and repositories for each ancestral locale and period.
Fortunately, educational opportunities for genealogists have increased dramatically due to virtual platforms. In the first article for this back-to-school issue, NGS Education Director Angela Packer McGhie surveys the changing landscape of education and its variety of options to suit individual needs—from self-study to formal courses—based on preferred learning style and other factors.
Genealogical societies can contribute to the education of members by offering special interest groups (SIGs) and small study groups as part of their programming. Cari Taplin discusses the operation of both types of groups and the tendency for member interaction to lead to more active participation in society projects.
Another way to go back to school is to visit university libraries, which can be intimidating to many genealogists. Tim Pinnick explains how to tap their wealth of resources for African American history and genealogy in databases, microfilm, government documents, journals, books, and theses and dissertations.
Resources produced by and for students can add depth and character to family histories. Gail Shaffer Blankenau demonstrates the targeted, well-researched information in dissertations and theses, which have become more available due to digitization and databases allowing public access. Thomas Stephen Neel examines the types of photos, community context, and glimpses of personality that appear in high school and college yearbooks.
In the final back-to-school article, Kathy Petlewski compares the evolution of educational systems in three colonies (Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia) to explore the likely experiences of ancestors and the availability of some colonial school records.
NARA archivist Claire Kluskens describes the scope and uses of a significant source for veterans and their families: the set of original bounty land warrant application files at the National Archives. NGS and NARA recently announced a joint project to increase accessibility by indexing and digitizing the 360,000 files.
The issue wraps up with Carla Cegielski’s investigation of search engines for identifying and accessing genealogical content, including general and genealogy-specific search engines, and Paul Woodbury’s analysis of potential clues in the profiles of mystery DNA matches for determining their identities, building their family trees, and ultimately discovering how they are related.
- Bounty Land Warrant Application Files by Claire Kluskens
- Genealogy Education: A Changing Landscape by Angela Packer McGhie, CG, FUGA
- University Libraries and African American Research by Tim Pinnick
- Using Theses and Dissertations to Enhance Family History by Gail Shaffer Blankenau, MA
- What Can Genealogists Learn from Yearbooks? by Thomas Stephen Neel, MLIS
- PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE by Kathryn M. Doyle
- EDITOR'S NOTE by Deb Cyprych
- 2023 NGS Awards and Competition Results Announced by Judy Nimer Muhn
- SOCIETY FORUM
- Form Strong Membership Bonds in SIGs and Study Groups by Cari Taplin, CG
- REFERENCE DESK
- Roots of Education in America: A Comparison of Colonial Experiences by Kathy Petlewski, MSLS
- TECH TIPS
- Search Engines for Genealogy by Carla S. Cegielski
- DNA DISCOVERY
- Considering Every Clue in the Identification of Mystery Matches by Paul Woodbury
10 July 2023
|Myrtle Eva Mapes (Porter) Dewein, ca. 1883|
“A Charming Scoundrel and a Tragic Victim— Charles Mapes and Maggie McBurney of Rock Island County, Illinois: Biological Parents of Myrtle Eva (Porter) Dewein” by Karen Stanbary, CG
- “A Family for John and Rosannah (Hogg) Howard of Rhode Island, Vermont, and New York” by Mack D. “Skip” Duett
- “Was Nancy a Northamer? DNA Helps Identify a Revolutionary War Militiaman’s Daughter” by Catherine Becker Wiest Desmarais, CG
- “Parents for Apprentice Thomas Collins of Monks Kirby, Warwickshire, England” by Allen R. Peterson, AG, CG
- Knowing How to See
- Cold and Lonely Nights?
- Memory Test
- Politics Run Deep
- Bold Predictions of Rain, Sun, or Maybe Snow
26 June 2023
The National Genealogical Society (NGS) has published a new book in its Research in the States series, Research in the District of Columbia by Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG Retired (2021), FUGA, and Richard G. Sayre, CG®, CGL, FUGA.
Available exclusively in print format, it offers a detailed overview of the many repositories and records for family historians researching ancestors who may have lived in the District of Columbia (DC) as well as anyone for whom a federal record may exist such as:
Given the scope of records housed in DC, Research in the District of Columbia is a welcomed and invaluable guide for new and seasoned genealogists.
Published by NGS, Research in the District of Columbia is one volume in the Research in the State series edited by Barbara Vines Little, CG®, FNGS, FVGS. It is available for purchase in the NGS online store exclusively in a print version. Other books in the series are available in print or as a PDF download.
01 June 2023
The President’s Citation is given in recognition of outstanding, continuing, or unusual contributions to genealogy or the National Genealogical Society. Janet A. Alpert, FNGS, was awarded the 2023 President’s Citation, honoring her many years of service to the NGS. She served on the NGS Board from 2004–2012 as secretary (2004–2006) and president (2006–2010). In 2014, she was named a Fellow of NGS. She has served in a leadership role for every conference since 2009 and has been Conference Committee chair for the last five years. She returned to the board for a second term from 2019–2022. The President’s Citation also recognized Alpert for her ten years of service for the Records Access and Preservation Coalition (RPAC), which she has chaired since 2013.
Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern Lifetime Achievement recognizes an individual whose positive influence and leadership have fostered unity and helped make family history a vital force in the community. This year’s award recipient is Angela Walton-Raji. Walton-Raji is a founding member of MAAGI, the Midwest African-American Genealogy Institute, and is known nationally for her genealogical and historical research and work with Oklahoma Native American records. She is a leader in the genealogy arena who encourages family history research regarding the freedmen of the five civilized tribes and much more.
The Lou D. Szucs Distinguished Service Award recognizes exemplary contributions to the mission of NGS. This year Diane MacLean Boumenot received the award for her outstanding service to NGS. Boumenot worked for more than two years to coordinate the work of a team that reviewed content for the new NGS Advanced Skills in Genealogy course in support of the NGS Education Director Angela McGhie, CG.
Shirley Langdon Wilcox Volunteerism 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. This year the Society is honoring two awardees.
Deborah Lebo Hoskins, CPA, was elected treasurer to the NGS board of directors in May 2018 and began her first two-year term on 1 October 2018. She served a second term as treasurer from 1 October 2020–30 September 2022. Hoskins significantly provided hours of support and expertise when NGS and the Federation of Genealogical Societies merged.
Darcie Hind Posz, CG, served as an awards committee judge for seven years, during which time she devoted many hours reviewing award nominations. She also served NGS as editor of NGS Magazine (January 2015–September 2016), and as a member of the Nominating Committee for positions on the NGS Board in 2020.
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. Their work must have significantly aided research or increased interest in genealogy. This year the NGS board of directors presented the award to the following distinguished leaders in our sector:
Jill Morelli, CG, who has been a speaker, society leader, and networker for years in the genealogy community. Morelli was recognized for the significant time, energy, and expertise she dedicated to the establishment and support of the Certification Discussion Group. The Group helps genealogists understand and progress through the Board for Certification of Genealogist’s certification process to become Certified Genealogists.
Dr. Shelley Viola Murphy. For the past ten years, Dr. Shelley Murphy has dedicated her life to educating others about African American research and genealogy in general. She has served as president, course coordinator, and instructor at the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI), as coordinator of genealogy education for the Center of Family History at the new International African American Museum, and more.
David M. McCorkle. McCorkle was nominated for this award by a group of genealogists for his work in digitizing and providing easy and free access to records of critical importance to North Carolina researchers. Those efforts included the creation of the free website North Carolina Land Grants Images and Data to make North Carolina's land entry and grant records accessible and the creation of a nonprofit for the North Carolina Historical Records Online.
Patricia M. Gailes. Patricia M. Gailes was recognized for her many roles in Southeastern Massachusetts, including as the former vice president of Bristol Chapter, Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, Inc. (MSOG, INC.), for the creation of a genealogy research room at the local library, and for obtaining grant funding through the Massachusetts Cultural Council to cover speaker fees for the Chapter. Patricia has served as vice president of Dighton Historical Society, Inc., and chairman of the Dighton Historical Commission for the town.
Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI). The Institute has grown over the last ten years and has taken its place as a trusted educational and training institute for the beginner, the intermediate researcher, and the professional. Today MAAGI welcomes a record number of participants from multiple states.
The Genealogy Tourism Award is awarded to the following leaders in the promotion of local genealogy research.
Miriam Weiner was nominated for this award because of her significant and long-term focus on the Jewish records and archives of Eastern Europe, notably Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, and more. Building relationships with archivists and government officials, Weiner has opened doors for researchers from across the world. She has augmented this work by leading tour groups at these repositories. Weiner’s development of relationships fostered good will and key records access and preservation in areas and countries with frequent conflicts and lack of resources and staffing that would have resulted in record loss.
Homestead National Historical Park. Homestead National Historical Park actively works to educate and share the enormous impact of the Homestead Act of 1862. In 2019, it received digital assets from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln-Center of Great Plains Study about six black homesteading communities. The park’s job is to share those stories on their website as the Black Homesteaders Project. This Project grew to an innovative collaborative effort between the Homestead National Historic Park and descendants of homesteaders, researchers, genealogists, and volunteers.
The Library of Virginia. The Library of Virginia (LVA) is the premier destination for Virginia family history researchers through its in-person and online programs. It also utilizes social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and the Virginia state tourism site to reach thousands of people to spread the word about the exciting historic sites and repositories found throughout Virginia.
New York Genealogical & Biographical Society (NYG&B). For more than a decade, the NYG&B has organized research trips every year to New York City and Albany, New York. The research trips to New York City and Albany offer guided tours and lectures by the NYG&B and consulting NYC experts for researchers seeking to learn about the most important collections in local libraries and archives.
The conference continues through Saturday, 3 June 2023.
31 May 2023