NGS and FGS Announce Intent to Merge

A major announcement was released today: the Boards of Directors of both the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society and of the Federation of Genealogical Societies have announced they plan to merge the two organizations. This strikes me as a great idea as these two competing organizations have long overlapped many of each other’s efforts in serving their members, holding duplicate and expensive national conferences, and in many other ways. I am sure the transition will be challenging and probably not everything will progress smoothly. However, the end result should be one national organization that can better serve the genealogy community and do so at significantly lower expense than the two have been able to do separately.

Here is the announcement:

August 21, 2019 – Washington, D.C.

In a historic move, the boards of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) and the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announced today their intent to merge. The two organizations, both non-profit leaders in the dynamic genealogy industry, will form one consolidated group that will continue to operate as the National Genealogical Society. Both boards approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) earlier this week, and jointly announced the news at the Opening Session of the FGS Family History Conference in Washington, D.C. this morning.

Leaders of both organizations believe this merger will serve the genealogy community by improving support of both individual members and societies in the pursuit of genealogical excellence.

The organizational structure of NGS will be modified to increase functions that support genealogical societies and family organizations. Digitization projects of genealogical importance such as the War of 1812 pensions will continue. The two organizations will continue to operate independently while all details of the merger are completed, no later than October 1, 2020.

Faye Stallings, President of FGS, said: “We are excited about this opportunity to combine with a premier organization that has been in operation since 1903. This will allow for improved and expanded services to help support societies.” Ben Spratling, President of the NGS, commented, “We look forward to continuing the strong legacy of FGS as a ‘gathering point’ for family historians and societies all across the nation.”

About FGS
FGS was founded in 1976 and empowers the genealogical and family history community, especially its societies and organizations, by advocating for the preservation of records and providing resources that enable genealogical organizations to succeed in pursuing their missions. FGS launched the Preserve the Pensions project in 2010 and raised more than $3 million to digitize and make freely available the pension files from the War of 1812. Fundraising was completed for that project in 2016 and the digitization continues. FGS was also the driving force behind the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors project alongside the National Parks Service. To learn more visit fgs.org.

4 Comments

Has mixed feelings about this.
Which one’s policies will prevail over other?
I had experiences with both, and find FGS to be superior when it come to ADA matters. With NGS I had to struggle and it took interventions from others to get NGS to provide services.

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Not sure about this merger. For one thing, I used to have two opportunities to attend an annual conference which meant I could usually find one in my region of the country. Now, that opportunity has been reduced and none of the announced future NGS conferences are in my region. Each organization’s approach to genealogy is different and I’m not sure how well the blend will work. I’m curious as to what drove this merger.

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Barbara Curtindale August 22, 2019 at 7:07 am

I’m sure it will be a challenge for the merger, but beneficial in a sense. I wish them all the success in this endeavor. The professional speakers,attendees and volunteers can now support the merged organization not two. Think of it this way for those that went to both you now only have one set of expenses and can still learn and they say they are extending the days of it . I have attended both groups conferences and they have been excellent. I do feel that FGS offered a more closely related conference for Societies and the Librarians day before. Now you also have the ROOTS TECH to attend, still giving 2 choices.Things change and I like to see advancement. As Bill stated –not always in your region, but they at least do a shift in regions each year for convenience of the different areas. Let’s all think positive and hope it all works. Congrats to the merge teams.

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I was sad to hear about the merger. Now we have half the number of national genealogical conferences. Both attendees and presenters miss out.

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