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

The following announcement was written by the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society:

FALLS CHURCH, VA, 7 JULY 2020—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 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.

Registration is Now Open for the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ Virtual Family History Conference

The following announcement was written by the Federation of Genealogical Societies:

Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society Receives a $6,000 Grant

Virginia Humanities has announced $235,800 in recent grants to nonprofit organizations in support of public humanities programs for audiences throughout the state. Virginia Humanities has awarded grants to museums, historical societies, and other cultural non-profits across the state since 1974.

“At Virginia Humanities, we recognize that the present and the future of the commonwealth depend on our coming together to understand our past. The projects funded in this grant cycle use storytelling, history, and art to explore the diverse array of cultures in our state,” said Matthew Gibson, Virginia Humanities executive director. “These projects will serve everyone in the commonwealth and help us better understand where we’re all coming from.”

One of the nonprofit organizations to receive a grant this year from Virginia Humanities is the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. The $6,000 grant is to help fund the 42nd annual Conference of the society, which will be held virtually in 2020 for the first time in its history.

FREE Virtual Genealogy Fair in France on Saturday; Salon de généalogie

Do you have French ancestry? Do you also read and write French? If so, you may be interested in attending a virtual (online) genealogy conference in France.

Every year, the genealogical organizations in France have a national “Salon de Généalogie” that attracts 15,000 – 20,000 in-person attendees. Lots of vendor stands (huttes) with material, info, etc. Th same conference also includes lots of lectures, webinars, presentations of various kinds, demonstrations (how to use Généanet, Filae, etc.). This year, for the first time, conference organizers had to go virtual, like everyone else. It’s ALL FREE (and obviously, all in French). The link is:

It will be this coming Saturday, 27 June, from 9 am to 6 pm (in France, so 3 am to noon Eastern U.S. time). The web page says that all conferences are free and do not require advance registration. Just click on the link to join. The announcement says that the detailed schedule of conferences will be posted soon (on the website, accessible by the link:

IAJGS Announces First Virtual Conference on Jewish Genealogy

The following announcement was written by the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies:

The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) announces its 40th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy will be a virtual conference for the first time, held Aug. 10-13, 2020.

“Given COVID-19, we are unable to hold our usual in-person conference, but are excited with the possibilities in continuing to offer our broad array of presentations and meetings on a virtual platform to our diverse audiences worldwide, from first-timers to conference veterans,” said Robinn Magid, conference chair.

Brainstorming and Connectivity will be the focus of four days of live, streamed sessions on broad topics presented as plenary sessions, panels and webinars. Meeting rooms will be provided for Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Birds-of-a-Feather (BOFs) to help gather our worldwide audience. The Pre-Recorded Video Archive available to conference registrants for up to 60 days after the virtual conference will offer an even wider range of specialized presentations beyond the scheduled, live sessions.

Registration Now Open for Six International and Ethnic Live Workshops at the NGS 2020 Family History Conference

The following announcement was written by the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society:

FALLS CHURCH, VA, 16 JUNE 2020—Registration is now open for six international and ethnic workshops presented live and hosted by the National Genealogical Society (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.

Visit the Upcoming Online Family History Show

The following announcement was written by the organizers of the Online Family History Show:

While, in these unprecedented times, we are not going to be able to meet as usual at York in England during this month for the customary Family History Show at the racecourse, the good news is that we are still going to be able to safely enjoy access to many of the usual features of the show. The Family History Show has announced that it will be coming to you as an online event on the 20th of June featuring a wide range of virtual stalls from family history societies to archives and genealogical suppliers.

The online event gives benefits other than safety, those from distant shores and those that have disabilities that make it difficult to attend, can now visit with relative ease.

The Family History Show – Online will, mirroring the format of the very successful live shows, feature an online lecture theatre, the popular ‘Ask the expert’ area – where you can put questions forward to their specialists – as well as a whole host of stalls where you can ask for advice as well as buy genealogical products.

NGS 2020 On-Demand! Now Available

The following announcement was written by the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society:

FALLS CHURCH, VA, 9 JUNE 2020—The National Genealogical Society (NGS) announced that registration for its 2020 Virtual Conference resumes on 9 June. Over 1,887 people participated in the first part of the virtual event, NGS 2020 Live! The second part, NGS 2020 On-Demand!, starts streaming 1 July.

NGS 2020 On-Demand! is now available for purchase on If you register for any NGS 2020 On-Demand! package, you’ll also receive the full day of lecture sessions from NGS 2020 Live! PlaybackNGS will contact all registrants to let them know when they can begin choosing their lecture sessions.

Due to Covid-19 the 2020 British Institute Will Be Virtual

Each presenter will introduce topics they will cover in 2021, so you can begin your research while staying healthy and safe at home. Basic through intermediate levels of instruction will be offered in four “Live” presentations with “live” question and answer time. From the comfort of your home access a full syllabus highlighting relevant record groups. Courses will run consecutively, so take one, two, or all three from 12-14 October. We hope to “see” you there!

Virtual Celtic Connections Conference Registrations are Now Open

The following announcement was written by Irish Genealogical Society International (IGSI) and The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA):

Virtual Celtic Connections Conference, available online July 31-August 31, 2020

Join us on a virtual “Journey Home” and learn more about researching your family history!


  • On-demand presentations – No difficult decisions about which lecture to attend! All 25 pre-recorded presentations will be available for you to view whenever you choose.
  • Conference extended from July 31-August 31 – Plenty of time to listen to any and all talks of interest to you (as long as you do so before August 31).
  • Nine live chat sessions with the presenters – Opportunities for you to ask questions and interact with our speakers and other attendees. Schedule will be posted soon.
  • Safe, convenient and less expensive – No risky and costly travel, no reservations, no trip delays. View the presentations from home at your convenience!
  • Renowned genealogists cover a variety of topics – Fiona Fitzsimons, Maurice Gleeson, John Grenham, Chris Paton plus seven outstanding U.S. genealogy experts will address multiple topics and interests. See the complete program listing at our website (
  • Online syllabus — Electronic version of the conference syllabus will include all presentations as well as discounts on digital products.

Register now at

General Society of Mayflower Descendants has cancelled its 42nd Congress

The cancellation is due to the Covid19 (CoronaVirus) pandemic. The society plans to hold its next Congress in September 2021.

Registration Now Open for NYSFHC and NYSFHC @Home

The following announcement was written by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society:

Dear Friends –

The NYG&B has been actively working to transition our plans for the 2020 New York State Family History Conference (NYSFHC) to ensure a safe, healthy, and productive experience for everyone. NYSFHC is New York’s largest family history event, with attendees from across the United States. This year, we are proud to announce the addition of NYSFHC@Home—a digital conference experience in conjunction with our activities in Albany. Thanks to the dedication of our speakers and sponsors, this brand-new experience will deliver the NYSFHC experience remotely, from the comfort of your home.

What is NSYFHC@Home?

The Celtic Connections Conference in Wheeling, Illinois has been Canceled

Here is a message from the Celtic Connections web site at

For health and safety reasons we have cancelled the fourth biennial Celtic Connections Conference. The cancellation presents a detour in our “Journey Home.”

However we know that you want to further your education, so we are investigating ways to provide this conference electronically. If our investigations are successful, our journey home will become a virtual experience.

The Ontario (Canada) Ancestors Conference will be held as an Online Virtual Conference on June 6 & 7, 2020

The Details may be found at

A list of all the other genealogy cancellations and postponements received to date may be found at

Is This the End of Genealogy Conferences as We Have Known Them?

Warning: This article contains personal opinions.
A newsletter reader wrote to me a few days ago and asked some questions that I suspect other genealogists are wondering about. Here is an excerpt from her message:

“Every time I look at a genealogy website these days I see lists of events which are cancelled or postponed. Some societies have adjusted to this by offering webinars or remote sessions via Zoom. We are left wondering if we will ever meet in groups, or go to our local Family History Center again. Or is this the end of genealogy as we have known it?”

I wrote an answer to her but decided to also publish my answer in this newsletter in case others have similar questions:

New Details About the NGS Virtual Conference

The following announcement was written by the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society:

FALLS CHURCH, VA, 8 MAY 2020—The National Genealogical Society (NGS) has had a tremendous response from its speakers and sponsors for the recent transition to a virtual conference.  NGS just announced it now has over 85 lectures for registrants to choose from in any package selected for the NGS Virtual Conference. NGS sponsors will be offering more than 10 lectures as a bonus addition to every registration package purchased. You can review the current list of lecture sessions and bonus sponsored lectures at the NGS Conference website.

NGS’s Virtual Family History Conference is a tremendous value. It features two components included with your registration: NGS 2020 Live! and NGS 2020 On-Demand! Registrants will have their choice of selecting from over 85 lecture sessions in the package they purchase. All sessions are available for repeat viewings until 15 May 2021. Anyone with concerns about the technology portion  of joining the virtual event or on-demand lectures, a member of the NGS or Playback Now staff will be happy to assist you.

Heinz History Center to Host Virtual Genealogy Workshops

Has your local library or genealogy society stopped holding weekly or monthly genealogy activities because of the present pandemic? If so, perhaps that organization should consider offering virtual meetings and workshops. One excellent example may be found at the Detre Library & Archives of the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The Senator John Heinz History Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, will be holding two virtual genealogy workshops this month. The workshops will feature live presentations from renowned genealogists and examine historic records and electronic resources.

You can learn more in an article by Paul Guggenheimer in the TribLive web site at However, there appears to be a broken link in that article. At the bottom of the page at, the last sentence should read, “Both workshops will be conducted virtually via Zoom. Those interested can register online at”

My thanks to the several newsletter readers who sent corrections to the broken link.

An Unusual Location for Your Society’s Next Online Virtual Conference

Here is one organization’s solution when the Covid-19 “Shelter in Place” rules forced the sponsoring organization to cancel its scheduled in-person conference and move it to an online virtual conference. The experience might serve as an example for genealogy conferences.

Instead of holding the virtual conference on Zoom, WhatsApp, Skype Meetings, Microsoft Teams, or some similar online video conferencing product that simply shows all the presenters as (boring) talking heads, why not hold the virtual conference inside Animal Crossing, the Nintendo Switch hit game released in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. If not Animal Crossing, how about some other online game?

A technical conference held recently in Animal Crossing

Registration Now Open for the National Genealogical Society 2020 Live! Virtual Conference

The following announcement was written by the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society:

FALLS CHURCH, VA, 28 APRIL 2020—Registration is now open for the National Genealogical Society‘s Virtual Family History Conference starting with NGS 2020 Live! on 20 May, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (EDT). In addition, conference registrants will receive streaming access to your choice of up to 45 On-Demand! audio-video sessions from 1 July 2020 through 15 May 2021; an electronic copy of the conference syllabus; and an opportunity to win one of seventeen prizes on 20 May. Family historians may register for the conference on the NGS Conference website.  Registration closes on 15 May 2020. If you were already registered to attend the event in Salt Lake City, your registration will automatically be transferred to the virtual event. For more details, visit the conference website.

NGS 2020 Live! will feature lectures by four of the most renowned genealogy scholars in America, including Thomas Wright Jones, PhD, CG®, FASG, FUGA, FNGS; Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGLSM; Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA; and Blaine Bettinger, PhD, JD. Their lecture titles are, respectively, “Validating Unsourced Online Information”; “Breaker Boys and Spinner Girls: Child Labor Laws and Their Records”; “Turning Witnesses into Evidence”; and “What If? Learning About DNA Through Case Studies.” An online chat will take place during each session as well as a short Q&A after each session facilitated by Ann Staley, CG, CGL.

The 4th Celtic Connections conference scheduled for July 31 in Chicago has been Canceled

Illinois – Chicago – the 4th Celtic Connections conference scheduled for July 31 in Chicago has been canceled.

A list of all the other genealogy cancellations and postponements received to date may be found at