Mayflower Essay Contest Challenges Massachusetts Students, Grades 5-12

The following announcement was written by American Ancestors, also known as New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS):

A Massachusetts Statewide Student Essay Competition Will Commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the Landing of the Mayflower

American Ancestors|New England Historic Genealogical Society Challenges Massachusetts Students to Reflect Upon the Relevance of the Voyage of the Mayflower 400 Years after Its Arrival

January 14, 2020—Boston, Massachusetts—400 years ago the Mayflower landed on the shores of what would later be known as Massachusetts, forever changing the course of history of four nations: America, England, the Netherlands, and the Wampanoag. American Ancestors—also known as New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS)—a national family history organization headquartered in Boston and one of the groups leading activities to commemorate the quadricentennial of the landing of the Mayflower, has announced a statewide student competition in Massachusetts to honor the story of the Pilgrims and of the native Wampanoag people. The 2020 American Ancestors Young Historians Essay Contest asks students to explore how this 400-year old history relates to our national, familial, and/or personal stories and identities.

Open to students currently enrolled in grades 5–12 in public, private, and parochial schools, and those in home-study programs across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the contest asks participants to address one of three topics:

The U.S. National Genealogical Society Announces Call for Proposals for 2021 Family History Conference

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

FALLS CHURCH, VA, 8 JANUARY 2020—The National Genealogical Society (NGS) will hold its 2021 Family History Conference, Virginia: The Deep Roots of a Nation, in Richmond, Virginia, 19‒22 May 2021. NGS will open the call for proposals on 8 January 2020 and proposals will be accepted until 1 April 2020.

Seventeenth century, native born Virginian William Byrd II once said, “In the beginning, all America was Virginia.” And, as any native Virginian will tell you, he was correct. The first permanent English settlement in what was to become the United States was established at Jamestown in 1607. Patrick Henry’s famous “Give me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech was given in 1775 at St. John’s Church in Richmond. Virginia is the birthplace of eight US presidents—a list which includes four of the first five presidents. The Virginia General Assembly is the longest continuously operating legislative body in North America ―first meeting in Jamestown’s church in 1619. Since 1607 immigrants from many countries have made Virginia their home. Some remained for generations while others moved on to new frontiers to expand, populate, and build a nation.

Steven Smyrl Elected a Fellow of the Society of Genealogists

The following announcement was written by the Accredited Genealogists Ireland:

The prominent Irish genealogist Steven Smyrl has been elected a Fellow of the Society of Genealogists (SoG). The London-based organisation is one of the most prestigious bodies dedicated to ancestral research and it is, indeed, an honour to be granted its Fellowship. His election may be seen as due recognition of his long years of distinguished service to the field of Irish genealogy.

Steven’s most significant contribution to the wider genealogical community, and to society at large, relates to civil registration in Ireland. He was the driving force behind a successful campaign which achieved fundamental change on both sides of the border.

American Ancestors Offers New Employee Benefit Program to Corporations

The following announcement was written by American Ancestors (also known as the New England Historic Genealogical Society):

December 10, 2019—Boston, Massachusetts—In a crowded field of employee benefit options available to companies in Boston, a new program offered by American Ancestors stands apart. The growing interest in genealogy, family history, and DNA testing has inspired American Ancestors to offer companies something unique in the category.

American Ancestors, also known as New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), has announced a new Corporate Membership Program designed for Boston-area companies that want to offer a genealogical research experience with its many celebrated benefits to company personnel. Researching and studying genealogy and family history has experienced a surge in interest and participation in recent years and NEHGS, creators of the respected American Ancestors brand in genealogy with many popular products and services, is among the leaders in the industry.

The National Genealogical Society Introduces Its Newest Online Course: Understanding and Using DNA Test Results

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

FALLS CHURCH, VA, 10 DECEMBER 2019—The National Genealogical Society (NGS) unveiled the newest course in its Continuing Genealogical Studies series, Understanding and Using DNA Test Results. The course is designed to help the millions of individuals, who have taken a DNA test to learn more about their family tree, get the most out of their test results. Students learn at their own pace, in their own home, on any tablet or computer.

“Taking a DNA test is easy,” noted NGS Education Director, Angela McGhie, CG. “Understanding the results and knowing how to use the data to identify your ancestors is more challenging. We are pleased to be able to offer a new course that will teach family historians about patterns of genetic inheritance and how their DNA matches can lead to building a broader family tree.

Wayne County (Indiana) Genealogical Society Moves Into a New Home

If you want to visit the library of the Wayne County Genealogical Society, you need to be aware that the society has moved. Nearly 400 boxes of books and other materials were moved from the Society’s former location in the St. John Lutheran Church building to the First Friends Meeting location on Chester Boulevard.

You can read more about the move in an article by Jason Truitt in the Richmond Palladium-Item at: The Wayne County Genealogical Society’s web site may be found at :

National Genealogical Society Seeks Nominations to the 2020 National Genealogy Hall of Fame

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

The National Genealogy Hall of Fame is an educational project sponsored by the National Genealogical Society (NGS). The entire genealogical community is invited to participate in this project – through annual elections to the Hall of Fame, we honor those individuals of the past who made significant contributions to genealogy and set the high standards by which we work today.

Would your society like to honor a genealogist whose unique, pioneering, or exemplary work lives on today? Perhaps there was a notable genealogist in your state or county whose name should be memorialized in the National Genealogy Hall of Fame. If so, NGS and the National Genealogy Hall of Fame would like to hear from you. They are seeking nominations from the entire genealogical community for persons whose achievements or contributions have made an impact on the field. This educational program increases appreciation of the dedication and useful advancements achieved by committed genealogists whose work paved the way for researchers today. This is an opportunity for your nominee to receive National exposure for their contributions to genealogy.

Association of Professional Genealogists Announces New Officers, Board, and Nominations Committee Members

The following announcement was written by the Association of Professional Genealogists:

David McDonald Named President of World’s Largest Professional Organization for Genealogy

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo., 16 November 2019—The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG®) has announced the results of its election for new officers, board members, and nominations committee members. The APG membership elected six at-large board members for two-year terms. Two nominations committee members were elected for one-year terms. Those elected:

Executive Committee (two-year term)

FREE Access to All Databases on from Tuesday, November 12 through Tuesday, November 19

The following announcement was written by American Ancestors:

Who: American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society, the world’s oldest genealogical organization, and the most respected name in family history.

What: Fall back into family history research with FREE access to more than 1.4 billion searchable names on between Tuesday, Nov. 12 and Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. Anyone can access the many research databases by registering as a FREE Guest Member at contains some of the most important online databases for researching American ancestry, with more than 1.4 billion names in records covering 18 countries. Many databases include original content created by experts and scholars, including:

The International Society for British Genealogy and Family History Presents the Commonwealth Virtual Institute

The following is a press release written by the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH):

The ISBGFH is pleased to announce their Virtual Institute which will run from March 16-19, 2020. The theme for this Institute is Researching in Commonwealth Countries. Each day of the Institute will feature 4 presentations on a particular Commonwealth Country:

Monday March 16Canadian Research presented by Kathryn Lake Hogan, UE, PLCGS. Kathryn is a Canadian professional genealogist who revels in teaching people how to find their ancestors in Canada. She is the founder and owner of the Canadian-based genealogy business, Looking4Ancestors.

Matt Menashes Tapped as Executive Director of the National Genealogical Society

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

FALLS CHURCH, VA, 1 NOVEMBER 2019—The National Genealogical Society (NGS) Board of Directors welcomes Matt Menashes, a veteran executive with twenty years’ experience in association management, as executive director. He will begin his employment with NGS on 1 November 2019. Menashes will lead all operational aspects of the national membership organization, while working with the Board to develop a shared vision for the future as NGS moves toward a merger with the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) by October 2020.

Menashes comes to NGS from the natural resources sector, where he was a senior executive in associations in outdoor recreation, coastal and marine management, wildlife, and forestry. He has driven increases in member engagement, revenue, and educational programming for multiple organizations. He is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and a longtime member of both the American Society of Association Executives and BoardSource. Menashes currently serves on the Board of Leveling the Playing Field, a charity that provides sports equipment to underserved youth throughout the Washington, DC/Baltimore region.

IGRS Revives its Student Membership Scheme

The following announcement was written by the Irish Genealogical Research Society:

The Irish Genealogical Research Society is pleased to announce that it has revived its Student Membership Scheme and admitted a young enthusiast under the category. Daniel Loftus, a teenager from Co. Cork, has been made a student member of the IGRS, with annual membership fees waived, for a period of three years.

The status was granted to offer encouragement for Daniel to develop experience and knowledge of genealogy. It was given in recognition of the commitment to the subject he has shown already in setting up a website, a blog and social media accounts to engage with people, sharing his enthusiasm for family history.

The Student Membership Scheme was first introduced over a decade ago and awarded at the discretion of the Society’s Council, though it has not been active in the past few years. This is the first time it has been granted to a secondary school student. Daniel responded ‘Wow, this is an honour!’ when informed that he was to receive this concession from the IGRS.

Book Your Hotel Reservations Now for the 2020 NGS Family History Conference

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

Discounted hotel rooms are rapidly selling out for the National Genealogical Society’s forty-second annual Family History Conference, Echoes of Our Ancestors. Lock in your reduced rate by reserving your accommodations today.

The conference will be held 20-23 May 2020 at the Salt Palace Convention Center (SPCC), 100 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah. It will feature more than 150 genealogy lectures on a wide variety of topics including DNA, ethnic sources, historical migrations, immigration, research techniques, specialized collections at the Family History Library, and more.

NGS offers attendees a choice of several hotels with discounted rates. All are convenient to the convention center. The Radisson Hotel Salt Lake City Downtown is located adjacent to the convention center, and the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel is only half a block away. Only a few rooms remain available at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel. The NGS room block in official conference hotel, the Hilton Salt Lake City Center, is currently sold out.

Dirk Weissleder elected new General Secretary of the World Federation of Genealogy and Heraldry (CIGH)

The following announcement was written by the International Confederation of Genealogy and Heraldry:

The General Assembly of the International Confederation of Genealogy and Heraldry (Confédération Internationale de Généalogie et d`Héraldique, CIGH) on Friday, 20.09.2019 in Antwerp, Belgium, elected Dirk Weissleder (50), Chairman of the German umbrella organization (DAGV), from Laatzen near Hanover, as its General Secretary. Weissleder, who heads the German umbrella organization for family history research (genealogy) and heraldry, succeeds the Russian Dr. Stanislav V. Dumin from Moscow, who was elected 3rd Vice President. Weissleder is the first German to hold the position of General Secretary of the World Federation.

CIGH President Pier Felice degli Uberti from Italy
(right) welcomes Dirk Weissleder as new General
Secretary of the World Federation of Genealogie
and Heraldry (CIGH)
Foto: privat

Association of Professional Genealogists Awards Members for Contributions to the Organization and Profession; Announces Golden Chapter Award

The following announcement was written by the Association of Professional Genealogists:

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, and WHEAT RIDGE, Colo., 19 September 2019 − The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG®) honored several members for their achievements and service to the profession at its 2019 Professional Management Conference (PMC) in Salt Lake City, Utah. APG President Billie Stone Fogarty presented the awards at today’s opening session of the PMC.

The Laura G. Prescott Award for Exemplary Service to Professional Genealogy was presented to Paula Stuart Warren, CG.® The award recognizes exemplary professionalism and continuing encouragement to other professional genealogists. A past officer of APG, Paula is an educator, lecturer, author, and institute course coordinator. She is a past recipient of the APG Grahame T. Smallwood Award of Merit and, in 2011, was named a Fellow by the Utah Genealogical Association. She has served on the boards of the Minnesota Genealogical Society and the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and, in 2017, received the FGS Loretto D. Szucs Service Award. She is the author of Your Guide to the Family History Library and Minnesota Genealogical Reference Guide and of numerous articles on various research facilities and types of records.

Association of Professional Genealogists Announces Staff Changes

The following announcement was written by the Association of Professional Genealogists:

Names Seema-Jayne Berquist Kenney as Coordinator for 2021 Professional Management Conference

APG Thanks Annette Burke Lyttle for her Service to the Field’s Premier Professional Genealogy Conference

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo., 19 September 2019—The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG®) today announced the appointment of Seema-Jayne Kenney as coordinator for the 2021 Professional Management Conference (PMC). Kenney, of Upton Massachusetts, joins Judy Nimer Muhn, in rotating coordination of this premier event for professional genealogists. Kenney is a researcher and speaker, who has served on the New England Regional Genealogical Consortium planning committee and is certified through the Birren Center as an Autobiography Consultant and through Legacy Stories as a Legacy Planner.

Ontario Genealogical Society Presents Peter Wilson with the Society’s Award of Merit

Peter Wilson (left) was presented the Award of Merit by the Ontario Genealogical Society’s President Steve Fulton

Peter Wilson, the Richmond Hill, Ontario, Public Library’s Local History Librarian, was recently award the Ontario Genealogical Society’s Award of Merit for his work in leading the Library’s efforts in the organization, preservation, and digitization of genealogical and local history material.

According to the announcement, “Peter has worked tirelessly to preserve the area’s local history and to ensure that materials are made available and accessible through digitization. In addition to providing access to a diverse local history collection housed in the Richmond Hill Public Library’s Mary-Lou Griffin Local History Room, Peter and the Library also support the Ontario Genealogical Society’s York Branch by showcasing the branch’s collection of material through the RHPL online catalogue, and by offering training opportunities for the use of genealogy tools like Family Tree Maker software and Ancestry Library Edition. Congratulations Peter!”

My thanks to newsletter reader Terry Mulcahy for telling me about this award.

Board for Certification of Genealogists Elects 2019-2020 Officers

The following announcement was written by the Board for Certification of Genealogists :

At its semi-annual meeting held 7 September 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Board of Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) elected officers for the coming year. Elected were:

LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, CGL

    • President LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, CGL
    • Vice-President Angela Packer McGhie, CG
    • Secretary Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL
    • Treasurer Scott Wilds, CG
    • Executive Committee Member at Large Laurel T. Baty, CG
    • Executive Committee Member at Large Sara Anne Scribner, CG

Bruegger’s Bagels Co-Founder Nordahl Brue and Wife Suzanne Brue Donate $1.5 Million to the New England Historic Genealogical Society

The following announcement was written by the New England Historic Genealogical Society:

Gift of $1.5 Million from Nordahl and Suzanne Brue to Advance Educational Programming at American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society

The Brue Family Learning Center at American Ancestors Will Inspire New Family Historians and Genealogists

September 12, 2019—Boston, Massachusetts—Bruegger’s Bagels co-founder Nordahl Brue and his wife Suzanne Brue have made a gift of $1.5 million to New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) to endow the creation of a family history learning center where visitors from all backgrounds can learn more about their ancestry.

New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS)—known online as American Ancestors to millions of users—is the nation’s oldest and largest genealogical society. The gift will endow the creation of a new Brue Family Learning Center as part of a campus expansion program to introduce family and local history to wider audiences. It will also fund the creation of unique program content in family history for the organization’s online and special events offerings. This gift follows American Ancestors and NEHGS’s successful $62.5 million capital campaign and its acquisition of an adjacent building at 97 Newbury Street, into which its facilities will soon expand.

A Report from the FGS Conference in Washington, DC

I had a great time the annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) last week. I thought I would share some of the highlights with you. Hopefully, some of my photos will give you an idea of some of the events at this major genealogy conference.

NOTE: Click on any image in this article to view a larger version. Please feel free to save or to republish any image in this article. There is no need to ask me for permission. “Just do it.”

The conference started on Wednesday, August 21, 2019. The big news that morning was the announcement that FGS and the U.S. National Genealogical Society (NGS) have agreed to merge and become one organization, to be called the National Genealogical Society. You can read the announcement in an earlier article in this newsletter at:

The announcement created a lot of “buzz” and was discussed most all week. Most of the folks I talked with seem to believe it will be a positive move for both organizations.