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.

National Genealogical Society is Providing Free Access to NGS Monthly Archives Through 31 July 2020

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

During this time when so many Americans must stay at home, the National Genealogical Society (NGS) is offering non-members free access to five years of NGS Monthly. Starting immediately through 31 July 2020, everyone interested in family history can read insightful articles in our digital publication archive.

Edited and authored by Aaron Goodwin, an award-winning genealogist, NGS Monthly’s articles help researchers of all levels. The articles offer family historians invaluable insights on methodology and digestible recommendations on genealogical research by considering the techniques of skilled researchers and scholars, and how they solved difficult research problems. Topics often examine valuable lessons in case studies published in the scholarly NGS Quarterly to help readers understand how to apply new concepts to their own work.

American Ancestors│NEHGS and the Boston Public Library Present a Story of Immigration and Assimilation

The following announcement was written byAmerican Ancestors│NEHGS

American Ancestors│NEHGS and the Boston Public Library
Present a Story of Immigration and Assimilation

Author Phuc Tran with His New Book SIGH, GONE
Talks Tuesday, April 28, at 6 p.m. EDST in a New Virtual Event Series
Titled “American Stories, Inspiration Today”

Topics to Range from 1630s Plymouth to Immigrant America 1980s Style,
Ties to Ireland and the Potato Famine to the Impactful Realm
of DNA Testing Today – All Providing History, Inspiration, Intelligence
on the American Experience for This Unprecedented At-home Time

Talks Are Free – Online Registration Now Open

Phuc Tran

April 24, 2020—Boston, Massachusetts—On Tuesday, April 28, at 6:00 p.m. EDST, author Phuc Tran, who was born in Vietnam, will share his story of immigration and assimilation with online audiences in a virtual event presented in a new series titled “American Stories, Inspiration Today” by American Ancestors │New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS). Presented in partnership with the Boston Public Library, the online series features best-selling authors and their new illuminating works.

The new virtual event series aims to “provide our quarantined audiences with the context of history, some hard-won insight and intelligence, and a dose of inspiration that might get us all through this unprecedented at-home time,” said Margaret Talcott of American Ancestors │NEHGS, one of the series’ producers. Tran is the second author in the series, with two more to come in May.

Announcing $20 off all New Memberships from American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society

The following announcement was written by American Ancestors / New England Historic Genealogical Society:

American Ancestors and NEHGS, America’s founding genealogical organization, has announced a special discount on new memberships during the month of April 2020. Given the unprecedented global health crisis, with individuals remaining at home, the organization is offering a $20 discount on any new annual membership for a limited time to encourage others to engage in the rewarding activity of researching family history. Throughout April, the cost of a new, individual, annual membership has been reduced to $74.95.

American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is the nation’s most comprehensive resource for family history research. Members have access to expert family history services through the organization’s staff, original published scholarship, its data-rich website at, outstanding online educational opportunities, and a state-of-the-art research center located in downtown Boston, Mass. American Ancestors helps family historians of all levels explore their past and understand their families’ unique place in history.

An annual, individual membership with American Ancestors includes:

ISBGFH DNA Virtual Institute Registration is Now Open

The following announcement was written by the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History:


The International Society for British Genealogy and Family History is pleased to announce that registration for the DNA Virtual Institute by Dr Maurice Gleeson is now OPEN!

The virtual institute will run over two days and all presentations will be LIVE so seats are limited. The presentations will be held on September 8 & 9, 2020.

Topics to be covered:

How to Quickly Pull Together an Online Streaming Event

Has your local society been forced to cancel a planned event due to the CoronaVirus concerns? Would you like to convert it into an online video conference? If so, how do you plan to do that?

Many variables are involved, of course. However, you can learn how one (non-genealogy) organization managed to hold a well-attended online event on short notice.

Quoting from the article by Alan Soon in the NiemanLab web site:

“If you’re reading this, you’re probably trying to figure out how to do your first online event. We decided to do Splice Low-Res because (1) we needed to learn how to do this, as COVID-19 leads us deeper online, and (2) we wanted to see how the media startup community was holding up.

“We haven’t figured it all out — but this is what we’ve learned so far. Let us know where you think we could have done better.”

Plans for the National Genealogical Society’s Annual Conference in May

The (U.S.) National Genealogical Society’s Annual Conference is planned for May 20 to 23, 2020 in Salt Lake City. Obviously, with all the news and the impact of the CoronaVirus (also called COVID-19) and especially the frequent announcements of cancelations or postponements of other large conferences, conventions, and other meetings, the wisdom of holding a major conference at this time is in question.

Specific questions include:

Should the conference be canceled?

If it is held as an in-person event, how many people are willing to travel to the event in these times?

Will the convention center, nearby hotels and restaurants, and even the airlines be capable of handling a large conference during these times of many events being canceled? (Many of those organizations are presently operating with minimal staffing; in some cases, the needed facility may be closed.)

Society of Genealogists and FamilySearch Partnership to Digitize the SoG’s Collection of Compiled Family Histories

The following announcement was written by the Society of Genealogists:

The Society of Genealogists and FamilySearch are about to start work on a programme of digitization of some 9000 family history books and over 5000 genealogy pamphlets, offprints and unpublished tracts from the Society of Genealogists’ extensive genealogy library.

Since its foundation in 1911 the Society of Genealogists has collected the largest assembly of narrative family histories and biographies in the United Kingdom. Some of its collection are unique materials deposited in in the Society’s library for the use of genealogists. This digitization programme not only ensures the preservation of the library’s books, bound monographs and multi-volume histories, but also enables the Society to make them available to a wider audience. Scanned digital images of the works will be available for use in the library and, where possible, will be published online as part of the SoG’s digital collections.

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.