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  • 24 May 2021 10:38 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the folks at

    [Glasgow, Scotland 22 May 2021] Graham and Emma Maxwell of today announce the release of over 100,000 prison register entries to This announcement was made during the Scottish Indexes Conference, the 10th free Scottish family history conference of the pandemic.

    It’s perhaps a sad reality that when our ancestors fell on hard times or got themselves into trouble we are much more likely to find out more about them. An ancestor who spent just one night in jail is likely to have had their age, birthplace, height, weight, scars, education level, hair colour and eye colour recorded. This makes prison registers vital not only to tracing your ancestors but also in discovering the people behind the names.

    These entries have been added to ‘Scotland's Criminal Database’ which includes High Court, Sheriff Court and prison records. All indexes on are free to search and the added features such as the free tutorials in the Learning Zone make the website easy to use.

    This update includes entries from the following prisons:

    • Ayr, Ayrshire
    • Greenock, Renfrewshire
    • Edinburgh, Midlothian
    • Barlinnie, Glasgow, Lanarkshire
    • Duke Street, Glasgow, Lanarkshire
    • Hamilton, Lanarkshire
    • Stirling, Stirlingshire
    • Maxwelltown, Troqueer, Stewartry of Kirkcudbright
    • Perth, Perthshire
    • Paisley, Renfrewshire
    • Stranraer, Wigtownshire
    • Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire
    • Wigtown, Wigtownshire
    • Dumfries, Dumfriessire
    • Dundee, Angus
    • Lanark, Lanarkshire
    • Kirkcudbright, Stewartry of Kirkcudbright

    Sadly not all prison registers have survived and this is an ongoing project. To see a precise breakdown of coverage of ‘Scotland's Criminal Database’ please see:

    About is run by husband and wife team Graham and Emma Maxwell, both experienced Scottish genealogists. As well as helping clients with their family history, Graham and Emma also index historical Scottish records and make them available for free on their website.

  • 24 May 2021 8:41 AM | Anonymous

    The following is an extract from an article by Elias Visontay and published in The Guardian at

    Historians are aghast that the National Archives have had to resort to crowdfunding to protect irreplaceable historical records.

    A damaged photograph from the collection of the National Archive of Australia

    Historians are calling it an international embarrassment for Australia and saying it is “inconceivable that it has come to this”, as they preemptively mourn the loss of “irreplaceable national history”.

    The National Archives of Australia doesn’t often make headlines, but when it does, it’s rarely good news.

    Last year, it famously lost a years-long legal battle to keep secret the Palace letters – a trove of correspondence between Australia’s governor-general and the Queen’s private secretary in the lead up to the dismissal of Australia’s then prime minister, Gough Whitlam, in 1975.

    As the institution – which is required by legislation to preserve records from Australian government agencies – was licking its financial wounds from the costly legal battle, it was dealt a further blow in this month’s federal budget, which largely ignored a “digital cliff” the archives was facing.

    Last week, it was revealed the archives had resorted to launching a crowdfunding site in a last ditch attempt to raise tens of millions of dollars to digitise disintegrating historical materials.

    The crowdfunding push has outraged Australia’s archivists and historians, and raised questions about the value Australia places on its national history.

    There is a lot more information available at:

  • 21 May 2021 3:34 PM | Anonymous

    The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

    Experienced genealogists are always aware that they must verify information by looking at original documents or a microfilm or digital image of an original document. We should know better than to believe a statement on a web site, in a genealogy book, or a verbal statement from Aunt Tilley about the "facts" of our family trees. However, what is the definition of an "original document?"

    Let's take one well-known claim of an original document that isn't really accurate: the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Almost all American schoolchildren are familiar with this document; and, if we paid attention in class, we know that the document is on display at the U.S. National Archives building in Washington, D.C. In fact, millions of us, myself included, have visited that building to view the document on display. However, how many of us were ever told that the document displayed in Washington is not the original, hand-written document? Instead, it is one of many copies that were produced on a printing press.

    No, this isn't a story plot from a Nicholas Cage movie. In fact, the document displayed at the National Archives building in Washington, D.C. is a copy made by Philadelphia printer John Dunlap, official printer to the Congress, during the evening of July 4, 1776, after the original, hand-written document was given to him. Admittedly, the original and the copies made by John Dunlap had no signatures. The "copy" now on display at the National Archives is the only copy that was actually signed by each delegate and therefore is the one that we can now refer to as the real Declaration of Independence. However, it was produced on a printing press and is not the original, hand-written piece of paper.

    The original Declaration of Independence was written by hand by Thomas Jefferson. After making alterations to his draft as suggested by Ben Franklin and John Adams, Jefferson later recalled that, "I then wrote a fair copy, reported it to the Committee, and from them, unaltered, to Congress." 

    The committee sent the hand-written manuscript document, probably Thomas Jefferson's "fair copy" of his rough draft, to John Dunlap, official printer to the Congress. Dunlap printed the copies on the night of July 4, 1776. It is unknown exactly how many copies were printed, but the number is estimated at about 200.

    The remainder of this article is reserved for Plus Edition subscribers only. If you have a Plus Edition subscription, you may read the full article at:*)-Plus-Edition-News-Articles/10530485.

    If you are not yet a Plus Edition subscriber, you can learn more about such subscriptions and even upgrade to a Plus Edition subscription immediately at

  • 21 May 2021 3:30 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Family History TV:

    We are excited to announce the launch of our new on-demand family history talks platform: Family History TV (

    This new website is the place to watch expert speakers from the world of British genealogy, Military History, DNA, House History and Social History deliver their informative and entertaining talks online. This new and reasonably priced service aims to open up these talks to a wider audience.

    Ranging from a behind the scenes look at the Who Do You Think You Are? TV show, or advice and guidance once you have your DNA results, this channel offers videos to suit most family historians. If you are seeking advice on researching your ancestors, or would like to find out more about social history, there are videos from some of the best speakers who normally talk to packed theatres.

    Family History TV features a Military Expert & Professional Researcher drawing on his years of experience from researching thousands of soldiers to explore what can be found when looking for a military ancestor. There are talks from an experienced Social Historian exploring the records that shine a light on sporting ancestors, a well respected Professional Genealogist and House Historian gives you her valuable advice, and top DNA Experts share their extensive knowledge of this popular subject.

    With even more genealogical themed presentations to be released in the next few months, each talk has been professionally edited into a high quality video that can be rented for the very attractive low price of just £2.99 and then watched for the next 24 hours.

    Take a look at the high quality content available and as a special introductory offer watch Keith Gregson’s Hints and Tips video for free at

  • 21 May 2021 2:44 PM | Anonymous

    What do pop queen Madonna, Canadian singer Celine Dion, Angelina Jolie, and the Prince of Wales' mistress Camilla Parker-Bowles have in common? One genealogist claimed that they are all related.

    The late American genealogist William Addams Reitwiesner found that Bowles' great-grandparents from nine generations ago were also ancestors of the two singers. The relevant individuals, all French-Canadians, lived in the seventeenth century.

    Camilla and Madonna are both descended from Zacharie Cloutier (1617-1708), while Camilla and Celine descend from Jean Guyon (1619-1694) - both of whom died in Chateau-Richer, Quebec. Angelina Jolie is also a distant relative of Camilla, with Camilla and Ms Jolie being ninth cousins. Hillary Rodham Clinton is related – albeit distantly – to Angelina Jolie and Madonna.

    You can see William Addams Reitwiesner’s work at:

    You can also view Madonna’s ancestry on’s Web site. In fact, you can even download a GEDCOM file from that site to your hard drive and then import that data directly into your Windows or Macintosh genealogy program. That certainly saves a lot of manual typing! Look at for details.

    NOTE: All of the information presented on the Web pages mentioned is offered on an "as is" basis. Accuracy of the information is not guaranteed by anyone. As with any genealogy information, it is up to you to verify the accuracy of the data by independent means.

    By the way, the writer of this newsletter is also descended from both Zacharie Cloutier and Jean Guyon, sieur du (Lord of) Buisson. In fact, almost everyone with French-Canadian ancestry can find these two men in their family trees as well. If you can find these two men in your family tree, you, too, are a distant cousin of Madonna, Celine Dion, Angelina Jolie, and Camilla Parker-Bowles.

  • 21 May 2021 10:07 AM | Anonymous

    There is an interesting genealogy and DNA-related question and answer published in the "Ask Amy" syndicated advice column that may interest genealogists and DNA experts everywhere.

    Amy Dickinson received the following question from a reader:

    Dear Amy: I’ve been into genealogy for over 20 years. I’m the keeper of my father’s side of the family tree.

    Recently, because of DNA testing, I’ve discovered that my cousins have African ancestry, coming from my aunt’s husband’s line. I’ve done some research and I think I know in what generation this happened.

    Growing up I remember my mother saying they had Native American ancestry (they have none). So I don’t know if my cousins or my uncle even knew, or if this was the story they’d been told because it was more “acceptable.”

    How do I ask them about their ancestry without being intrusive? I’m interested, but I’m too polite to ask.

    I believe Amy Dickinson provided an excellent answer.

    This column is syndicated and is published in many newspapers and web sites around the country. You might find it in your local newspaper. If not, look at the East Bay Times' web site at:

  • 21 May 2021 9:47 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

    Millions of new births, marriages, deaths and newspapers from across Scotland are now available to search this Findmypast Friday

    Scotland, Modern and Civil Births 1855-2019

    Compiled from a number of sources, this collection is essential for enriching the Scottish branches of your family tree.

    This growing set of millions of records has been compiled from a number of sources, including local government indexes held by various councils and archives, volunteer & local family history society transcriptions, modern records and civil registers.

    Providing a variety of valuable biographical details including dates, locations, parents’ names and residences, the collection will continue to grow over the coming months as further records are collated.

    Scotland, Modern and Civil Marriages 1855-2019

    Did your relatives exchange wedding vows in Scotland? Unlock family love stories with this useful resource. 

    Search this collection to discover when, where and to whom your ancestors were married. Using the information you glean from this index, you can access copies of original Scottish marriage certificates via ScotlandsPeople.

    Scotland, Modern and Civil Deaths & Burials 1855-2021

    This vast record set reveals rich Scottish family research detail including death and burial facts, addresses, occupations and next of kin.

    Findmypast is home to the fastest growing collection of Scottish family records online. Enhance your research by combining these death and burial records with Scotland Monumental Inscriptions, the largest resource of its kind. With it, you'll uncover vital details about your Scottish ancestors’ lives and deaths.

    Expect these collections of modern and civil birth, marriage and death records to expand further over the coming months as Findmypast continue to update their rapidly growing Scottish collection.


    Findmypast have just published five new Scottish newspapers and updated 10 others with extra pages.

    Kirriemuir Free Press and Angus Advertiser, 11 August 1927. 
    Read the full page

    Findmypast’s Scottish newspaper archive has grown with the addition of:

    While the following titles have been supplemented with additional pages:

  • 20 May 2021 8:46 PM | Anonymous

    NOTE: This article is off-topic: it has nothing to do with genealogy or with online privacy. However, it is something that I believe all cell phone users should be aware of. The online app called Zello could save your life. It is also a great way to communicate with groups of people, such as relatives or members of a search-and-rescue organization. I have been using Zello for non-critical communications for a couple of years now and would hate to be without it. With the hurricane season approaching in the northern hemisphere, this is one app that I want to alway/s have installed on my cell phone!

    Zello converts your Android or Apple iOS or Blackberry cell phone or your Windows computer into a general-purpose walkie-talkie. It is sort of a high-tech replacement for CB radio except that Zello converts your cell phone into a free 2-way radio with worldwide range. I have used the free Zello app to talk with friends and relatives in North America free of toll charges while I was walking along the streets of Singapore as well as when I was in New Zealand. I have also used it to talk with communications hobbyists in South America and in the Sahara desert while I was driving in my automobile in Florida.

    Zello also was recently used in the Houston area, New Orleans, all over Florida, Puerto Rico, and in other Caribbean islands during the recent hurricanes when wired telephones and emergency two-way radio towers (police, fire, ambulances, and others) were destroyed by the hurricanes. Cell phones also were sometimes knocked offline during the hurricanes but usually were the first communications systems to be restored to operation once the winds subsided.

    Perhaps the greatest story of all was the use of Zello by the “Cajun Navy” during Hurricane Irma. According to Wikipedia:

    “The Cajun Navy are informal ad-hoc volunteer groups comprising private boat owners who assist in search and rescue efforts in Louisiana and adjacent areas. These groups were formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and reactivated in the aftermaths of the 2016 Louisiana floods and Hurricane Harvey. They are credited with rescuing thousands of citizens during those disasters.

    "These groups draw their name from the region's Cajun people, a significant number of whom are private boat owners and skilled boat pilots. Their boats consist of a number of types, but are typically small vessels such as bass boats, jon boats, air boats, and other small, shallow-draft craft easily transported to flooded areas."

    Using Zello, these individuals were able to speak with each other while allowing all the other users in their group to hear the same words. For example, one person might say, “This is Pat Jones. I’m on my way to rescuing 6 people stranded on the roof of their home on XYZ Street.” My boat can hold 3 people. Can someone meet me there with another boat?” Another person could respond, “This is Jan Smith. I’m on my way to help Pat Jones. Pat, see you in 5 minutes with space for the other 3 stranded people.” All the other rescuers could hear this exchange, freeing them to look for others in need. At the same time, if someone in need had Zello, they could tell the rescue team where they were and get help dispatched to them.

    In all cases, communication with Zello is clear. While I would not call it high-fidelity, my experience with Zello is that it usually produces higher quality audio connections than that of a typical cell phone. There is none of the noise and static bursts that are normally associated with two-way radio communications. In fact, the audio quality on Zello is usually better than that of normal telephone calls.

    Unlike CB radio, Zello communications can be public or private, even (optionally) encrypted to lock out would-be hackers and anyone who wants to "eavesdrop" on your conversations. Yes, you can talk privately with your spouse or with your children or with relatives or with co-workers. Then again, you can also talk on a public Zello channel with emergency personnel during a hurricane.

    Why wouldn't you simply call the other person on the cell phone? You certainly can do that. In fact, if you wish to talk with only one person and you know that person’s telephone number, use of a normal cell phone call is probably the best way to communicate. HOWEVER, Zello also offers something that is not easy with telephone conversations: the opportunity to talk with groups of people at a time; even people with unknown phone numbers, such as police or ambulance drivers and dispatchers or with Red Cross personnel.

    Group conversations are not limited to emergency use only. With Zello, you can have the entire family chat at once or your could have a weekly "family reunion" with all your relatives at a scheduled time, even if some of those relatives are overseas.

    Some families use inexpensive “family radio service” (FRS) walkie-talkies to communicate with each other when at various events. I often see families using those FRS walkie-talkies at Disney or Universal Studio theme parks and occasionally at ball parks and other public events. They are a handy method of keeping track of other family members, especially children. The drawback of (FRS) walkie-talkies is a very short range, usually a mile or even less. However, Zello provides a much better alternative. If all the family members already have cell phones, Zello can provide the same functionality over a much wider worldwide range and at no additional expense for additional hardware.

    Zello also has become very popular with plumbers, electricians, taxi drivers, delivery personnel, ambulance first responders, and all sorts of tradesmen and women where a corporate dispatcher needs to control the movements of mobile employees. Adding the free Zello app to an existing cell phone is much, much cheaper than purchasing, installing, and licensing two-way radios for everyone and Zello also provides worldwide communications. In short, Zello usually works better than traditional 2-way radios in most situations.

    Zello is free for personal or emergency use.

    NOTE: A paid version of Zello is available for enterprise uses, but I will ignore that in this article. Payment is not necessary for personal or emergency communications. If you have need for a large, commercial Zello "2-way radio" network, perhaps for your taxi service, look at:

    Zello works on cellular data networks, either on wi-fi (when available) or on cellular data when outside the range of wi-fi networks. In all cases, the voices of all users are converted to digital signals, sent as data over wi-fi or cellular connections, then converted back to voice at the receiving end. It works in a somewhat similar manner as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephones, such as Skype, Ooma, Vonage, RingCentral, and other VoIP services except that it emulates 2-way radios, not telephones.

    Obviously, you do need to be within range of a cell tower or a wi-fi network in order to use Zello. It is not very effective in the sparsely-populated mountains or deserts of the western U.S. However, it works well in all metropolitan areas and in any rural areas that presently have cellular coverage.

    Since everything runs on Internet data connections, someone who is using Zello on a wi-fi connection can communicate with someone someone using Zello on cellular data and vice versa. Also, it works between different cell phone companies. Someone using a Verizon cell phone can communicate with someone using a T-Mobile telephone in the U.S. or even a Vodafone system in New Zealand.

    Of course, communicating over wi-fi is usually free of charge whereas communication over cellular data may cost money, depending upon the contract you have with your cellular company. In my case, I find that my use of Zello on the Google Fi cellular network while driving in my car adds less than one dollar to my cellular bill each month. That's cheap enough, considering I didn't have to purchase two-way radios and contract with some company to supply radio repeaters.

    I am sure a taxi cab company or anyone else who dispatches employees by frequent use of a two-way radio will incur somewhat higher costs, of course. Even so, I suspect the increase in cellular data charges would still be much, much less than purchasing multiple two-way radios and various repeaters. Even then, the 2-way radio systems would not have worldwide coverage in the same manner as Zello. As long as both Zello users are within range of either wi-fi or cellular networks, they can communicate with crystal-clear communications.

    Also, the necessary "controls" in Zello are simpler to use than that of most 2-way radios. For instance, with Zello you don’t have to memorize channel numbers; most everything is spelled out in English or, optionally, in any of several other languages.

    More than 20 million people around the world are already talking, listening, and sharing ideas on Zello, and that number is increasing rapidly.

    I will point out that several other competitive apps are available that also add walkie-talkie capabilities to cell phones. However, Zello seems to be the one that is used in various disasters to contact friends, relatives, neighbors, and first responders. One of the primary reasons seems to be because Zello has the capability to send your precise location (longitude and latitude) to another Zello user simply by pressing one icon on the screen. That is a huge aid for anyone who wants to rescue you, such as a disaster dispatcher. That person or persons will immediately see your exact location.

    Zello is available for iPhones, iPads, Android phones and tablets, Blackberry phones, and also for Windows PCs. (There is no Macintosh version, at least not yet.) You can even purchase a "network radio" that functions like a 2-way walkie-talkie or mobile two-way radio installed under your automobile's dashboard which operates on the Internet and can communicate with any other Zello user anywhere else in the world. The "network radios" seem to be most popular with ambulance drivers, delivery drivers, electricians, plumbers, service personnel, and others who are dispatched by a central office. The dispatcher(s) could be in the same city or thousands of miles away, thanks to the communications via the Internet.

    Ham radio operators also are frequent users of Internet-connected "network radios." However, I suspect most other private citizens use their cell phones for use on Zello.

    If you have an interest in "network two-way radios," see and for more information about "network radios."

    NOTE: I purchased a Mobile Network Radio that runs the Android operating system and am using it in my automobile. It functions like a 2-way radio except that it has worldwide range and better audio. It works well as long as I am within range of the cellular network or a wi-fi network. On a recent 1,200-mile trip, I lost communications for only a few minutes when driving through some deep valleys in the mountains. Of course, my cell phone didn’t work in those valleys, either.

    A specialized Mobile Network Radio is not requited, however. Most individuals simply install the free Zello app onto their existing Android or iPhone cell phones.

    Zello becomes most important in cases of emergencies. There are dozens of reports of Zello users who found help during hurricanes, blizzards, tornados, and traffic accidents.

    According to Zello's CEO, more than 120 people downloaded and installed the Zello app PER SECOND during the days before Hurricane Irma. Similar usage patterns have been observed during the recent snow storms in the northeastern U.S. In some countries, such as South Africa, Zello is the primary provider of emergency communications during all sorts of disasters.

    You can learn more about the emergency uses of Zello at also learn more about the “Cajun Navy” at Wikipedia.

    The “Cajun Navy” uses a number of Zello channels. Details may be found at:

    I also know that Zello is popular in some cities during rush hour. It can be used to check with other commuters on the local Interstate highway before entering the on-ramp. Different highways in any one city often have their own Zello channels. For instance, in any city,  there could be an I-95 channel, an I-290 channel, an I-495 channel, and so on.

    Truckers seem to still be using traditional CB radios, and I doubt if that will change any time soon. For everyone else, however, Zello seems to provide a better method of communications.

    Do you need to coordinate your sports car club’s next auto rally, or is your non-profit group organizing the next Memorial Day parade? Zello can provide the communications at no additional cost to your organization, assuming everyone involved already has cell phones.

    You can learn more about the emergency uses of Zello in a video report on the Washington Post web site at: and a story at

    Information about Zello is available at and while the app may be downloaded from the Apple App Store, the Google Play Store (for Android systems), or from Blackberry World (which functions as the Blackberry App store).

    Tutorials on how to use Zello may be found at You can also find a number of YouTube video tutorials describing the use of Zello by starting at:

    Not bad for a free app!

    Are you prepared with Zello?

  • 20 May 2021 8:17 PM | Anonymous

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

    NGS announced its 2021 award honorees and competition winners at our Virtual 2021 Family History Conference, NGS Live!, on 19 May. The following awards recognize excellence, achievement, and genealogical service.

    NGS Award Honorees

    National Genealogy Hall of Fame: John T. Humphrey, CG®
    NGS introduced its National Genealogy Hall of Fame in 1986. The award honors outstanding genealogists whose achievements in American genealogy have had a great impact on the field. We invite you to visit the National Genealogy Hall of Fame and learn about its honorees. Nominated by the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society, this year’s inductee is John T. Humphrey. Born in Penn Argyl, Pennsylvania, in 1948, he died in Washington, DC, in 2012. Always a scholar, Humphrey had a passion for sharing his knowledge and teaching others.
    In demand as a speaker on German and Pennsylvania topics, Humphrey became an expert in reading old German script. In 2008, at Williamsburg's 400th Anniversary Celebration, he gave a keynote address on German contributions to America. Two years later, he was invited to Germany to speak on researching Germans in America. In 2011 he taught the first-ever German course at Samford’s Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research.
    Humphrey authored many genealogical articles and books. Two of his most recognized publications are Understanding and Using Baptismal Records and Pennsylvania Births, fifteen volumes of birth and baptism transcriptions. He broke new ground when he unearthed ancestor charts of Nazi SS officers in captured German records housed at the United States National Archives. Humphrey served as president of the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society and vice president of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania. He joined the NGS staff as education manager in 2000.
    All who heard Humphrey’s lectures, read his books and articles, or participated in NGS activities he initiated, benefited from his knowledge and skills.

    The Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship, sponsored by ProQuest since 2006, honors an outstanding librarian whose primary focus is genealogy and local history. This year’s winner, David E. Rencher AG®, CG, FIGRS, FUGA, is director of the Family History Library (FHL), Salt Lake City, Utah, and the chief genealogical officer for FamilySearch.
    Rencher is one of the few genealogists with AG and CG credentials and a renowned lecturer who presents at local, national, and international conferences, institutes, and webinars. In his professional capacity, he partners with archives to digitize historical records and is a trusted collaborator. His leadership in technology advanced the book scanning program for FHL; record-matching methods for FamilySearch databases; and implementation of automated indexes for the 1880 census, the Social Security Death Index, and military casualty files for Vietnam and Korea.

    Rencher recently authored Research in Arizona for NGS‘s Research in the States series of guidebooks. He also is the author of numerous articles, particularly regarding Irish research, and a contributing author of NGS’s online course for Continuing Genealogical Studies called War of 1812 Records.

    Past president and a Fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association, Rencher is currently on the Board of Directors of the National Genealogical Society. He also is a Fellow of the Irish Genealogical Research Society in London; vice president of the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History; advisor to the Board of the New England Historic Genealogical Society; and director for Gen-Fed Alumni Association.

    The 2021 Conference Award was presented to the Virginia Genealogical Society, Mary Vidlak, president, in recognition of its dedication and sustained service to the 2021 NGS Family History Conference.
    Conference Certificates of Appreciation honor the VGS host committee chairs: Mary O’Brien Vidlak, CG, & Chuck Novak; volunteer co-chairs: Katie Derby and Kathy Merithew; registration co-chairs: Donald Moore and Phillip Ciske; publicity co-chairs: Robin Dwyer-Maurice and Teresa Kelly; conference blogger: Shannon Benton; hospitality chair: Catherine Gill; VGS booth co-chairs: Deborah Harvey, CG, and Nicki Peak Birch, CG; VGS events chair: Mary O’Brien Vidlak CG.

    President’s Citation

    The President’s Citation recognizes and acknowledges particularly dedicated efforts on behalf of the National Genealogical Society. During the past year, in the midst of a historic pandemic, the NGS staff accepted the herculean task of transitioning to a newly merged organization while expanding the Society’s education programs and preparing for our second virtual Family History Conference. Despite lockdowns and changing protocols with all the additional work that resulted, NGS staff exemplified an extraordinary level of professionalism. “With gratitude for their expertise, energy, flexibility, and positive attitude,” NGS President Kathryn Doyle said, “I am thrilled to present this year’s NGS President’s Citation Award to our dedicated staff: Executive Director Matt Menashes; Accounting Manager Karen Soch; Conference Manager Erin Shifflett; Member Services Manager Susan Yockey; and Courtney Holmes, our Registrar for many years.

    NGS Competition Winners
    The NGS Awards for Excellence are presented for a specific, significant single contribution in the form of a family genealogy or family history book; a publication discussing or demonstrating genealogical methods and sources; or an article published in the NGS Quarterly.

    Award for Excellence: Genealogy and Family History Book

    This year’s recipient is Kyle Hurst, of Boston, Massachusetts. The title of her book is Ancestors and Descendants of Charles Le Caron and Victoire Sprague.

    Honorable mention: Michael Grow, for his book, John Grow of Ipswich, Massachusetts, and Some of His Descendants: A Middle-Class Family in Social and Economic Context from the 17th Century to the Present.

    Award for Excellence: Genealogical Methods and Sources

    Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGLSM, FASG, FNGS, FUGA, is this year’s recipient. The title of her book is Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice, and Standards.

    Honorable mention: Peter J. Malia, for his book, New Haven Town Records, 1769-1819.

    Award for Excellence: National Genealogical Society Quarterly

    LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, CGL, of Washington, DC, received the Award for Excellence for her article, “Parents for Isaac Garrett of Laurens County, South Carolina: DNA Corroborates Oral Tradition,” published in the June 2020 issue of the NGSQ.

    The NGS Family History Writing Contest has been a Society tradition since 1986. This year’s winner is Amy Larner Giroux, PhD, CG, CGL, for her paper, “The Many Names of Frances Ellsworth: Correlating Evidence to Identify a Birth Name.”

    The NGS Newsletter Competition recognizes the hard work and creativity of volunteer editors who publish the newsletters of our member organizations. The competition reviews them according to size of membership: small organizations (under 500) and large organizations (500 and up).

    Large Societies and Organizations:

    This year’s winner is The Tracer, newsletter of the Hamilton County (Ohio) Genealogical Society, Eileen Muccino, editor.

    Honorable Mention: Virginia Genealogical Society Newsletter, published by the Virginia Genealogical Society, Orange, Virginia, and edited by Birgitte Tessier.

    Small Societies and Organizations:

    The winner is the Newsletter of the Irish Family History Forum, Long Island, New York, edited by Jim Regan.

    Honorable mention: Our Endicott Heritage Trail, John Endecott Family Association, Laurie Endicott Thomas, editor.

    The Rubincam Youth Writing Contest was established in 1986 to encourage and recognize our youth as the next generation of family historians. It honors Milton Rubincam, CG, FASG, FNGS, for his many years of service to NGS and to the field of genealogy.

    Senior Category (Grades 9 - 12):

    Wren Marsh of Houston, Texas, for his entry, “Generation to Generation.”

    Honorable mention: Akram Elkouraichi, of Yonkers, New York, for his paper, “Project Hesperides: A Genealogical and Biographical Study of the Elkouraichi Family of Ben Ahmed, Morocco Through the Generations.”

    Junior Category (Grades 6 - 8):

    Asa Marsh of Houston, Texas, is the winner for his paper, “A Short History of My Grandmother: Helen F. Wren.”

    Honorable mention: Ava Bielawski, of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, for her entry, “Dorothy Lundy: A Daughter of Emile Terrenoire, Where the Inspiration Began.”

    SLAM! Idea Showcase Awards

    On 18 May, during NGS 2021 SLAM! Idea Showcase, six organizations received awards. They were selected from among thirty-two recorded video “poster” presentations highlighting innovative projects, programs, and activities benefiting genealogical researchers. The winners were St. Louis Genealogical Society, St. Louis, Missouri: “Congregation Project”; German Historical Institute, Washington, DC: “German Heritage in Letters”; and Chester County (Pennsylvania) Archives: “1777 Chester County Property Atlas Portal.” Honorable mentions went to Godfrey Memorial Library, Middletown, Connecticut: “Genealogy Roundtable”; Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort, Kentucky: “Kentucky Ancestors Town Hall”; and St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis, Missouri: “Rooted in Inclusion: Forgoing the Family Tree Model.”

    The National Genealogical Society congratulates all the 2021 award recipients and contest winners. Sincere thanks go to the volunteer judges, chairs, and evaluators from across the country who generously gave their time and expertise to review the submissions for each award and competition. Thanks, too, to Janet Bailey, awards chair, and Susan Yockey of the NGS staff.

    Please help us with awards for next year, when we hope to be together again. Consider nominating an individual or organization who exemplifies the qualities we honor with our awards or encouraging someone to participate in one of our competitions.

  • 19 May 2021 4:03 PM | Anonymous

    Technically, this free web site lists "conferences, events, calls-for-paper, contests, grants & scholarships, tours and cruises, and more!" That mouthful is an accurate description of

    The web site is described as:

    Started by Jen Baldwin in October 2012, Conference Keeper was created as a single go-to website for finding information about genealogy and family history conferences. As Jen became more deeply involved with other genealogical work, Conference Keeper took a break and idled until late in 2015, when Eowyn Langholf and Tami Osmer Mize, co-founders of the genealogy news service WikiChicks, felt the site beckon, and re-ignited the mission and purpose of Conference Keeper. With a new look and an expanded mission, again began curating and calendaring the dates and details of genealogy and family history conferences, seminars, workshops, and other events.

    Taking a look at the web site, you see that it does live up to its name. I started counting how many conferences and other genealogy-related items are listed but I soon gave up. There are hundreds!

    The site is divided by a convenient classification system: conferences, calendar, locations, opportunities, what’s new, and more. 

    Perhaps the most useful feature is the ability to search for keywords (i.e., Conference, Seminar, Workshop). Of course, during the current pandemic, most events are listed as (V), meaning "Virtual."

    If you are looking for a specific location/state, you may find it best to search by the two letter abbreviation/space/hyphen (i.e., CA -, VIRTUAL – ), but the easiest way to find location-specific listings is by choosing your country/state from under the Location tab.

    Did I mention that the entire web site is available free of charge?  (It is supported by advertising.)

    Check out the web site at

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