Thursday, May 30, 2013

Conference CDs now available

If you were not able to attend the conference or if you did not make it to a session you wanted to go to, then you're in luck. JAMB, Inc. taped many of the sessions and the CDs are now available from JAMB's online store for $12.00 each

Most of the sessions were taped but not all. The list of available CDs and ordering information can be found at

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Make plans to attend Richmond in 2014

Come join us in Richmond next May! The 2014 Family History Conference will be held 7–10 May 2014 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center and Marriott Hotel located in downtown Richmond, Virginia. Conference highlights and contact information for conference hotels can be found in the Announcement Brochure, which can be downloaded at

The conference theme, Virginia: The First Frontier, will explore the records and history that draw so many back to their roots in the Old Dominion. Lecture topics will also include migration into, within, and out of the region down the Great Wagon Road, over the Appalachian Mountains, and across the south to Texas and beyond.

The four-day conference will include more than 150 lectures by nationally known experts on topics including the history, records, repositories, and ethnic and religious groups in Virginia and the neighboring states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The program will also feature broader genealogical categories including military and other federal records, the law as it relates to genealogy, methodology, analysis, and problem solving.

Genealogy conferences in Richmond, Virginia, are always well attended, so plan to make your reservations early. The five conference hotels will accept reservations beginning 1 June 2013 and the special conference rates apply three days before and after the conference. The hotels offer a variety of amenities and dining options, so choose the one that best fits your needs. The convention and visitors bureau will be providing shuttle buses between the convention center and the Crowne Plaza, Omni, and Holiday Inn Express hotels, which are a few blocks away, while the conference is in session. For more details please see the NGS conference website at

Consider arriving early to experience one or more historical tours in and around Richmond provided by Richmond Discoveries’ Tours on Monday afternoon 5 May 2014 and Tuesday morning and afternoon 6 May 2014. Details can be found at Tour reservations will be accepted beginning 1 December 2013.

An Exhibit Hall with more than 100 vendors will be free and open to the public from Wednesday through Saturday at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, directly across from the Marriott Hotel. Exhibitors will include genealogy database and software providers, booksellers, genealogy societies, providers of genetic testing, and much more.

Sign up for the NGS Conference Blog at so you do not miss any of the conference news or announcements. Conference registration opens 1 December 2013.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Megan Smolenyak releases details about the Lucky 13 grant program

Megan Smolenyak speaking at the NGS 2013 Banquet

During her presentation at the NGS Banquet on Friday, 10 May, Megan Smolenyak announced a new grant program, Lucky 13.

She promised that details would be forthcoming and those details have been posted to her website at


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Exhibit Hall Video

The NGS booth on Wednesday morning was THE place to be. This video was taken a short time after the Exhibit Hall opened. Everyone was lined up to buy the two new NGS publications, Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones and NGS Research in the States Series: New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County by Laura Murphy DeGrazia. You can hear the Mariachi Los Bravos in the background.

The conference is over but these books and many more are available on the NGS website at

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hoover Dam Tour

The Hoover Dam is breathtaking. On the Tuesday before the conference, several buses of attendees enjoyed a tour of the Dam arranged by the Local Host Societies.

Thanks to Pat Stamm for sharing her photos and comments about the tour.

 The day was great for a tour. As the sun reflected off of the dam, the breeze picked up. The day was not too hot or too cold.

The tour guides took us down and gave us a brief overview of how the dam was built.

The giant turbines whirled noisily as the guild explained how they were maintained.

 After that we got a closer look at the dam itself.

Looking down the river, we saw the Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge which crosses the Colorado River.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Memories from NGS 2013 Family History Conference and Vegas!

Thank you Scott Stewart for capturing these wonderful moments!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Kudos to the NGS media team

Kudos to the NGS media team who wrote, managed, and distributed NGS media before, during, and after the conference! Take a bow, Terry Koch-Bostic, for organizing NGS media; Julie Miller, CG, for writing and managing the new gold standard in conference blogs; Gayathri Kher for keeping conference attendees connected through a record number of timely social media feeds; Erin Shifflett for writing and distributing conference e-mails and serving as Conference Command Central; Diane L. Richard for adding buzz with UpFront publicity; and Phyllis Mathews Ziller for keeping us in grammatical style. Thank you all!

Guest blogger 
Stefani Evans, CG
Conference chair NGS 2013 Family History Conference

Photo Courtesy: Scott Stewart


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Conference Challenge winner Denise Levenick

NGS held the Conference Challenge again this read. To read the details go to
Congratulations to Denise Levenick! Denise was one of two winners,
Thank you for sharing and we hope you enjoy your free registration to the NGS 2013 Family History Conference in Richmond, Virginia.

Challenge 1Fashion!
Tweet a picture that proves you met an attendee wearing a kilt.


Genealogy Dress Code: Hard Hats Required (kilt wearers exempt)!

Challenge 2Dining!
Tweet a picture that proves you dined with fellow genealogists.


No lunchbox & thermos needed at the BCG luncheon with Diane Gravel & Joan Peake.

Challenge 3Literature!
Tweet a picture that proves you checked out the latest publications or education releases at the NGS booth.



Checking out new tools for building bridges w/NGS publications.


Challenge 4Volunteerism!
Tweet a picture that proves you chatted with an ASK ME volunteer.

Found a helpful NGS Ask Me volunteer who fixed my specs without any tools! thanks Lenny!






Challenge 5Shopping!
Tweet a picture that proves you visited exhibitors whose company names have an “I” or “T” in them.


NGS2013 Exhibit Hall buzzing.Talked w/Treelines about gr8 new tool to build bridges betwn now/then.

Challenge 6Geekdom!
Tweet a picture that proves you attended a GenTech track lecture.


Spreadsheet as #genealogy tool for building bridges to ancestors' past w Jill Crandall.

Challenge 7Travel!
Tweet a picture that proves you really are in Las Vegas.




Yes, it's Vegas, Baby for #NGS2013. Ready to build new bridges.



Challenge 8Decorative Art!
Tweet a picture that celebrates the attendee with the most badge ribbons.




@walkingyourtree wins longest #NGS2013 badge WOW! She could build a bridge with those ribbons!

Challenge 9Networking!
Tweet a picture that proves you talked with current NGS board members.




Networking about building bridges with Pam Eagleson & Stefani Evans.





Challenge 10Celebrity!
Tweet a picture that proves you rubbed shoulders with a person featured in an NGS video.

Rubbing shoulders w/ NGS celeb Laura DeGrazia, she knows the best tools for NY Research.


Visit Denise at The Family Curator


Summary of Conference Blog Posts

A big thank you to Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings for putting together a list of blog posts about the conference. There are some very informative posts from many different perspectives.

Since we all can be in only one place at a time (which is definitely a disadvantage during the conference), the posts are a good way to hear about the sessions we had to miss. Also, they are very helpful for making a list of CDs to buy from Jamb, Inc., The 2013 conference list will be available for purchase in a few weeks.

Randy's list of blogs can be found at

Monday, May 13, 2013

Conference Survey still open

Now that the conference is over, will you let us know how we did? A brief conference survey has been set-up so you can tell us about your experience at the NGS 2013 Family History Conference in Las Vegas.

The survey is located at and should only take from three to five minutes. Your feedback will help NGS in planning future conferences.

The survey will be open until Monday, 20 May.

Special Edition of The Forget-Me-Not Hour Radio Show

Special Edition: NGS Las Vegas Recap

Jane E. Wilcox, host of The Forget-Me-Not Hour: Your Ancestors Want Their Stories to Be Told radio show, welcomed Julie Miller, CGSM, Vice President of NGS, to this special edition of the show. 

The show was live from the NGS 2013 Family History Conference Media Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, 11 May and can now be viewed on-demand at


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Conference Planners Extraordinaire

 Thanks Stefani and Erin for a great conference!

Stefani Evans, Conference Chair
Erin Shifflet, Conference Manager


Day 4 Wrap Up

The last day of the conference started off with two special programs and ended with the NGS Annual Meeting. 

                 Youth Camp

Seventy-seven kids attended this year!

                      Ancestry Day

Live from Las Vegas! The Forget-Me-Not Hour: Your Ancestors Want Their Stories to Be Told radio show. Host, Jane E. Wilcox and Julie Miller talked about the different events at the conference this week.

The Ancestry Insider (who does not allow his face to be photographed) asked those at the NGS GenTech Luncheon what they wanted genealogy in the future to be.


The winners of the Conference Challenge and the "secret judge."

The annual NGS meeting was held at 5:15.

Dar was a super star keeping all the AV up and running.

 "Now it's time to say good-bye to all our company."

See you next year in Richmond!

Safe travels home everybody. 


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Conference Challenge winners announced and mystery judge revealed

Denise Levenick, Gena Philibert-Ortega,Holly Sammons*

Thanks to all who participated in the Conference Challenge. We hope you had fun. We sure enjoyed watching you complete all the tasks.

There were so many creative entries that the judge had a hard time choosing just one winner. So we decided to have two this year. And the winners are (drumroll please), Denise Levenick and Holly Sammons. They both received a full conference registration to the NGS 2014 Family History Conference in Richmond, Virginia.

And the secret judge was Gena Philibert-Ortega, author of From the Family Kitchen and Gena's Genealogy Blog, Thanks Gena!

*our apologies to Holly for originally posting her name as Holly Simmons


Saturday is Youth Camp and Ancestry Day

Super Saturday
You may notice some extra people around the conference center today because Youth Camp and Ancestry Day are taking place.

Youth Camp is being held in Conference Room 5. Kids ages 8-16 will be attending the camp from 8:30 a.m.-12:00 noon. They will then be invited to visit the Exhibit Hall.

Ancestry day will take place in Ballroom A. The program will give attendees an in-depth look at and an opportunity to receive targeted training directly from the pros from To attend, you must have registered separately.


Day 3 Wrap Up

Hard to believe that day three of the conference is over. Attendees were busy during the day with the Exhibit Hall and sessions, then the annual NGS Banquet in the evening

Exhibit Hall

Browsing through the books
 Tom Jones signing Mastering Genealogical Proof

Think all you learn at a genealogy conference is  genealogy? How about instructions on the finer points of tying a bowtie.

        Packed crowd at the 4:00 p.m. lecture

Taking time to relax during the cocktail hour before the banquet

Patiently waiting for dinner

Mark Hall-Patton entertained the crowd, then had a two man beard contest with photographer, Scott Stewart.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Julie Potter Miller, CG, Awarded the Shirley Langdon Wilcox Award for Exemplary Volunteerism by the National Genealogical Society

The National Genealogical Society presented the Shirley Langdon Wilcox Award to Julie Potter Miller, CG, at its annual banquet on Friday evening, 10 May, at the NGS 2013 Family History Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Established in 2011, the Shirley Langdon Wilcox Award for Exemplary Volunteerism recognizes long-term volunteer service to NGS and the genealogical community at large. Julie has served on the NGS Board of Directors since October 2006 and has been vice president since October 2010.  She served as conference chair for the NGS 2010 Family History Conference in Salt Lake City and for the NGS 2012 Family History Conference in Cincinnati. This year she continued to serve on the conference committee overseeing the conference blog and social media publicity and provided knowledgeable guidance whenever asked.

“Julie is consistently out in front, leading the charge,” said NGS President Jordan Jones. “She is knowledgeable, fair, and thinks about the long term, consistently pushing the board to explore new and innovative ways to use technology to better serve NGS members.” Stefani Evans, 2013 NGS conference chair added, “Julie has freely shared her experience and project management skills while serving on the conference committee again this year. In every interaction, she has been kind, thoughtful, and patient.”

In addition to her service to NGS, Julie has served as president of the Colorado Genealogical Society, Colorado Chapter of APG, and the Broomfield Genealogical Society. She served on the board of directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors and volunteers at the National Archives Rocky Mountain Regional Branch.


Excellence in Genealogy Scholarship and Service Honored at NGS Annual Banquet

The annual banquet was held tonight to present awards that acknowledge and honor genealogical scholarship and service. Each year, these awards are presented to organizations and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to NGS programs or have performed outstanding work in the field of genealogy, history, biography, or heraldry.

National Genealogical Society Hall of Fame
: Beginning in 1986, the National Genealogy Hall of Fame program, administered by the National Genealogical Society, has honored outstanding genealogists whose achievements in the field of American genealogy have had a great impact on our field. Qualified nominations are solicited annually from genealogical organizations. Those nominated must have been deceased for at least five years and have been actively engaged in genealogy for a minimum of ten years. Their contributions to the field of genealogy in this country need to have been significant in a way that was unique, pioneering, or exemplary. Such contributions could have been as an author of books or articles that added significantly to the body of published works, served as a model of genealogical research or writing, or made source records more readily available. Nominees could also have been a teacher or lecturer, or contributed to the field through leadership in a genealogical organization or periodical.

Entries are judged by a panel of genealogists from various parts of the United States. This year, Earl Gregg Swem, whose nomination was made by The Virginia Genealogical Society, was elected to the NGS Hall of Fame. For thirty-seven years his career was devoted to the collection and publication of materials on Virginia and Virginians. He was the assistant librarian at the Virginia State Library for twelve years and then became the head of the William and Mary College Library from which he retired in 1944.

Fellowship in the National Genealogical Society
recognizes a valued servant of the National Genealogical Society. This year’s Fellow, Donn J. Devine, is a retired Brigadier General with the Delaware National Guard and a resident of Wilmington, Delaware. He has been the archivist of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington since 1989. He served eight years as a director of NGS from 1994–2002. Donn was one of the first lecturers on the appropriate use of DNA and serves as the administrator of two family DNA projects. He has been Board-certified since 1987 and has performed many services for the genealogical community at large. He chaired NGS’s committee on standards and currently serves on the Records Preservation & Access Committee and is a member of the NGSQ Editorial Board. He is a former trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (1992–2006), for which he currently serves as general counsel. He is a past president of the Delaware Society, Sons of the American Revolution, and is a trustee of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania.

Among Donn’s publications are “Sorting Relationships Among Families with the Same Surname: An Irish American DNA Study,” published in The National Genealogical Society Quarterly in December 2005. His articles have been published in The American Genealogist and The Delaware Genealogical Society Journal. His most recent article, “The European Origin of George Falk (1823–1900), Brooklyn Watchmaker,” was published in The New York Genealogical & Biographical Society Record in January 2013.

For his years of service to the genealogical community; his dedication to meticulous adherence to best practices in the field of genealogy as researcher, writer, and lecturer; and for his unflinching volunteer efforts on behalf of the National Genealogical Society and the genealogical community at large, the NGS Board has elected Donn J. Devine a Fellow of the National Genealogical Society.

William Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship
is awarded to a librarian whose primary focus is genealogy and local history and who is employed in a public, academic, or special library. This year’s award, and a $1,000 prize underwritten by ProQuest, went to Elizabeth Crabtree Wells, manager of the Special Collection Department at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Active in the genealogical and historical community, she served as past president of the Alabama Genealogical Society, the Birmingham Genealogical Society, and is a founder and past president of the Society of Alabama Archivists. She is a regular lecturer at the Samford Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research. She is co-author of The History of Judson College. Elizabeth holds a BA from Judson College, an MA from Auburn University, and a MLS from the University of Alabama.

The Award of Merit is presented to an individual or non-profit genealogical or historical organization to recognize exceptional contributions to the field of genealogy over a period of five or more years, which has significantly aided research or increased interest in genealogy. For over twenty-five years Carolyn Marguerite Hutchinson Brown has taught genealogy classes and passionately and unabashedly promoted genealogy. She has published six books on her family and her husband’s family lines and has authored many articles published in a variety of genealogical publications. She also founded the Bouse Genealogical Society in Bouse, Arizona, in 2008. She continues to chair, teach, and mentor the group today. As the nomination form concluded, “One person can and does make a difference!”

Family History Writing Contest: Paul K. Graham of Salt Lake City, Utah, was the winner of the Family History Writing contest with his entry, A Love Story Proved: The Life and Family of Laura Lavinia (Kelly) Combs. This award is to encourage NGS members to write a family history that covers at least three generations and not more than four generations of their family. 

National Genealogical Society Quarterly’s Award for Excellence
: This award is presented for an outstanding article published in the NGSQ in the previous calendar year. The winner of this year’s award emphasized the importance of cultural practices, comprehensive research, and creative problem solving. For 2012, the editors have chosen Without Land, Occupation, Rights, or Marriage Privilege: The B├╝ttner Family from Bavaria to New York, by F. Warren Bittner, CG, published in the September 2012 issue of the NGSQ.

Award for Excellence: Genealogical Methods and Sources
: This year’s recipients were Robert S. Davis of Hanceville, Alabama, and Ted O. Brooke of Cumming, Georgia. The title of their entry was Georgia Research: A Handbook for Genealogists, Historians, Archivists, Lawyers, Librarians, and Other Researchers. This award is for a specific, significant single contribution in the form of a book, an article, or a series of articles that discuss genealogical methods and sources, which serves to foster scholarship and/or advances or promotes excellence in genealogy. 

Award for Excellence: Genealogy and Family History Book
: This year’s recipient was Helen Schatvet Ullmann, CG, FASG, of Acton, Massachusetts. The title of her entry was Some Descendants of Roger Billings of Dorchester, Massachusetts. This award is for a specific, significant single contribution in the form of a family genealogy or family history book published in the past five years. Entries serve to foster scholarship and/or otherwise advance or promote excellence in genealogy. 

Senior Rubincam Youth Award (for students in grades 10–12 or between the ages of 16 and 18): Andrew Staton of Simpsonville, South Carolina, was this year’s winner. The title of his entry was My Windsor and Young Ancestors. The Senior Rubincam Award was established in 1986 to honor Milton Rubincam, CG, FASG, FNGS, for his many years of service to the National Genealogical Society and to the field of genealogy. The award encourages and recognizes our youth as the next generation of family historians. 

Home Study Course Scholarship: Kristin Harms of Alpharetta, Georgia, was the winner of the Home Study Course Scholarship. Harms received the award for having demonstrated her serious interest in pursuing a career in genealogy. Criteria include attending genealogy conferences and training, subscribing to genealogical publications, and membership in NGS.

The renowned NGS Home Study Course provides a solid foundation for researchers just starting out and new possibilities for experienced researchers’ more difficult problems. The self-paced, year-long course is published on CD and is offered with a grading option. Learners receive feedback from experts while conducting their personal research.

Ann C. Hilke was presented with the NGS Past President’s pin in recognition of her dedication and service to NGS.

Shipping From the Conference

The LVH Business Center is available for conference attendees who need to have items shipped. Items can be boxed and packed at the center to be shipped either Fed Ex or UPS.

The Center is located in the LVH East Tower Lobby.

Hours: Monday, 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
           Tuesday–Saturday, 7:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Phone: (702) 732-5052


Print Syllabus

If you did not pre-order a print copy of the syllabus, limited quantities will be available for sale at the NGS booth on Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. Sales will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Cost of the print syllabus at the booth is $30 for members and $35 for non-member.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Day 2 Wrap Up

Day two of the conference started early for many who attended the First-Timers, ProGen Study Groups, and Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy Breakfasts at 7:00 a.m. Then it was off to another day of learning.

First-Timers Breakfast

Forty-five different lectures by some of the top speakers in genealogy

Laura DeGrazia signed her new book NGS Research in the States: New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County at the NGS Booth

 Lunch at the food train

Official Conference Bloggers at the Media Center

NGS American Genealogy: A Home Study Course Roundtable

A case of mistaken identity