Call For Proposals for 2023 In-Person, Online at Home, and Focus on Societies Sessions

NGS 2023 Family History Conference
Virginia: The Deep Roots of a Nation
Richmond, Virginia and Online at Home

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS–11:59 p.m. ET on 10 June 2022

Online Submission Portal Click Here.


The National Genealogical Society 2023 Family History Conference, Virginia: The Deep Roots of a Nation, will be held in Richmond, Virginia, 31 May-3 June 2023. Focus on Societies, the Delegate Council meeting, the BCG Education Fund Workshop, and tours will be held on Wednesday, 31 May 2023. Online at Home dates will be announced later this year. On-Demand sessions will stream from 1 July to 31 December 2023.

The call for proposals closes on 10 June 2022 at 11:59 p.m. ET. We hope COVID-19 will not be a factor in May 2023; however, contingency plans will be in place for any eventuality to ensure the health and safety of registrants, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, and staff.

As any native Virginian will tell you, America starts with Virginia. Virginia is home to the Powhatan confederacy and the place where the ancestors of many Americans, whether enslaved, indentured, indigenous, or immigrant, started their North American story. The first permanent English settlement in what was to become the United States was established at Jamestown in 1607. The Virginia General Assembly, the oldest continuous law-making body in the Western Hemisphere, held its first meeting there in 1619.  That same year, Virginia’s first Africans arrived as captives at Point Comfort. Patrick Henry made his famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech in 1775 at St. John’s Church in Richmond. Famous Virginians include eight presidents, tennis star and humanitarian Arthur Ashe, journalist Katie Couric, and comedian Wanda Sykes. Since 1607, Virginia has been an entry point for people from many cultures around the world. Some have remained for generations, while others moved on to new frontiers.  People from Virginia represent many cultures that have contributed to the building of our nation.

Lecture Proposals

NGS encourages proposals on a variety of general and specific topics of interest to family historians from beginning to advanced levels. Use the submission portal to submit sessions as an individual* speaker for the main conference, sponsored sessions for the main conference, or Focus on Societies sessions. Sessions will be considered for In-Person (Richmond), Online at Home (pre-recorded with audio and slides with live Q&A), and On-Demand (pre-recorded with audio and slides; speaker on screen optional).

*Individual or multiple speakers for a specific lecture.

Lecture Tracks

Conference topics and tracks under consideration include the following and more:

African American research: resources and techniques for researching African Americans in the eastern and southern states, free people of color, the enslaved, post-slavery era documentation, and migration family stories

Asian and Pacific Islander research: resources and techniques for researching Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Southeast and South Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander families, in the United States and abroad

DNA: testing options, interpretation of results, case studies that incorporate methodology and DNA, and tools and techniques for identifying unknown parentage

European and Middle Eastern research: records, repositories, and techniques for researching ancestors in Europe and the Middle East

Hispanic and Latin American ancestry: resources and techniques for researching Hispanic and Latin American ancestry

Land: federal and state land records, including sources and techniques for recreating neighborhoods and using land records to solve difficult problems

LGBTQIA+: topics and concerns related to researching LGBTQIA+ individuals and families

Maps: types of maps available; locating and using maps for clues and problem-solving; understanding and using GIS, Google Earth, Deed Mapper, and other tools and techniques for locating property, cemeteries, and landmarks

Methodology: all aspects of family history methodology, from basic organizing tips to source documentation, planning, research techniques, and interpretation of findings

Migration: historic migration trails, reasons for migrating, and techniques for locating where ancestors went and where they came from

Military: sources and techniques for researching military ancestors, with emphasis on the French and Indian, Revolutionary, and Civil wars

Native American research: records and resources for Native Americans in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the South

Records and repositories: the use of record types including but not limited to church, military, immigration, land, court, and vital records; the use and content of local, regional, and national record repositories.

Reference services: presentations by experts in libraries, archives, societies, and other repositories who assist family history researchers

Society management: best practices, leadership, membership, programs, publications, disaster plans, and records preservation

Technology: online databases, sites, and tools for accessing digitized record images, and computer applications for organizing and saving information

Virginia and her neighbors: the history, records, repositories, and ethnic and religious groups of Virginia and her neighboring states, with special emphasis on migrations into, within, and out of the region as well as the origins of the early settlers

Women: research, records, and stories about women throughout the American experience

Writing: skills, techniques, and tools for communicating family history information, form family blogs to peer-reviewed journals

Be Prepared

NGS has a free webinar, Becoming a Better Conference Speaker: Proposals and Preparations, which can be found at the National Genealogical Society YouTube channel. Speakers are encouraged to view the video before beginning the proposal process. Topics covered include Lecture Proposals, Presentation, Syllabus, Communicate, and Delivery.

NGS members will receive first consideration as speakers. Notifications for acceptance will be issued in the fall of 2022. Syllabus material, due 6 February 2023, is required for each lecture or workshop presentation and will be included in the compendium distributed to all conference registrants. Speakers are expected to use electronic presentation programs and, provide their own digital projector, laptop, and connector to the projector cable. NGS will provide projector support, which consists of a VGA or HDMI cable, cart, and power strip. Internet connections will not be provided in lecture rooms.

Speakers who wish to submit lecture proposals may submit up to four proposals electronically. Speaker compensation is described in detail here on the website. Each submitted proposal requires the following information:

  • Speaker’s full name, mailing address, telephone, and email address
  • Presentation title, not to exceed fourteen words
  • Lecture summary for program brochure, not to exceed twenty-five words
  • Brief but comprehensive lecture outline, not to exceed 1500 words
  • Speaker’s biography, not to exceed twenty-five words
  • Speaker’s recent lecture experience, including a listing of national or regional conferences where the speaker has presented in the last three years
  • Identification of the appropriate audience level: beginner, intermediate, advanced, or all.

Do not submit a proposed lecture that has been presented at a regional, state, or national level in the last two years, is scheduled to be presented before May 2023, or is available for free online. Presentations that have been given at small local groups are okay.

Submission Portal

Submit proposals here!

Sponsored Luncheon Lecture Proposals

If your organization would like to sponsor a luncheon lecture, please contact [email protected] after 1 June 2022. Do not use the form linked above.