Call For Proposals

NGS 2024 Family History Conference

Expanding Possibilities
17-18 May 2024


16 May 2024


The National Genealogical Society (NGS) invites innovative proposals for its 2024 Virtual Family History Conference Expanding Possibilities and preconference FOCUS sessions for genealogy society and reference services leaders.


Expanding Possibilities in Family History

This year’s theme, Expanding Possibilities, is focused on innovation and finding new ways to solve problems. For the main conference, we seek session proposals that creatively teach genealogical concepts or highlight innovative tools and techniques for family history research. We encourage submissions that

  • include innovative use of technology, including tools in the Zoom and/or Whova platforms used by NGS for virtual events
  • facilitate audience interaction beyond the traditional question-and-answer period at the end of the presentation
  • use multiple examples and cases from diverse families in presentations
  • discuss artificial intelligence (AI) in genealogy research or how genealogy organizations use AI to preserve or increase access to genealogically important records and data.

Since this is a virtual conference, proposers should consider the content they intend to present in the context of teaching methods that encourage online interaction with students.

NGS will host an online meeting (see below) to facilitate open discussion about innovative ways to approach lectures for 2024.

Topic Areas

NGS encourages proposals of interest to family historians from beginning to advanced levels. Conference topics under consideration include the following and more:

Cultural and Community-Specific Research

Researching family connections in the diverse population groups throughout the United States and their ancestry worldwide, including African American, Asian and Pacific Islander, European, LGBTQIA+, Middle Eastern, Hispanic and Latin American, and Native American families.


DNA methodology, results interpretation, case studies correlating genetic and documentary evidence, and DNA analysis tools.

Land and Maps

Federal and state land records, mapping tools, sources and techniques for recreating neighborhoods, and using land records to solve difficult problems.


All aspects of family history methodology, from basic organizing tips to source documentation, planning, research techniques, and interpreting findings.


Sources and techniques for researching military ancestors, emphasizing early American wars.

Records and Repositories

The use of record types such as religious, military, immigration, tribal, land, court, and vital records; the use and content of local, regional, and national record repositories.

Regional Research

The history, records, repositories, and ethnic and religious groups of specific United States regions, with special emphasis on migrations into, within, and out of the region, origins of early settlers, and history of native people.


Online databases, websites, and tools for accessing digitized record images, computer applications for organizing and preserving information, and advances in artificial intelligence.


Methods and records for researching, and stories about, women throughout the American experience.


Techniques and tools for communicating family history information, from family sketches to articles for peer-reviewed journals.

FOCUS for Genealogy Organization Leaders

For FOCUS, we seek proposals highlighting innovative public outreach and engagement programs, and ways that genealogy organizations can plan and conduct those programs. Expanding on the success of the annual SLAM! Idea Showcase, FOCUS sessions this year should highlight genealogy organizations’ activities to encourage people to explore their family history and learn more about genealogy. We encourage submissions that

  • provide information about successful public outreach programs that other organizations can replicate
  • include information about how the program was organized, including planning tips, tools, and techniques
  • highlight innovative marketing techniques your organization used to reach the public
  • provide details about financing such programs, including revenues, expenses, and net revenue goals and how those are determined.

In addition, NGS also encourages presentations that facilitate the development of public outreach programs that genealogy organizations can adopt for America’s 250th birthday in 2026.

Sponsored Lecture Proposals

A limited number of sponsored lecture proposals for the main conference and FOCUS will be accepted from genealogy organizations and companies in 2024. Sponsors pay any speaker fees directly and agree to a minimum sponsorship fee of $750 per lecture payable to NGS.

How to Propose

Use the submission portal to submit regular sessions for the main conference, sponsored sessions for the main conference, or FOCUS sessions for genealogy organizations.

NGS is seeking sessions that can be presented in three possible virtual formats:

  1. Live broadcast with live virtual Q&A
  2. Pre-recorded broadcast with live Q&A, and
  3. Pre-recorded on-demand presentation with Q&A via asynchronous use of the Whova app.

Select your preferred format(s) as part of the submission process. NGS reserves the right to invite proposals in any format.

NGS members will receive first consideration as speakers.

Speakers who wish to submit lecture proposals may submit up to four proposals electronically. 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
  • 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.

NGS encourages new, innovative topics and presentations. Please do not submit a proposal for a lecture that has been presented previously at a regional, state, or national level events, is scheduled to be presented before May 2024, or is available for free online. Presentations that have been given to small local groups are okay.

Speaker Honorarium

Speakers for Expanding Possibilities will receive a $750 honorarium and complimentary registration for the conference.

FOCUS presentations should be submitted on behalf of a genealogy organization. The organization will receive a $500 honorarium, and the speaker will receive complimentary registration for FOCUS.

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, presentations, syllabus materials, communications, and delivery.

Whova has online speaker guides to assist with a better understanding of the features of their platform.

Acceptance notifications and speaker contracts will be issued in the fall of 2023. Syllabus material, due 1 March 2024, is required for each lecture or presentation and will be included in the compendium distributed to all conference registrants (main conference) or as an Information & Answers Series paper for genealogy organizations (FOCUS).

Online Meeting for Proposers

On 20 July 2023, NGS held an open discussion to assist potential main conference speakers on innovation in presentations and methods to encourage audience interaction via Zoom and Whova. The video is now available on YouTube.

A similar meeting to assist FOCUS proposers will be held on 27 July 2023 at 8:00 p.m. ET. Register here.

NGS requires Zoom authentication to participate in online meetings. You must have a Zoom account (free or paid) to participate.