Call For Proposals From Individuals

NGS 2021 Family History Conference
Virginia: The Deep Roots of a Nation
Richmond, Virginia

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS–11:59 p.m. EDT on 15 April 2020

The National Genealogical Society 2021 Family History Conference, Virginia: The Deep Roots of a Nation, will be held in Richmond, Virginia, 19‒22 May 2021. The call for proposals opens on 8 January 2020 and closes on 15 April 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

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 U.S. presidents—a list which includes four of the first five presidents. The Virginia General Assembly is the longest continuously operating legislative body in the western hemisphere―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.

The NGS 2021 Family History Conference in Richmond, Virginia, will be the first conference after the merger of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) into the National Genealogical Society (NGS). Therefore, the NGS 2021 call for proposals includes a full day of society management topics on Tuesday, 18 May 2021.

Lecture Proposals

NGS encourages proposals that explore our connections to our ancestors and the vestiges of their lives that we can discover through the records which still exist. Conference tracks under consideration include the following:

  • DNA: testing options, interpreting results, incorporating into traditional research, ―and for beginners to advanced genealogists
  • Government records: locating, accessing, using, and interpreting local, state, and federal government records
  • Heritage: resources and techniques for researching African Americans, Scots Irish, Germans, Huguenots, Native Americans, and other ethnic groups
  • Immigration: locating and using naturalization records, passenger lists, port records, and other records for determining country of origin
  • Land: federal and state land records, including sources and techniques for recreating neighborhoods and using land records to solve difficult problems
  • 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
  • Migration: historic migration trails, reasons for migrating, and techniques for locating where ancestors went and where they came from
  • Military: sources and techniques for searching for military ancestors with emphasis on the French and Indian, Revolutionary, and Civil wars
  • Organizing methods: filing systems, timelines, software, apps, and other techniques for organizing data, paper, photographs, books, and electronic files
  • Repositories: locating and using the paper and digital collections of local, regional, and national repositories
  • Society management: best practices, leadership, membership, programs, publications, disaster plans, records preservation (lectures, panels, and workshops)
  • 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

NGS also requests proposals that include the law as it relates to genealogy, methodology, analysis and problem solving. NGS encourages proposals that demonstrate methods to help genealogists accurately identify ancestors through reasonably exhaustive research, proper source citations, analysis and correlation, resolution of conflicts, and sound reasoning and coherent writing.

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 August 2020. Syllabus material, due 2 February 2021, is required for each lecture or workshop presentation and will be included in the syllabus 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 eight proposals electronically. The 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 one page
  • 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 two years
  • Identification of the appropriate audience level: beginner, beginner-intermediate, intermediate, intermediate-advanced, advanced, or all

Do not submit a proposed lecture that has been presented nationally or regionally in the last two years, is scheduled to be presented before May 2021, or is available for free online.

Submit a Proposal Today! >

Sponsored Lecture Proposals

If your genealogical organization would like to sponsor a lecture, submit proposals to NGS. If your organization would like to sponsor a luncheon, please contact Do not use the sponsored lecture form.