National Genealogical Society

Conferences & Events


NGS 2019 Family History Conference
Journey of Discovery
St. Charles, Missouri

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DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS–11:59 p.m. EDT on 1 April 2018

The National Genealogical Society 2019 Family History Conference, Journey of Discovery, will be held in St. Charles, Missouri, 8‒11 May 2019. NGS will open the call for proposals on 2 January 2018 and proposals will be accepted until 1 April 2018. Speaker notifications will be sent out in September of 2018.

Genealogists travel a new Journey of Discovery with each family. The discovery may be a new resource, publication, or website. The journey may take researchers to a variety of repositories, to conferences, or to institutes where they can learn about research techniques, and network with other genealogists.

The pioneers experienced their own journey of discovery as they migrated to the Louisiana Purchase and the Northwest Territory, thus opening the Midwest and Plains states to migration and new settlements. Over time, the rivers, trails west, and railroads were vital to this expansion. Bounty land warrants, the Homestead Act, and land grants provided many opportunities for settling the Midwest and points west. Native Americans, French fur traders, and Spanish soldiers preceded these settlers, discovering the beauty of the geysers, mountains, and plains years earlier.

Migration from the east and south included Americans formerly from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, often traveling with those enslaved or indentured. The end of the Civil War provided opportunities for African Americans to leave the plantations and travel north. The Germans and Irish as well as Eastern Europeans, all seeking new opportunities, poured into the country, establishing new towns and cities, schools, and businesses while maintaining their own customs and religions.

Lecture Proposals

NGS encourages proposals that demonstrate methods to help genealogists accurately identify ancestors through exhaustive research, proper source citations, analysis and correlation, resolution of conflicts, and sound reasoning and coherent writing. NGS invites proposals on all aspects of the journey of discovery. Conference tracks under consideration address a wide range of topics and include:

  • Courts and laws: using court records, federal and state statutes, laws, and legal publications
  • Emigration: understanding economic conditions, exit papers, and indentures
  • Ethnic records: reviewing resources for African Americans, Europeans, and Native Americans
  • Government documents: explaining federal, state, and local government records
  • Heirlooms: preserving rare books, diaries, letters, memorabilia, and quilts
  • Immigration: locating naturalization records, passenger lists, ports, and voter registration
  • Maps: locating cemeteries, farms, landmarks, towns in the U.S., and homelands
  • Migration: relocating for bounty land, Homestead Act, land grant opportunities
  • Military: understanding military records, lineage papers, organizations
  • Organizing: using apps, filing systems, and timelines, both in electronic and paper format
  • Regional: sharing records and resources for Missouri and the surrounding Midwest states
  • Repositories: learning about record sets, paper and digital special collections
  • Technology: protecting your data via backup, offsite storage, and software
  • Transportation: moving via canals, railroads, rivers, and trails

Proposals may also include presentations about DNA, and how to use DNA to solve genealogical roadblocks, as well as Internet websites, apps, and other technology tools. NGS encourages proposals that demonstrate methods to help genealogists accurately identify ancestors through exhaustive research, proper source citations, analysis and correlation, resolution of conflicts, and sound reasoning and coherent writing.

Speakers who wish to submit lecture proposals may submit up to eight proposals electronically here. The speaker compensation is described in detail here. The following information is required for each submitted proposal:

  • Speaker's full name, address, telephone, and e-mail address
  • Presentation title, not to exceed fourteen words
  • Program brochure lecture summary, not to exceed twenty-five words
  • Brief, but comprehensive lecture outline
  • 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 presented this lecture in the last two years or is scheduled to present in the next two years.
  • Identification of the appropriate audience level: beginner, beginner-intermediate, intermediate, intermediate-advanced, advanced, or all.

NGS members will receive first consideration as speakers. Syllabus material, due 15 February 2019, is required for each lecture or workshop presentation and will be included in the syllabus distributed to all conference registrants. Electronic presentation programs are expected from the speakers and they must provide their own digital projector and laptop. NGS will provide projector support, which consists of a VGA cable, cart, and power strip. Internet connections will not be provided.

Sponsored Lecture Proposals

Genealogical organizations are encouraged to sponsor a lecture and may submit proposals here. Please do not use this form to submit luncheon talks.

If you are an organization and you want to sponsor a luncheon please contact

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