Interested in Family History?

We’re Here To Help

Have you been thinking about beginning your search for your family history?  Do you want to build your skills and expertise? The National Genealogical Society (frequently referred to as NGS) is here to help individuals learn about their family history.  We are a non-profit organization headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia.  For 120 years, we have been the leader in teaching genealogical research skills and providing a pathway to scholarly work. Ready to get started?  Look at our skill-building boxes on the homepage for advice and tips, or go to our learning center to enroll in an online course, check out our books and publications, register for a research trip, or come to our annual conference.

Better yet, join NGS and get all the benefits of membership today!

NGS Mission Statement

Our mission is to inspire, connect, and lead the family history community. We foster collaboration and best practices in advocacy, education, preservation, and research. We enable people, cultures, and organizations to discover the past and create a lasting legacy.

Only NGS Offers Personalized Learning

Family connections are important and with families more spread out across the U.S. than ever before, knowledge of personal family history can be lost in one generation. NGS offers many types of personalized learning that will help teach you how to reconnect with cousins, find your great grandparents, or discover if your ancestors arrived on American soil hundreds of years ago. We give our members the options necessary to build a comprehensive foundation for beginning your family research or how to advance your skills to the level of scholarship. Genealogy is changing everyday and we can help you cope and learn the best skills in an ever-expanding environment of an emerging technology, databases to search, and new resources for research in libraries and archives.

Are Genealogy and Family History different?

Many people wonder if there is there a distinction between genealogy and family history. Are a genealogist and a family historian one and the same?

Well yes, sort of! Today, the two terms are used interchangeably most of the time. There is a subtle distinction and many would enjoy debating the nuances in the language. Genealogy is often used to describe a line of descent, traced continuously from an ancestor, often also called a lineage. There is some expectation that a genealogy is a formal or scholarly study of ancestral family lines and that documentary evidence of each generational bloodline connection can be proven with evidence and records. Family history also means the study of a family tree and generational connections, but some feel is has a bit more connotation of a biographical study of a family and may include the heritage and traditions a family passed on. Basically both words mean the study of families, finding their stories, and tracing their lineage and history. You will see we interchange the two terms and you can feel free to do so also.

Ready to Start?

Look at our personalized learning opportunities that allow you to learn anytime from home or join us on a research trip or at our annual conference. Maybe you prefer to learn from articles or books, or even video or audio lectures. Whatever your level of expertise, you can turn to NGS for advice whether you are Getting Started, Going to the Next Level, or looking for  Building Advanced Skills. We provide many keys to unlock your family’s mysteries.

Note: Mission Statement revised and approved by the National Genealogical Society Board of Directors, 8 January 2021.