About NGS

History of the National Genealogical Society (NGS)

NGS is more than a century old! The National Genealogical Society was organized in Washington, DC, in 1903. NGS has a long history of leading the way in genealogy and produced some remarkable achievements. It was the first national genealogical organization. The society published the first national genealogical journal (NGSQ) and co-created the Board for Certification (BCG) . Twelve of the original BCG board members were current or former NGS officers or NGSQ contributors.

NGS blazed new trails establishing itself over the years as a leader in genealogical education with its conferences, seminars and workshops, research tours, books, magazines and journal. The society introduced the acclaimed NGS Home Study Course in American Genealogy in 1981 and now offers cloud-based, online courses in American Genealogy plus special subject matter courses developed by leading experts in the field.

GenTech, a division of NGS, helped to facilitate a bridge between genealogy and technology, and is known for the GenTech Genealogical Data Model, which is of use to software developers who write genealogy software. And the NGS Book Loan Collection is the largest free lending library of its kind, among the 20,000 books available for research, many in the collection may be borrowed by lending through ILL including a wide range of family histories; state, county and local histories; abstracts of records of cemeteries, churches, courts, deeds, marriages, wills and other probate records.

NGS at 100 Years

In 2003, Shirley Langdon Wilcox, CG, compiled and authored a comprehensive one hundred year history for NGS that can be downloaded here.

The National Genealogical Society: A Look at Its First One Hundred Years (PDF 1.7MB) >

NGS: The First Fifty Years

In 1953, in anticipation of the fiftieth anniversary, a committee was formed to compile a history. The work of that committee was published in articles in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, December 1953–March 1955. The compiled history was condensed by Shirley Langdon Wilcox, CG.

“NGS: The First Fifty Years” (PDF, 1.7 MB) >


History of the NGS GenTech Committee—Bridging Genealogy and Technology

GenTech, a division of the National Genealogical Society, was formed to facilitate communication among persons interested in genealogy and technology. By presenting at national conferences, sponsoring programs with other societies, and publishing white papers based on analyses of problems of common interest to genealogists and technologists, the committee sought to maximize the movement of knowledge among the members of our constituencies. The organization gained recognition for having developed the GenTech Genealogical Data Model, which is of use to software developers who write genealogy software.

Genealogical Data Model
GenTech is widely known for the work that its Lexicon Working Group has done in developing the GenTech Genealogical Data Model, a formal model of genealogical data and of the genealogical research process. The model is of fundamental interest to developers of genealogy software. The members of the Phase 1 Lexicon Working Group included the following individuals.

Principal Members:
Robert Charles Anderson Robert Booth Robert Velke
Paul Barkley Birdie Holsclaw John Vincent Wylie
Additional Contributors:
Helen F. M. Leary Beau Sharbrough

The GenTech Genealogical Data Model

Version 1.0 of the Model
Version 1.0 of the GenTech Genealogical Data Model was released as an RFC (Request for Comment) at the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference on August 21, 1998. In addition to the model description, there are two associated diagrams. In May 2000 version 1.1 of the Model was completed. There were no changes at that time in the diagrams. All of these documents are available from links that follow.

NGS GenTech Genealogical Data Model—Phase 1 Data Model 1.1

One Page Diagram of Data Model — Diagram 1.0

One Page Diagram of Process Steps — Process 1.0