The ISFHWE 2016 Excellence-in-Writing Competition is Now Open for Entries


The International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE) is reminding writers IN ALL MEDIA (magazines, newspapers, journals, websites, blogs) that the 2016 Excellence-in-Writing Competition is now open for entries through 15 June 2016.

The competition is open to both MEMBERS and NON-MEMBERS of ISFHWE; both published and non-published authors may enter (see category list below). Members of ISFHWE receive a discount on the entry fee (after logging in to the ISFHWE members’ corner; new members allow up to ten days to receive login information). The categories are:

Category I – Columns. This is for columns of original content, published on a regular basis, in any medium, published in 2015. Each entry must consist of 2,000 words or fewer. These are entries from the author’s regular column-not features. Note that these may be print or online columns (including blogs).

Category II – Articles. These one-time articles (not part of the author’s column) must have been published in 2015 in a journal, magazine, newsletter, blog or website. Entries cannot exceed 5,000 words. Note that these may be print or online articles, including GUEST entries on a blog. Footnotes are not included in the word count.

Category III – Genealogy Newsletter. This category is for society or family association newsletters published in
2015. Entries should consist of two issues, each submitted as a single file in PDF format. The judging will be based on originality, content, visual appeal, writing and editing quality, and accuracy. The award is to the editor of the publication. These may be print or online newsletters. The once-a-year newsletters usually sent at Christmas do not qualify for this competition as two issues from the same calendar year are needed.
Category IV –Unpublished Authors. Entrants in this category aspire to be published writers or columnists in the field of genealogy, family or local history. The submissions in this category are original and unpublished, between 500 and 2,000 words. Since these are UNPUBLISHED, blogs are not eligible for this category. The articles should be unpublished at the time they were submitted to the competition.

Category V– Unpublished material – Published Authors. This category is for original unpublished genealogically related articles by previously published authors. Entries should be between 500 and 3,000 words. Since these are UNPUBLISHED, blogs are not eligible for this category. The articles should be unpublished at the time they were submitted to the competition.

Category VI – Poetry. This category is for original content (published in 2015 or unpublished), that is related to family history. Entries should be no longer than 1000 words and have a title. This may include song lyrics (music is not judged).

Winners (1st, 2nd, 3rd) in each category will be awarded a cash prize and a certificate. Emailed certificates may be awarded for Honorable Mentions. The awards will be announced during FGS Conference 2016.

Entries must be submitted in PDF, Word, WordPerfect, or JPG format by e-mail in time to meet this deadline. Please note: Footnotes will not count toward word count. Send entries to:

Appropriate entry fee(s) – and membership dues to receive the discount – may be paid via PayPal on the ISFHWE website at
Full information on the competition is available on the ISFHWE website in the “2016 Excellence-in-Writing Competition – Information and Online Entry Form” link, which leads to:
For questions, contact the Competition Coordinator at:

Author Roccie Hill Launches New Service: “Ghost Writing: Bringing Your Family Tree To Life!”

My friend, Tina Sansone, sent me the following press release:


August 26, 2015: Palm Desert, California – Acclaimed author, Roccie Hill, today launches her innovative new service for genealogists and their clients: “Ghost Writing: Bringing Your Family Tree to Life!”

Through this service, Roccie is available to take the map and facts of a family’s tree, research the eras and locations, provide pictures and historical context, and transform it all into a book that brings the ghosts of family ancestors to life for future generations to keep and enjoy.

Published writer and professional editor, Roccie Hill, studied genealogy for over 15 years, discovering that a family tree map only touches the surface of the stories and mysteries of the generations.

Interviewed today, Roccie said, “I always wanted to find out more than the names and dates. Records and documents sit in our computers or online family trees, but are often only appreciated by the family historian. Imagine the excitement at a family reunion or holiday celebration if you were able to give people the book of their family history, written as a story! These storybooks, whether a pamphlet of a 300 page book, offer the members of an extended family a chance to gain profound insights into who their ancestors really were!”

Your story might be a short story concerning one person, or it might be a 300-page book. Whatever the length, Roccie Hill will work closely with you to produce hard cover copies, paperback copies, or e-books: you can make one copy or a hundred.

Roccie Hill is now available for short or long projects, and will work closely with you to produce hard cover copies, paperback copies, or e-books: one copy might be produced, or a hundred.

Roccie Hill is a Member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Colonial Dames of the XVII Century, the National Genealogical Society, New England Historic Genealogical Society, and the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors. She is the American author of the novels Three Minutes on Love, published in 2008 and Window of Exposure, published in 2015. She holds a Master of Arts degree in English: Creative Writing from California State University at San Francisco, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from UCLA, where she is a Life Member of the Alumni Association.

She can be contacted at Website:

NEHGS Appoints Christopher C. Child as Editor of the Mayflower Descendant

The following is from NEHGS:


New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) Announces Appointment of Christopher C. Child as Editor of the Mayflower Descendant

August 19, 2015 — Boston, Massachusetts — Christopher C. Child, Senior Genealogist of the Newbury Street Press at New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), has been named editor of the Mayflower Descendant, the Society announced today. Child is an award-winning genealogist and author of important published studies of American family history. He will begin his assignment as editor with the winter 2016 issue of the journal, the first to be published by NEHGS, while retaining his responsibilities with Newbury Street Press.

Last week NEHGS announced that, as the result of an agreement with the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants (MSMD), NEHGS will assume a ten-year stewardship of the Mayflower Descendant. First published in 1899 by George Ernest Bowman, under the auspices of the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, the journal is one of the most highly respected scholarly journals in the field of genealogy. NEHGS plans to continue twice-a-year publication, winter and summer, available by subscription.

In making the announcement of Child’s appointment, Penny Stratton, NEHGS Publishing Director, stated “Chris Child is an excellent choice for this new position, poised to bring his well-articulated vision of genealogical scholarship to this very important journal.”

Child is the recipient of two publishing awards this year: Ancestors and Descendants of George Rufus Brown and Alice Nelson Pratt (2013, co-written with Patricia Law Hatcher and Kelvin L. Meyers) won the Brainerd T. Peck Award from the Connecticut Genealogical Society, and The Nelson Family of Rowley, Massachusetts (2014) won the Award for Excellence in Genealogy and Family History from the National Genealogical Society. In 2012 his book with NEHGS colleague Scott Steward, Descendants of Judge John Lowell (2011) won both those awards as well as the prestigious Donald Lines Jacobus Award of the American Society of Genealogists.

Child has been associated with NEHGS since 1997, first as a librarian and researcher, and later joining the Publications team as Genealogist of the Newbury Street Press in 2006. He also serves as editor of the genetics column in American Ancestors magazine and contributes frequently to the Vita Brevis blog of NEHGS.

An experienced and in-demand lecturer and consultant, Child has contributed many articles to scholarly genealogical journals, including the Mayflower Descendant. His wide-ranging research interests include, as well as Mayflower ancestry, colonial New England genealogy (especially Connecticut), presidential genealogy, and DNA. Chris holds a B.A. in history from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.

More information about the Mayflower Descendant and subscription opportunities may be found at the website of NEHGS at

Have a Book to Publish? “Producing a Quality Family History” Can Help

What does it take to put together a family history worth reading? The short answer is time, money, and effort. However, after all the work you have done in researching, collecting documents, gathering pictures, sorting, and recording genealogies and family stories, putting a family history together should seem like a piece of cake. To help researchers preserve their family histories and make the process as streamlined as possible, Patricia Law Hatcher has written the helpful guide, Producing a Quality Family History. Note the the special offer on book of 10% off at the FRPC website is extended through midnight EDT Monday, March 16, 2015.

The obvious follow-up question is, what makes a “quality” family history? As a publisher and book designer, I have developed my own ideas over the years as to what makes a quality book. I have also learned that others have their own idea of what quality means. Hatcher acknowledges personal preferences in choosing how to produce a family history. She recommends researchers start by reviewing family histories at a library. She, also, goes on to suggest there are some basic guideline, or qualities,  which should be followed. The list reads as follows (referring to a quality work):

It presents quality research–research that is thorough, new, and based on a variety of primary sources

  • It is well organized, understandable, and attractively presented
  • It uses a recognized genealogical numbering system
  • It documents each fact and relationship fully
  • It expresses information accurately, indicating the likelihood of conclusions
  • It goes beyond records, placing people in context
  • It included illustrations such as maps, charts, and photographs
  • It has a thoughtful and thorough index

Producing a Quality Family History can help the reader create a manuscript, and final publishing, to meet and exceed these criteria. Not only is content reviewed, but layout and design, font selection, editing, and developing a print ready history are all covered. This book is meant to help you avoid mistakes before you even start writing. However, even if you are almost ready to print your book, this guide can help you feel confident you have produced a quality history, before you go to print.

Patricia Hatcher is a technical writer, instructor and certified genealogists. Having written and edited numerous books and articles, she is well versed in the subject. This guide is easy to follow, and equally easy to implement in your own writing. As Hatcher notes in the book, nonfiction writing is to inform, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be, or even shouldn’t be, interesting. Genealogies reproduce facts, family histories, when properly written, give life to your ancestors. Through this guide, your family history can find the life and quality you always dreamed about.



Publishing Family History in the 1990s

What to Write; When to Write It

You Must Have Style


Understanding Type and Fonts

Book Design

Page Layout and Formatting

Organizing and Presenting Family Information

How Do You Know?

Turning Paper into People

Illustrations, Charts, and Photographs

Opening the Door to Your Book

Developing an Editorial Eye

Preparing Camera-Ready Art

Turning Camera-Ready Art into Books

Options from Technology





Producing a Quality Family History is available from Family Roots Publishing in a beautiful hardback edition – 10% off extended throughthrough Monday, March 16, 2015. Click on the link for more information.

Getting Started in #Genealogy Bundle – On Sale for 65% Off


As this week’s FRPC Exceptional Bargain Offer, Family Roots Publishing is offering 3 popular genealogy books as a bundle for 65% off – or individually at 25% off. The bundle is heavy, and can’t be shipped outside of the United States & Canada.

To Purchase the bundle for just $19.20 (plus $8 p&h), Click Here.

The books are:

Give a Gift That Money Can’t Buy: Record & Preserve Your Family’s History (5th Edition)

Portrait of My Family – My Family Heritage

Directory of Family Associations, 4th Edition

Again, Sorry – we do not ship this bundle outside of the United States. Any orders placed for outside-the-USA & Canada shipping for this item will be reversed. It’s just too heavy to ship economically out of the North America.

Following are reviews of each of the three items:

Give Your Family a Gift That Money Can’t Buy – Record & Preserve Your Family’s History

Gift of Genealogy

In 2013, Jeffrey A. Bockman, published a major update to his popular book, Give Your Family a Gift That Money Can’t Buy: Record & Preserve Your Family’s History. Now in its fifth edition, this fantastic primer covers all the basics needed for the novice to get started with family history research. Sometimes genealogists forget an important part of family history research, leaving their own story behind. Bockman created this book to guide and inspire anyone with an inkling of interest into their own past, to help search it out and leave both it and their own stories behind for future genealogists.

In this book Bockman covers all the basics, for example:

  • Forms to record the basic facts
  • Saving  documents future researchers will need
  • Identifying people in photographs
  • Preservation
  • Finding and telling family stories
  • Conducting your own research

This fifth edition is a major revision, adding over five additional years of experience and new resources. New for the fifth edition:

  • More family stories and photographs
  • Newer sources
  • More online resources
  • A new section on searching techniques
  • Comments about genealogy travel with examples
  • Mini case study (to give hope to those who have a relative that disappeared)

The book is organized for easy reading with plenty of examples to help the beginner get started. If you know someone looking to get started with family history or  hoping to help someone develop and interest in their families stories, then this book would help them in the process.

Not only is this book one of the best primers available, it is priced affordably. Family Roots Publishing has Give Your Family a Gift That Money Can’t Buy: Record & Preserve Your Family’s History, 5th Edition, (normally $8.95) on sale for only $6.71 (25% off) through February 9 – or purchase it as part of the 65% off Getting Started bundle available through the same date.


Table of Contents


  • About the author
  • Introduction

Family Facts

  • Identify family members and key events
  • Recording information on standardized forms
    • Family Group Sheet
    • Ancestor Chart

Home Sources

  • Supporting documents that help to provide the necessary proof
  • List of what to use, keep, and preserve
  • Important home sources
  • Bockman family home sources


  • Help turn names and dates into real people
  • Identify the people, the time, and the place


  • Saving items for future generations
  • Paper & document preservation
  • Photo preservation

Family Stories

  • Can only be told by someone who was a part of it
  • Timeline of events
  • Bockman family history

Organizing It All

  • Assembling all of the information

Family History Research

  • How to start researching your family
    • Vital records
    • Wills & probate records
    • Cemetery records
    • Newspapers/obituaries
    • Census records
    • Other records
    • Immigrants
    • Didn’t find it in the index
    • Genealogy travel
    • Case Study: Finding Alvar a not so great dane

Our Family

  • Title page
  • Guidelines for filling in your forms
    • Three family group sheets
    • One ancestor charts
    • Two timeline pages
    • Notes page

    Purchase Give Your Family a Gift That Money Can’t Buy: Record; Preserve Your Family’s History, 5th Edition, (normally $8.95) on sale for only $6.71 (25% off) through February 9 – or purchase it as part of the 65% off Getting Started bundle available through the same date.


    Portrait of My Family, My Family Heritage

    A great gift or keepsake album to record the genealogy and family history.

    This attractive hardback work contains some 136 pages, illustrated in color, pertaining to virtually every relationship, object, and activity of family life. Each page is dedicated to a separate topic, such as “The Family of My Father” or “Special Memories,” and leaves ample space thereunder for entering names, birthplaces, ages, and other appropriate information.

    Looking for an easy and fun way to preserve the memories in the closest branches of your family’s history? Or, looking for a great way to get others in your family involved in the work? Portrait of My Family is a great solution. The book also makes a great gift, and here is why.

    Portrait of My Family – My Family Heritage is a hardback, fill-in the blank, beautiful family history memory book. This 8.5″ x 11″ hardback book, if properly cared for, will last generations. Filled with pages beautifully printed to add a sense of style to each form. This book is a journal, a memory book, and a family history reference all in one.

    Page by page, the owner will enjoy creating this long-lasting memory by hand, recording basic genealogical information along with the memories of family treasures and special family events. Forms and charts are designed for ease of use and for easy reading. There are places for both genealogical data as well as family personal and family stories. Records of family heirlooms and collections will help future generations identify important family treasures. The contents listed below show all the exciting topics and sheets this book offers for creating a new family heirloom.

    The book also comes with an inserted sheet offering “helpful suggestion for filling in your book.” This included tips on preparing and adding photographs and making the most of your entries.

    As a gift now for others, or as a gift you leave behind, is available from Family Roots Publishing.

    • Table of Contents
    • From Generation to Generation
    • How to Use This book
    • My Genealogy
    • My Parent’s Courtship
    • My Parent’s Marriage
    • Father’s Family
    • Mother’s Family
    • My Foreign-Born Ancestors
    • The Lands of Our Ancestors
    • My Family Tree – fold-out Ancestral Chart
    • My Family
    • The Family of My Father
    • The Family of My Mother
    • The Family of My Paternal GrandFather
    • The Family of My Paternal Grandmother
    • The Family of My Maternal Grandfather
    • The Family of My Maternal Grandmother
    • The Families of My Paternal Great-Grandparents
    • The Families of My Maternal Great-Grandparents
    • Family Weddings
    • Other Religious Ceremonies in Our Family
    • My Family’s Religious Affiliations
    • Where I Have Worshipped
    • Special Memories
    • My Family’s Homes
    • The Schools I Have Attended
    • The Organizations I Have Joined
    • Professions, Occupations, Crafts and Trades
    • My Family’s Military Service Record
    • My Best Friends
    • The Pets in My Family
    • The Automobiles – Our Mechanical Companion
    • Special Things
    • My Prized Family Possessions
    • Sports I Enjoy
    • My Family’s Hobbies
    • Memorable Vacations
    • Family Gatherings
    • Cherished Traditions
    • The Most Outstanding Events in My Family’s History
    • Trials & Disasters My Family Has Faced
    • The Oral History of My Family
    • My Family’s Medical History
    • Vital Statistics
    • Photographs
    • Genealogical Research
    • National Archives [International]
    • Addresses
    • Autographs

    Portrait of My Family, My Family Heritage; by F. Michael Carroll; Copyright 1978; Hardcover; 136 pp.; 8.5×11; Item# GPC8451; Reg. $10.95; Purchase at 25% off ($8.21) through midnight MST Monday, February 9, 2015 – or as a 65% off bundle through the same date.


    Directory of Family Associations – 4th Edition

    gpc426About a year ago, Family Roots Publishing made a special purchase of several hundred copies of the 4th Edition of the Directory of Family Associations. The book was written by Elizabeth Petty Bentley and Deborah Ann Carl in 2001, and is the latest family association directory available. No further editions are planned at this time. Most genealogical research within the United States and much of Europe can easily be done for the last 200 years, if not much more. Figuring an average generation as 25 years, that’s eight generations of ancestors – or 510 different and unique surnames in the family tree! If you are working on that many surnames or even a small portion of that (as many of us are), information on family associations is invaluable to our research.

    There are many uses for a directory of family associations, but undoubtedly the best use for it is for genealogical research – for making contact with family members, sharing information about family history, developing common ground between people of the same surname, arranging reunions, discovering who’s out there and where you connect on the family tree, and finding out where you can go with your own research. And there are a host of other uses – kin searching and heir searching, for example, determining family migration patterns, even marketing your own genealogical research. The possibilities are endless.

    Based largely on data received in response to questionnaires sent to family associations, reunion committees, and one-name societies, the 4th edition of the Directory of Family Associations gives you access to a range of possibilities, offering information on approximately 6,000 family associations across the United States.

    The book starts with a section on Multi-family Resources, then launches into the bulk of the book listing the 6000 associations. It literally runs from Aaldericnk through Zyrkle.

    This book is an immensely useful A-Z directory of family associations giving addresses, phone numbers, contact persons, and publications (if any). The book is 12 years old, so undoubtedly some of the contact info will be bad. However, having the data that tells of an association that did exist can also be useful. So whether you’re just starting your genealogical research or already waist deep in your investigations, planning a family reunion or hoping to attend one, or simply curious about your family or your surname, the course you choose from now on may be partially governed by this indispensable directory.

    Note that the reviews on the various editions of this book have been outstanding. Library Journal listed the 1991 edition as a “Best Reference Book of 1991.”

    Get your copy of the Directory of Family Associations, 4th Edition at 25% off through February 9, 2015 or as part of a 65% off bundle through the same date.


    To Purchase the bundle at 65% off – just $19.20 (plus $8 p&h), Click Here.

    Sale ends midnight MST Monday, February 9, 2015.

Stories To Tell

The folks at Stories to Tell are very good friends of mine that I have spent many hours talking with at conferences. When the brain & battery on my van quit at the Family Tree Expo Conference in Sacramento California, my wife Tara and I spent a week with them while our van was being repaired.

Nancy & Biff Barnes, editing & book design

Stories to Tell offers complete services for authors
Help is available at every step, from draft to publication. Creating a book is a fascinating, enjoyable project… when you know how to proceed. Their experienced editors can answer your questions, teach you what you need to know, and speed your book to completion.

Stories to Tell specializes in helping authors through the process, from beginning to end. First-time authors appreciate their guidance, and experienced authors recognize and appreciate the value of their services, saving them time and money while producing a professional book.

Stories to Tell has a great deal of skill and experience to offer authors. Why use an editor? Developmental editing helps with planning and organizing your book. Content editing helps to reorganize and revise a completed rough draft. The last step is copy editing, to correct grammar, syntax, and sentences. They care about their authors, and care about their books. They listen, answer your questions thoughtfully, and use their creativity to produce the best book possible.

Click on over to Stories To Tell

Written by Dale R. Meitzler

Dallas Genealogical Society Announces 2014 Writing Contest with Cash Prizes

The following is from the Dallas Genealogical Society:

Dallas, TX , January 3, 2014 – – The Dallas Genealogical Society is pleased to announce its 2014 Writing Contest for original material on topics of interest to genealogists and family historians. The contest is open to members and nonmembers of the DGS. Hobbyists, transitional, and professional genealogists are welcome to submit entries. Submissions may include genealogies, family histories, and case studies that demonstrate use of genealogical methodology, techniques, and sources.

While the DGS has a goal of preserving Dallas area history, subject matter for the competition is not limited to the local geographic area except as defined in the contest Rules and Guidelines.

Entries will be judged on accuracy, clarity of writing, and overall impact and interest. They may not have been previously published. The submission deadline is April 1, 2014. Winners will be announced in July 2014.

First prize is $500, second prize is $300 and third prize is $150.

Complete Rules and Guidelines are available at: “Once again this is an opportunity for genealogists and family historians to preserve some of their family history and to achieve recognition for their work,” said Marianne Szabo, Director of Publications Content. “The contest offers a unique venue for researchers to tell part of their story.”

About DGS
The Dallas Genealogical Society was formed in October 1954 when 22 people met at the downtown Dallas YMCA to discuss having a society with goals to preserve heritage and records. It was chartered as a non-profit corporation in November 1955.

The Society’s mission is to educate by creating, fostering, and maintaining interest in genealogy; to assist and support the genealogy section of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library in Dallas, Texas; and to collect, preserve, copy, and index information relating to the Dallas area and its early history. The genealogy collection at the Central Library has been recognized as one of the Top 10 research libraries for genealogists in the United States.

DGS conducts general meetings on the first Saturday of each month except June, July, and August with local speakers. DGS also hosts a Lecture Series with nationally recognized speakers for a full-day workshop each spring and fall, and a 2- day Institute during the summer.

DGS is a member of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) and the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS). ! The DGS is organized and operated as a non-profit tax-exempt Section 501(c)(3) as defined by the Internal Revenue Service and eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions in accordance with Code section 170.