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Genealogical Competitions, Scholarships & Contests


While genealogical research is rewarding in itself, it is always nice to receive a little financial support for your endeavors. To this end, a number of genealogical scholarships, awards, grants and fellowships are available to help applicants hoping to attend a genealogical conference or institute, to honor excellence in genealogical writing or research, or to support research projects of benefit to the genealogical community. Be sure to check the deadlines, rules and qualifications for each opportunity, but don't be afraid to apply!

1. American Society of Genealogists Scholar Award

An annual $500 scholarship toward tuition and expenses at either the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (Samford) or the National Institute on Genealogical Research (Washington, D.C.) is awarded by the American Society of Genealogists. Applicants must submit a resume, a 5,000+ word manuscript or published work demonstrating quality genealogical research, and a brief statement.
Deadline: 30 September

2. Birdie Monk Holsclaw Memorial Scholarship

Established in 2010 as a tribute to the memory of noted genealogist, Birdie Monk Holsclaw, this scholarship funds genealogical related education at the Samford University Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) for the awardee. Application is open to all genealogists and consists of a short resume listing genealogical experience and a 150-200 word essay describing how IGHR will help advance their genealogical research skills.

Deadline: 1 October

3. Connecticut Society of Genealogists Literary Awards

This long-running annual genealogy writing contest for New England–based genealogical works, awards a $1,000 grand prize for the best Genealogy, and two first prizes of $500 each for the best Family History and the best Genealogical Resource Publication. There is also a "fledgling essay contest" for new writers—winning entries may be selected for publication in The Connecticut Nutmegger.
Deadline: 15 February

4. The Donald Lines Jacobus Award

The Donald Lines Jacobus Award was established in 1972 by the American Society of Genealogists to encourage sound scholarship in genealogical writing. The award is presented annually to the author of a model genealogy published within the previous five years. Nominations for the Jacobus Award are made by Fellows of the American Society of American Genealogists who edit journals that run book reviews. 

5. Donald Mosher Award for Colonial Virginia Research

This annual $500 award honors scholarship in research on Colonial Virginia topics. Entries may either be an unpublished family genealogy, a study of Virginia immigrant origins, or a publication plan for a project that will make available Virginia records from the 17th or 18th centuries.
Deadline: 31 December

6. The Filby Prize for Genealogical Librarianship

Named for the late P. William Filby, the Filby Prize is awarded annually to a librarian with at least five years experience whose primary focus is genealogy and local history. Entries for this prestigious award are by nomination, and the annual winner is awarded a $1000.
Deadline: 31 January

7. Genealogical Forum of Oregon Writing Contest

There's a different theme each year in this writing contest sponsored by the Genealogical Forum of Oregon. The article/story must be between 750–5000 words and be fully source cited with endnotes or footnotes. Entry is free for members and $10 for non-members.
Deadline: 1 February

8. ISFHWE Excellence in Writing Competition

An annual competition sponsored by the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors was begun in 1989 to encourage high standards in genealogy journalism. Entries are accepted in five categories, from content written/published the previous year:

  • Columns
  • Published Articles
  • Genealogy Newsletter
  • Unpublished Author
  • Unpublished, by Published Authors
  • Poetry

Awards, including a cash prize and a certificate, are presented at the annual FGS conference in August/September. Members of ISFHWE receive a discount on the registration fee.
Deadline: 15 June

9. Jean Thomason Scholarship for IGHR

Named for and in honor of Jean Thomason, who directed the Samford Institute of Historical & Genealogical Research from 1997-2007, this annual scholarship covers the cost of tuition to IGHR and is open to anyone currently employed at a library. Applications are reviewed by a Samford University Library committee.
Deadline: 1 December


10. Jewish Genealogy Month Poster Contest

The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) sponsors an annual creative poster competition for Jewish Genealogy Month (previously sponsored by Avotaynu). Only member organizations of the IAJGS may submit entries, which may be created by either members or non-members of that organization. The winning poster/flyer will be unveiled at the annual IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy and the artist creating the winning entry will receive free registration for the conference.
Deadline: 20 June

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