Learning from NGS Family History Writing Competition Winners

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Each year the National Genealogical Society holds a Family History Writing competition. The winning entry is submitted to the NGS Quarterly editors for possible publication. When accepted, NGS Quarterly readers benefit, for the contest winners’ work demonstrates excellence in researching and writing family histories.

Kay Haviland Freilich’s “Verifying an Ancestor’s Words: The Autobiography of Mary (Seeds) Haviland” captured the prize in 2009.[1] The family history documents the paternal family of Mary (Seeds) Haviland, who was born in Salem, Ohio, in 1878 and died in Pennsylvania in 1966. It offers readers several learning opportunities, such as how to structure, document, and add historical context to a family history as well as how to use NGS Quarterly format to number a genealogy. In addition, the author’s use of Mary’s unpublished autobiography as a source is likely to be of help to many.

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