Wednesday, August 21, 2019

NGS and FGS Announce Intent to Merge

I received this information from FamilySearch today (thank you to Paul Nauta) - I must be off the press release list for FGS and NGS.



(21 August 2019) -- In a historic move, the boards of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) and the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announced today their intent to merge. The two organizations, both non-profit leaders in the dynamic genealogy industry, will form one consolidated group that will continue to operate as the National Genealogical Society. Both boards approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) earlier this week, and jointly announced the news at the Opening Session of the FGS Family History Conference in Washington, D.C., this morning.

Leaders of both organizations believe this merger will serve the genealogy community by improving support of both individual members and societies in the pursuit of genealogical excellence.

The organizational structure of NGS will be modified to increase functions that support genealogical societies and family organizations. Digitization projects of genealogical importance such as the War of 1812 pensions will continue. The two organizations will continue to operate independently while all details of the merger are completed, no later than October 1, 2020.

Faye Stallings, President of FGS, said: “We are excited about this opportunity to combine with a premier organization that has been in operation since 1903. This will allow for improved and expanded services to help support societies.” Ben Spratling, President of NGS, commented, “We look forward to continuing the strong legacy of FGS as a ‘gathering point’ for family historians and societies all across the nation.”

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogical education, exemplary standards of research, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Falls Church, Virginia, based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian, seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, and guidance in research. It also offers many opportunities to interact with other genealogists.


My comments:

This consolidation makes a lot of sense to me.  FGS is not a "personal membership" organization, it is more of a "society membership" organization.  NGS is a "personal membership" organization.  They each have a "genealogy news" magazine, and NGS has a peer-reviewed quarterly research magazine.  They both hold yearly conferences somewhere in the USA over 3-4 days.  My impression is that the conferences are a significant expense, and that attendance at the conferences has dwindled somewhat in recent years. 

The members of these organizations, the readers of their magazines, and conference attendees are mainly genealogists who are professional and associated people who are speakers, writers, society leaders, and readers who devote a significant part of their lives to pursuing their genealogy education and research, and that of others.  If there  is only one yearly conference, then speaking opportunities, exhibitor opportunities, and educational opportunities for attendees will be reduced.

I think that fewer than 5% of my society colleagues have even heard of FGS, and that less than 20% of them have heard of NGS.  Very few of my society colleagues ever go to conferences unless they are in Southern California.  The last FGS or NGS conference in Southern California was in 1995 in San Diego, although the 2013 NGS conference was in Las Vegas.

Frankly, I find that watching webinars online at my convenience is a much better genealogy education choice than flying 2,000 miles, staying in a hotel for four nights, and walking miles to sit in uncomfortable chairs in a crowded classrooms.  I do miss personal interaction with my genealogy friends and colleagues.


Disclosure:  I am not a member of either FGS or NGS at this time, but I was in the past.  I was a "Genealogy 2.0" columnist for FGS FORUM for several years, but was not compensated for that.  I attended several FGS and NGS conference in the 2009-2014 time frame.

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1 comment:

Marian B. Wood said...

Being on the East Coast, I'm especially happy to hear the 2021 combined conference will be in Richmond, VA, during May. But I also agree with your comments about the high cost of attending conferences--that's why I'm a member of the Virtual Genealogical Association and can watch their excellent webinars at any time from home.