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!

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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

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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

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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

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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. 

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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This annual genealogy writing competition sponsored by the Minnesota Genealogical Society judges entries based on the basis of originality, writing quality, documentation of evidence, and suitability for publication.
Deadline: 15 July

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The National Genealogical Society offers a number of writing awards each year:

  • Family History Writing Contest
  • Award for Excellence: Genealogy and Family History Book
  • Award for Excellence: Genealogical Methods and Sources

Winners for all three are announced at the annual NGS conference.
Deadline: 31 January

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An scholarship which covers the complete cost of the NGS American Genealogy: A Home Study Course (approximately $475 value) is awarded annually to a deserving individual. Application is by essay and preference is given to individuals "who have demonstrated serious interest in genealogy by attending regional and/or local conferences, undertaking genealogical training, and subscribing to genealogical publications." Applicants must be an NGS member.
Deadline: 31 January

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This annual competition recognizes outstanding newsletters published by genealogical or historical society or association. Applicants must be a NGS member organization.
Deadline: 31 December

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This annual genealogy writing contest selects winning articles in two categories categories. Two first prize winners (one in each category) will receive his/her choice of a one-year OGS membership or free admission to the OGS Annual Fall Seminar. All winning entries will also be considered for publication in either Ohio Genealogy News (OGN) or the Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly (OGSQ). Articles should focus on Ohio history and genealogy, Ohio records groups, Ohioans who left to settle elsewhere or Ohio families.
Deadline: 1 March

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Open to all genealogists (membership in OGS not required), this annual family story writing contest accepts stories of all types, up to 2500 words. There should be some connection to Oklahoma, either in the story or through the author's residence.
Deadline: 28 February

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Unpublished genealogical writing focused on Canada or Ontario and genealogy are eligible for cash prizes in this annual contest sponsored by the Ontario Genealogical Society. If mutually agreeable, the winning entries will be published in Families.
Deadline: 1 November 

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Awarded to "an experienced researcher employed in a paid or volunteer position, in the services of the genealogical community," this $500 scholarship covers full tuition at the (National Institute of Genealogical Research) NIGR, plus attendance at the Alumni Association dinner. Hotel and/or meal costs will be partially defrayed.
Deadline: 15 January

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Established in 1986 to honor Milton Rubincam, CG, FASG, FNGS, the Rubincam Youth Award is given annually to a student in two age categories for a prepared genealogy. The award winner in the Junior category (grades 7-9) receives a plaque, the NGS Home Study Course and a one-year NGS membership. The Senior Award winner (grades 10-12) receives a $500 cash prize, the NGS Home Study course and a one-year NGS membership. Winning submissions may appear in the NGS NewsMagazine.
Deadline: 31 January

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The annual GENEii Family History Writers Contest, now in its tenth year, offers cash prizes in two categories: 1) Family or local history articles of 1,000–2,000 words in length (published or unpublished) and 2) Family or local history articles of 1,000 words or less (published or unpublished). Stories that concern any aspect of family or local history from anywhere and from any era are welcome.
Deadline: 31 December 

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The Texas State Genealogical Society (TSGS) awards a number of different scholarships, grants and cash prizes for partner societies or individual members of TSGS, including a number of writing competitions, website awards and a student scholarship. Application requirements and deadlines vary for each program so check the website for details. 
Deadline: varies by competition