Getting the Most Out of Your Memberships: NGS

This is the next blog post in my series on getting the most out of your memberships by taking personal responsibility. To read the original post, click here.

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) was organized in 1903 and claims to be “the first national genealogical organization.” It has always been a leader in genealogical education with its conferences, seminars and workshops, research tours, books, magazines, and a scholarly journal.

As a member of NGS you receive the following benefits (straight from the NGS website):

  • NGS Magazine: delivered quarterly by print or digital access. A top choice by NGS Members, with articles on effectively using records for family history research—i.e., vital records, immigration, land, and courthouse records—and columns on genetic genealogy, repositories, technology, writing, etc.
  • NGS Monthly: delivered monthly by email. A digital publication with articles, authored by an award-winning genealogist on methodology, research techniques, sources, and NGS news.
  • NGS Quarterly (NGSQ): delivered quarterly by print or digital access. A leading scholarly journal in the field, highly in demand for its case studies and genealogies, essays on methodology, and book reviews.
  • Discount registration for the annual NGS Family History Conference
  • Free Family History Skills Course (online, take anytime, anywhere)
  • Discounts for online genealogy courses (only NGS offers the e-learning system Canvas):
  • American Genealogical Studies Four levels of courses that teach skill building + Certificate in American Genealogical Studies available
  • Continuing Genealogical Studies Ten individual courses, you chose topics of interest to you
  • Discounts on Research Trips to Washington, D.C.; Salt Lake City, Utah; and more
  • Discounts on books, including our Research in the States Series and Special Publications
  • Free Member-only Resources, including genealogy templates and charts, tutorials, and articles
  • Free Access to e-Library and Archival Resources, including fully searchable NGS Magazine, NGS Monthly, and NGSQ articles with 24/7 access on our website:
    • Twelve years of NGS Magazine issues
    • 50+ articles from NGS Monthly since inception February 2016
    • 500+ issues of the NGSQ
  • Upfront with NGS: a blog featuring news and resources for genealogists
  • Special packages for audio and video recorded lectures at
  • Full access to Voices of Genealogy, a series of mini-documentaries with interviews of leading scholars in genealogy
  • Eligible to enter the NGS Family History Writing Contest
  • Special Offers from NGS Partnerships and discounts from Affiliates

ALL of these benefits require some action on YOUR part. If you want education, you have to read the articles or watch the videos. If you want to tour research centers, you have to sign up, pay the fee, do the prep work, and go. If you want discounts on items, you have to check the list and click through the affiliate links. And so on. There are 17 broad categories included on the website for member benefits. Seventeen. If you are not “getting anything” out of your membership, I challenge you to take a look at the website, read the emails and blog posts.

Next time you find yourself saying that phrase, take a real look at what you should be expecting from your membership and determine if the problem lies with your priorities and how you choose to spend your time and/or efforts.

**Of course these statements may not reflect everyone’s experience. If you have had a different experience and/or a legitimate complaint, PLEASE take it up with the proper direct channels for that organization. I’m sure they want to know their members’ views and to try to make it right. This blog is only expressing my personal opinions and is not the place to vent your frustrations with a given society or organization.

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