By Sheila Benedict

Contributing Writer

There are big changes in the genealogical world, and I am not referring to DNA advances or online databases.

At the annual Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) conference, held in Washington, D.C., in August, an announcement was made at the opening session that they are merging with the National Genealogical  Society (NGS). In 2020, they will have their separate conferences as has happened for a number of years, but starting in 2021, there will be one joint conference as one society.

This is a big deal as both conferences have been in the forefront of genealogical research. However, time marches on, as they say. My suspicion is that given the rise in new technology, especially webinars, online conferences, and other “newer” events, their move was a wise one and will keep the missions of both of the societies “in the loop” as it were.

The announcement, posted at, said in part: “Leaders of both organizations believe this merger will serve the genealogy community by improving the 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.”

FGS  President Faye Stallings 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 the 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.” The NGS URL is

Smart move! The genealogical community will be beneficiaries of this decision!


Sheila Benedict is a local professional genealogist.