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One organization in 2020, one national conference in 2021

In a surprise announcement at the opening session of the 2019 Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Washington D.C. yesterday came the news that the two national-scope genealogical groups of the United States have agreed to merge.

As of next year, the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and the National Genealogical Society (NGS) will merge into a single continuing entity, the National Genealogical Society.


Both organizations will proceed with their plans for separate national conferences in 2020 — NGS in May in Salt Lake City and FGS in September in Kansas City — and then hold one united conference as the new entity starting in 2021 in Richmond, Virginia.

The joint press release of the two organizations–issued just as the announcement was made yesterday morning–read:

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 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.

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 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.”1

Much of the focus of the two groups is the same: fostering genealogical education; advocating for the preservation of and access to records of genealogical significance; and promoting genealogical standards. To the extent that the merger reduces duplicated efforts, it should be a very good thing overall for the genealogical community.

Where the groups differ is in services to genealogical societies: that has been the FGS focus, while NGS generally focuses on individuals. And that’s where the hard work will be needed in the coming months: exactly how the societies’ needs will be met in the new organization is one of the primary concerns of the boards of directors of the two organizations as they work out the details of the merger.

Going to be an interesting couple of years coming up…

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “NGS and FGS to merge,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 22 Aug 2019).


  1. See “NGS and FGS Announce Intent to Merge,” FGS Voice, Federation of Genealogical Societies, posted 21 Aug 2019, and “NGS and FGS Announce Intent to Merge,” Upfront with NGS, National Genealogical Society, posted 21 Aug 2019 (both accessed 22 Aug 2019).
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