National Genealogical Society

National Genealogical Society

Welcome. NGS is here to help.

If you are new to genealogy and family history, then you have come to the right place.  The National Genealogical Society (NGS) was organized in 1903 to help people advance their personal genealogy and family history.  We do that by providing many forms of education and training and encouraging quality sources and standards in your research work. We have multiple ways to help you succeed—browse our website for more ideas.


If you are interested in furthering your family history after playing the Family Village game on Facebook, then we are here to help you win! 

NGS has lots of tips below, but first you may want to watch a short video that will also give ideas to get you started. 


Join NGS

There are many benefits to joining NGS.  NGS members receive publications such as the NGS Magazine and NGS Quarterly plus a free online course, Family History Skills. Join our four day Family History Conference to learn from renowned experts at a substantial discount. Members receive discounts on books, courses and NGS online store purchases, free worksheets and forms. Learn More …

Getting Your Family History Started


Have you ever scaled a tree and sat to enjoy the view? Well, get ready to climb your family tree for a fascinating view of your family history. To make it easy for your family and descendents to climb … Read More

Look Around and Identify What You Know


Begin at home, start with yourself. Personal knowledge can form the first limbs of your family tree. First, make a simple chart or list beginning with … Read More

Record Your Information


After collecting family information, it is important to record and source it correctly on forms referred to as family group sheets and ancestor charts. Read More

Prepare Yourself for Your Climb


Before you begin your climb, you should have the right gear for the trip. Be smart and learn the basics of genealogical methodology. Look for "how-to" books … Read More

Decide What You Want to Learn


Pick an individual about whom your information is incomplete. For example, if you are missing information about one of your four grandparentss … Read More

Decide Which Records Will Be Most Helpful


Your first step should be to obtain vital records, if they exist, because these give more exact information and often contain the names of the person’s parents and … Read More

Census Records 1790–1940


Another great tool to find your ancestors and a basic foundation for genealogical research involves searching all available federal census records to … Read More

The Courthouse


Having collected the basics about your ancestors, you are now ready to visit or contact the courthouse in the locality where your ancestor(s) lived. Read More

Library, Genealogical or Historical Society Research


Libraries or genealogical and historical societies with genealogical collections are an important way to develop your family history, particularly once … Read More

NGS Book Loan Collection


If you can’t get to a genealogy collection or your library doesn’t have the book you want, ask if interlibrary loan is available. The NGS Book Loan Collection … Read More

Family History Centers


FamilySearch has microfilmed vital, land, probate, tax, and military records; state and federal censuses; family and local histories; and numerous special … Read More

Newspaper Collections


Newspapers are another excellent resource for finding information about family. Read More

Learning More


At this point you have been working mostly on your own. You’ll probably benefit greatly from taking a genealogy class. If you prefer to work at home, Read More