The Chicago Genealogical Society is pleased to announce its 2017 Writing Contest for original material on topics of interest to genealogists and family historians. The contest is open to members and non-members of the CGS. Hobbyists, transitional, and professional genealogists are welcome to submit entries. Submissions may include genealogies, family histories, and case studies that demonstrate use of genealogical methodology, techniques, and sources.

Entries will be accepted through December 31, 2017. Winners will be announced by April 1, 2018.

Goal: To encourage people to share their genealogical research: either a family history that covers three to four generations, or a personal history about life in Chicago.

Prizes: First Place, Second Place and Third Place


  • Manuscript length: 750 to 5,000 words, including footnotes (3–10 typed pages). Manuscripts generated by a genealogical software program will not be accepted.
  • The history must have some connection to the City of Chicago.
  • A paper with multiple authors will be accepted if it meets the requirements of the contest. If a winning paper has multiple authors, the prize will be awarded to the lead author.
  • Original work not previously published and not submitted elsewhere for publication, with proper citation (for style, see Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. 3rd edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co., 2015)
  • Submit with no author but with a cover letter (for anonymity).
  • The Author will retain all copyright to material submitted to CGS. The Author grants to CGS the right to publish the listed material electronically and in hard copy for the life of the society.
  • CGS Officers and Directors are not eligible to participate.


The criteria for excellence in a paper rely heavily on how you demonstrate your research skills. You must show the ability to use and analyze a wide variety of original documents. It should not be just the summarization of the work of others. Tell a story, place your family in historical context, but make sure the historical aspect is really relevant to your family and make if brief. The emphasis should be on the original research you did to create the family history.

If an entry should not meet all requirements, the manuscript will be returned with an explanation. All other contestants will receive comments on their entries after a winner has been selected by the judges.

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Chicago Genealogical Society Announces 2017 Writing Contest