Strut Your Stuff

by Memoir Mentor on December 8, 2009

24k-Gold-Star-AwardI don’t know about you, but competition really gets my juices going. I’d do anything in school to get a gold star on the teacher’s chart. Competition helps me cut through the pull of procrastination and the seductiveness of sloth.

If you can relate, consider submitting one of your stories to a writing competition? There are several looking for submissions in the memoir and family history categories. And deadlines are looming. Talk about an incentive. Here are a few for your consideration:

Deadline December 31–National Genealogy Society Family History Contest

 The family history should be an original work that has not been previously published or submitted elsewhere, covering three to four generations with proper documentation using the NGSQ Numbering System. The family you select to write about may span any period of American history and must span at least three generations. The progenitor may have been born elsewhere, but he or she must have actually lived in colonial America or the United States. The second and third generations must also have lived in colonial America or the United States. The writer and his or her siblings or spouses may not be included as a member of the third generation.

Lots of great prizes. Go to for more information.

Deadline:  December 31–Southern California Genealogy Society GENEii Writers Contest

Category 1: family or local history articles 1,000–2,000 words in length, published or unpublished
Category 2: family or local history articles of 1,000 words or less, published or unpublished

Go to to learn more.

Deadline:  December 31–2010 Excellence in Writing Competition, sponsored by the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors

Open to members of ISFHWE. (Membership is $15.) Looking for articles and stories in four categories. Winners in each category will be awarded a cash prize and a certificate. The awards presentation will take place at the ISFHWE Awards Banquet to be held at the National Genealogical Society Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 28 April 2010. Info available at 

Category I: Newspaper Columns. This category is for newspaper columns published on a regular basis and published in 2009. Entries must be shorter than 1,000 words.
Category II: Articles. These articles must have been published in 2009 in a journal, magazine, newsletter, or website. Entries cannot exceed 5,000 words.
Category III: Genealogy Research Story.
This category is for original, unpublished articles between 1,000 and 3,000 words. The articles should focus on telling the story of genealogical research using one of these topics: “The Search for,” “Sorting Out the Entangled Roots of …,” or “Encounters with a Family Skeleton.”
Category IV:  Want-to-be Writer/Columnist. Entrants in this category aspire to be writers or columnists in the field of genealogy/family or local history. The submissions in this category are original and unpublished, and between 500 and 1,000 words

 Deadline:  February 28–Ohio Genealogy Society Writing Competition 

The contest is for articles dealing with Ohio history and genealogy, Ohio record groups, Ohioans who left to settle elsewhere, and Ohio families. OGS welcomes articles ranging in size from 750 words up to 5,000 words, depending on the subject. For more information, go to 

If you know of any other writing contests, let me know. Meanwhile, dust off those stories and throw your hat into the ring. What’s the worst that could happen? Nothing. The best? You’ll be an award-winning writer. Now that’s a gold star if ever I’ve seen one! 

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