Of course, we all know that historical research is rewarding in and
of itself. Family history and genealogical researchers, in particular,
understand how satisfying it can be simply to discover something new
about an individual or collective past. Still, sometimes it can be
affirming—and helpful to our budgets—to receive financial support for
our endeavors, especially if we're seeking to improve our research
skills or delve much further into a specific project or topic.
for us, support is available, in many forms. If you're hoping to attend
an institute or take courses to expand your genealogical knowledge
base, you may be interested in a scholarship. If you're focusing on a
specific research area or long-term project, you may want to investigate
available grants or fellowships.
This article offers a sampling
of such possibilities to explore online. Note that deadlines (and
guidelines) for each opportunity may vary, even from year to year. If a
program that interests you is no longer open for applications this
cycle, be sure to bookmark the site and recheck it in the future!
for Educational Programs, Institutes, and Conferences
scholarships are available to researchers in genealogy and related
fields. Many are connected with specific conferences and institutes.
Here are some samples of standing scholarship programs.
locate a conference that interests you but cannot find specific
scholarship information on the conference website, don't hesitate to
contact the director and ask about funding opportunities. Sometimes
travel grants and similar programs may be finalized later in the
conference planning process.
Society of Genealogists (ASG) Scholar AwardASG Scholarship
Committee2324 East NottinghamSpringfield, MO 65804-7821
award provides a $500 scholarship to "a developing scholar" who will
attend one of two eminent training programs: the Institute of Genealogy
and Historical Research (IGHR), held each June at Samford University in
Birmingham, Alabama, or the National Institute on Genealogical Research
(NIGR), which takes place annually in July at the National Archives in
Brian W. Hutchison Genealogical ScholarshipAlberta
Family Histories Society712 – 16 Avenue N.W.Calgary AB T2M 0J8Canada
Inaugurated in 2004-05, this scholarship of up to $500 is available
to Canadian residents to "encourage Canadians to pursue formal study of
genealogical analysis, research, evaluation, and documentation
methodologies and standards." The scholarship funds are to be applied
toward tuition and book costs connected with study in the field of
genealogy/family history "in a recognized educational or accreditation
program." See the website for further information about "recognized"
programs as well as for the application form/details.
S. Lackey Memorial ScholarshipNational Institute on
Genealogical Research (NIGR) Alumni AssociationPO Box 14274Washington,
Awarded to "an experienced researcher employed in a
paid or volunteer position, in the services of the genealogical
community," this $500 scholarship covers tuition at the NIGR, plus
attendance at the Alumni Association dinner and some hotel/meal costs.
The award winner "will automatically be accepted" for the NIGR. “The
program takes an in-depth look at federal records of genealogical value
located primarily in the Washington, DC area.” Download the application
form at the website.
Oral History Training InstituteOhio Humanities
Council471 E. Broad Street #1620Columbus, OH 43215Tel.
614-461-7802 or 800-293-9774
Open to "paid staff and dedicated
volunteers from local historical organizations, libraries, schools, and
colleges and universities, and civic groups" who seek formal training in
oral history, this institute will be held at Kenyon College in Gambier,
Ohio, June 7-9, 2005. Participants receive an "intensive three-day
introduction to the theory and practice of oral history." Ohio residents
may apply for scholarships of $150 from the Ohio Humanities Council to
cover most of the institute fee. More information and application form
at the website.
Brigham Young University Continuing Education136
Harman Continuing Education BuildingBrigham Young UniversityProvo,
Family history-related conferences that offer scholarships include
the Computerized Genealogy Conference (held in March) and the Genealogy
and Family History Conference (held in August). Contact the Continuing
Education program directly for the scholarship application form. Award
Fellowships and Grants
If you have a
specific project in mind or underway, you may be seeking funds to
facilitate your work. Many research collections (and even some
individuals and other organizations) offer grants and fellowships for
these purposes. Here are some examples:
University Institute for Oral History Research FellowshipRebecca
Sharpless, DirectorInstitute for Oral HistoryBaylor UniversityOne
Bear Place #97271Waco, TX 76798-7271
This fellowship program
enables scholars an opportunity to work with oral history materials in
Baylor's Texas Collection special library, which has particular
strengths in Central Texas history and in religion in the Southwest. An
online "Guide to the Collection" provides more details to
topics in Baylor's oral history collection. The fellowship provides a
stipend of $3,000 plus office space and computer support in the
Institute for Oral History. The fellow is expected to spend at least two
weeks researching at Baylor. More information is available at the
Seth and Mary Hinshaw Fellowshipc/o Gwen Gosney
EricksonLibrarian and College ArchivistFriends Historical
CollectionGuilford College5800 W. Friendly AvenueGreensboro,
Sponsored by the North Carolina Friends Historical
Society, this award offers up to $2,000 to facilitate research at the
Friends Historical Collection "to study an aspect of Southern Quaker
history." According to the posted fellowship notice, it is expected that
"the most competitive applications will involve innovative projects of
the many concerns to which Friends have turned their attention,
including literature, women's issues, family history, and race
relations, as well as religious doctrine and controversies." Additional
information and application instructions are available at the website.
Our Ancestors Genealogical GrantsHonoringourancestors.com
may know Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak from her genealogical writing and
research. You may not know that she also offers grants, each month, to
genealogical societies, libraries, and individuals. Check her website to
see examples of projects that have won awards, and to submit your own
Donald Mosher Awardc/o Merrill Hill Mosher, CG90286
Cape Arago HighwayCoos Bay, OR 97420
Honoring the memory of
Donald Mosher, this award provides a $500 grant to facilitate research
on Virginia families. Projects may fall within one of three broad
categories (family genealogy; studies that focus on immigrant origins;
publication plans that will make available previously unpublished
records from 1600s or 1700s Virginia). See the website for full
information and application tips.
from Historical Societies, Archives, and Museums
historical societies, archives, and museums offer funding to help
facilitate research in their collections.
You'll find a good list
of state libraries at the Library
of Congress's State Libraries page. The Indiana Historical Society
maintains another very useful directory, with a comprehensive
list of historical societies.
Here's a sampling of programs
you'll find by checking the institutions listed at these sites:
A. Cate, Jr. Annual Research FellowshipVermont Historical
Society60 Washington StreetBarre, VT 05641-4209Tel.
This annual $1,200 fellowship honors the Society's
former director, Weston A. Cate, Jr., and is intended to encourage
original research in Vermont history. The Fellow's research should
result in a paper to be considered for publication in Vermont History
magazine, or in another form that may be exhibited or viewed publicly.
The annual deadline is the third Friday in March; contact the Society
for updated fellowship guidelines and application form.
K. and Mary E. Cunningham Research Residency Program in New York State
History and Culture New York State LibraryCultural Education
CenterAlbany, NY 12230Tel. 518-402-5437
As a depository
for both New York State and Federal Government documents, the New York
State Library "has extensive holdings in state and local history and
genealogy." The Cunningham Research Residency Program is open to
"academic and public historians, graduate students, independent
researchers and writers and primary and secondary school teachers." The
program includes four awards of $1,000 plus access to photoduplication
and other Library services. More information and an online application
are available at the website.
Historical Society Fellowships1154 Boylston StreetBoston, MA
The Massachusetts Historical
Society administers many fellowship opportunities, including a program
of "short-term research fellowships" whose typical applicants "include
but are not limited to independent scholars, advanced graduate students,
and college and university faculty in all disciplines." Other
fellowship programs include specific opportunities for K-12 teachers and
E. Geoffrey and Elizabeth Thayer Verney Fellowship
(Click on "Research Assistance")Nantucket Historical AssociationAttn:
Georgen Gilliam Charnes, Curator of Library & ArchivesPO Box
1016Nantucket, MA 02554-1016
The Nantucket Historical
Association's Research Library's collection "contains more than 5,000
volumes and 45,000 photographs, as well as, archival documents such as
ship's logs, account books, family papers, and scrapbooks." The Verney
Fellowship supports research in the Association's collections and other
local repositories; it is open to "academics, graduate students, and
independent scholars." The Fellow receives housing for up to three
weeks, a stipend of $300 per week while in residence, and travel
expenses up to $600. The Fellow is expected to produce an article
appropriate for publication in Historic Nantucket, the
Association's quarterly journal. More information and application
instructions are available at the website.
Erika Dreifus (Ed.M.,
M.F.A., Ph.D.) earned her doctorate in history from Harvard University.
Her articles on family history research have appeared in Ancestry,
Family Chronicle, and Family Tree Magazine’s Trace Your
Family History. Visit her website at http://www.practicing-writer.com/