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Rubincam Youth Writing Competition

The Rubincam Youth Writing Competition, hosted by the National Genealogical Society, recognizes young genealogists. It has two categories: junior (grades 6-8) and senior (grades 9-12). Winners receive cash prizes, plaques, and a one-year NGS membership. Open to students worldwide, NGS membership is not required.
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Rubincam Youth Writing Competition 1

Competition Overview

Grade 6 to 12
Entry fee
December 15
Submission deadline
Summer following the submission deadline
Results and winners annoucement

Competition Details

1. Introduction

In honor of Milton Rubincam, CG, FASG, FNGS, for his many years of service to the National Genealogical Society and the field of genealogy, the Rubincam Youth Writing Competition invites students to write about genealogy. Membership in the National Genealogical Society is not required. 

2. Competition Categories

The competition has two categories: junior (grades 6-8) and senior (grades 9-12)

3. Prizes

  • Senior Category: $500 cash prize, a plaque, and a one-year NGS membership (non-print). Presentation details of the winning submission may appear in NGS Magazine. 
  • Junior Category: $250 cash prize, a plaque, and a one-year NGS membership (non-print). Presentation details of the winning submission may appear in NGS Magazine. 

Submission Requirements

1. Junior Category

For the Junior Category, students are invited to write a biographical narrative essay about a principal individual in your family (male or female). The individual can be a biological or adoptive relative, foster parent, or guardian.

  • Step 1: Select and Interview a Family Member:Choose a family member you admire and respect to learn about their experience. Questions should cover name, residences, childhood memories, family, school, religion, holidays, and employment.
  • Step 2: Examine Family Heirlooms and Memorabilia
  • Step 3: Create a Timeline
  • Step 4: Write the Narrative Essay, highlighting information from steps 1-3, including relevant biographical information and timeline details. Don’t forget to highlight why this person is important to you.

Word Limit: 750 to 1200 words, four to five written pages.

2. Senior Category

For the Senior Category, submit a biographical narrative of one family line covering four generations, starting with yourself. Use a biological, adoptive, or foster parent, or guardian for the second generation. Include signed authorization letters from all living persons mentioned. Demonstrate understanding of various source records, and apply critical analysis. Contextualize your family’s history with relevant historical events and locations.

  • Step 1: Write a biography about yourself (with genealogical info and evidence)
  • Step 2: One parent (include stories and evidence).
  • Step 3: Grandparent (include stories and evidence).
  • Step 4: Great-grandparent (include stories and evidence).
  • Pedigree Chart: Four-generation chart starting with yourself.

Word Limit: 1000-1500 words each, up to 5 pages.

3. Submission Style

  • Typed on 8 ½ʺ x 11ʺ letter‐quality paper. Double‐spaced.
  • One‐inch margins on all sides.
  • Pages numbered consecutively, starting with the title (cover) page.
  • Format: Word or PDF document.

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