ELIGIBILITY: The contest is open to all members of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, Inc. (MSOG), except those members who are acting as judges for the contest.

ORIGINALITY: All entries submitted must be original (that is, not previously published) material in the field of genealogy or family history. If an author submits the same entry concurrently to another contest or to another publication, resulting in prior publication of the submission elsewhere, condition of acceptance rests with the MASSOG Editorial Board. If accepted, the author must obtain permission to reprint and expect editorial changes.

DEADLINE: Deadline for submissions has been extended to August 28, 2016. Submissions to the 2016 MASSOG Writing Contest are to be sent to writingcontest@msoginc.org. You should receive a confirmation within 24-48 hours. If not, please send a follow-up email to confirm your entry has been received.

TOPICS: The entry should cover no more than three generations of a family. Submissions could be a three-generation family study, tell an interesting story about parents and children, or provide a brief solution to a genealogical problem. The entry must not contain vital data for living persons.

MASSACHUSETTS CONNECTION: There is no geographic restriction on the content, although the entry should have some relationship to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Although all submissions may be published in MASSOG, the Editorial Board reserves the right to negotiate publication of non-Massachusetts-related entries with the submitter.

JUDGING: A judging committee will select the winning entries based on accuracy of documentation and clarity of interpretation. As we use “blind judging,” the submitter’s name should not appear on the entry. The person submitting the entry should attach the entry to an email that includes the title of the entry and all contact information—address, telephone number, and email address.

FORMAT, STYLE, and LENGTH: The entry must be typed or computer generated using
12-point Times New Roman. Although your final article may be longer after you work with MASSOG editors, your submission should not exceed twelve pages, including footnotes.

The entry should conform to current standards of documentation, meaning that every fact should have a source, cited as in the references listed below. If it is a genealogical compilation rather than a straight narrative, it should use Register style. See the online guidelines for submission to MASSOG under MASSOG Submission Guidelines at the MSOG website, www.msoginc.org.

PERMISSIONS: Contestants who include “substantial portions” of secondary sources in their entries, or who are submitting photographs or artwork that is not original, must secure all permissions of use in advance. Photocopies of all permissions for any part of a work (beyond that considered “fair use,” i.e., a short quotation identified in a footnote) held by another copyright holder must be submitted electronically along with the entry. This includes, yet is not limited to, the published works of living authors, researchers, photographers, artists, or publishers, whose works are still on the market. For works of deceased authors, a letter from the copyright holder granting permission to reprint these items is necessary before publication in MASSOG.

REFERENCES: Free helpful material can be found on the Register page on the NEHGS website, AmericanAncestors.org. From related links, choose especially:

“Writing a Family Sketch in Register Style”

“Download a Register Style Template for Microsoft Word”

Much of the material also appears in Guide to Genealogical Writing by Penelope L. Stratton and Henry B. Hoff, CG, FASG, published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society in 2014. That work includes sample citation formats.

See MASSOG Submission Guidelines on the MSOG website. MSOG further recommends:

Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian or Evidence Explained, both by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

The Chicago Manual of Style is a good reference for questions on writing style and technology.

COPYRIGHT: All submissions are protected under the umbrella copyright of MASSOG. In addition, the authors will retain full rights to their material, whether it is print or electronic, should they wish to reprint it elsewhere or include it as part of a longer work at a later time. Subsequent republication must cite MASSOG. Winners of the contest agree to be published in MASSOG, print and electronic versions, by signing an author’s release prior to publication of their entry.

ACCURACY OF CONTENT: The Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, Inc., and the MASSOG Editorial Board assume no responsibility for the accuracy of content provided by the researchers or writers of any entry. The responsibility for accuracy of the submission remains with the author. Should editing be required, authors will be consulted.

In summary, these rules are intended to protect the intellectual property of the original authors, as well as MSOG and MASSOG; to promote original research and writing; and to avoid infringement of existing copyrights. We also want to encourage submissions from writers who can add fresh research to the genealogical record.

Winning entries will be formally announced at the MSOG Annual Meeting in 2016.