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2023 NAGS Writing Contest


We are excited to announce the winners of the 2023 Northwest Arkansas Genealogical Society Writing Contest. Congratulations to the following individuals:


🥇1st Place - “Bert Foreman” by David Todd

🥈2nd Place - “Chan China Roots Journal” by Ron Chan

🥉3rd Place - “She Deserves to be Found and Named” by Shirley Sutton


You will all have a chance to read their winning entries in upcoming issues of The Backtracker starting with David Todd’s story in our spring issue out in May.


Thank you to everyone who submitted entries to the contest. We look forward to hosting another writing contest this year. Details will be announced to our members via email, on our website and on Facebook.

Deadline: December 31, 2023

Email your submission to with “2023 NAGS Writing Contest” written in the subject line.

The Northwest Arkansas Genealogical Society has worked for over 50 years to help researchers build their trees and discover the stories of their ancestors. We are excited to host our 2nd annual writing competition with a new prompt to inspire your research.

Prompt: Describe how you overcame a brick wall in your research


All family historians encounter a brick wall in their genealogy research at some point. We want to hear your most creative solutions to overcoming a brick wall in your family tree. Please be as descriptive as possible by giving us some background information on your research, the problem you encountered, the methods you tried but may not have worked, and then finally, the solution.

Entries will be graded based on the following criteria:

  1. Fulfills the writing prompt

  2. Quality of writing: Piece is clear, informative and well organized

  3. Quality of research: Piece is detailed, includes historical context, appears to be accurate with sources and citations

  4. Creativity: Piece uniquely pulls sourced information into a thought-provoking narrative



Eligibility: All family historians and genealogists, except the Northwest Arkansas Genealogical Society board and judges, are invited to submit their favorite story for the contest. There is no entry fee. Membership in NAGS and Arkansas residency are not required.

Length: Stories should be no longer than 2000 words in length. Source citations, family group sheets / pedigree charts and photos (with captions) are encouraged but not required. Citations, charts and photo descriptions will not be included in the word count.

Format: Entries must be submitted in Microsoft Word format (.doc). If you include photographs, charts, or graphics within your document, please also attach them separately as high resolution jpeg files.

Legal: Please only send original writing to us. Do not plagiarize or paraphrase someone else’s work. We also ask that you avoid writing about people who are living. By submitting stories, authors are giving Northwest Arkansas Genealogical Society one-time print & digital rights and are aware that submission will be edited by the Northwest Arkansas Genealogical Society staff prior to printing; copyright is retained by the author. Entries may not have been previously published.

Identification: Include the story title, your name, mailing address, phone number, and approximate word count in the body of the email. Contact information will only be used to identify and notify the winners.



1st prize: 6 month U.S.Ancestry membership and 1 year membership to NAGS

2nd prize: Ancestry DNA test + 1 year membership to NAGS

3rd prize: 1 year membership to NAGS

Winning entries will be published in future issues of The Backtracker

Winners will be announced at our February meeting in 2024. We will also publish the winners on our Facebook page and our website

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