MSOG, Inc.
PO Box 215
Ashland, MA 01721-0215

2024 MASSOG Writing Contest Rules

The Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, Inc., was founded in 1975. The object of the Society is to promote interest in and provide education about the history of Massachusetts and the families who have played a part in it.
ELIGIBILITY: The contest is open to all members of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, Inc. (MSOG), except those members acting as judges for the contest. The contest is also open to nonmembers with a $10 submission fee. Please keep in mind that, for an additional $15, you can become a member of MSOG.
ORIGINALITY: All entries submitted must be original (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 should also expect editorial changes.
DEADLINE: Deadline for contest submissions is August 4, 2024. Submissions to the 2024 MASSOG Writing Contest should be sent to You should receive a confirmation within 24–48 hours. If not, please send a follow-up email to confirm your entry has been received.
JUDGING: A judging committee will select the winning entries based on the accuracy of documentation and clarity of interpretation. As we use “blind judging,” the submitter’s name must 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: We suggest that you follow the citation formats as found in MASSOG or the NEHGS Register. If you avoid the detailed citations shown in Evidence Explained, it will give you more room in the 12 allotted pages for your submission.
  • Have some relationship to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. (If the connection is not obvious, the submitter should explain it in the entry email or cover letter for consideration by the MASSOG Editorial Board.)
  • Present a three-generation family study, tell an interesting story about parents and children, or provide a brief solution to a genealogical problem.
  • Cover no more than three generations of a family (e.g., the subject, his/her parents, and his/her children).
  • Not contain vital data for living persons.
  • Be typed in a MS Word or similar electronic file—12-point, Times New Roman.
  • Not exceed 12 pages, including footnotes.
  • Include sources for every fact.
  • Use Register style for a genealogical compilation.
  • Include permissions for use of all photographs, artwork, and “substantial portions” of secondary sources.
REFERENCES: Free helpful material can be found on the Register page at the NEHGS website, News > NEHGS Register > Submission Guidelines; then scroll down to Writing Guidelines.
From related links, choose especially:
“Writing a Family Sketch in Register Style” “Download a Register-style template”
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. This work includes sample citation formats.
See also these MASSOG articles: “Citing Massachusetts Vital Records” in Vol. 45 (2020–2021), No. 2, and “Formatting Footnotes” in Vol. 42 (2017–2018), No. 2.
The Chicago Manual of Style is a good reference for questions on writing style and technology.
See the online guidelines for submission to MASSOG under Publications > MASSOG Submission Guidelines at the MSOG website,
COPYRIGHT: All submissions are protected under the umbrella copyright of MASSOG. In addition, authors 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, both print and electronic versions, by signing an author’s release prior to publication of their entries.
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.
Questions can always be directed to the editor at Winning entries will be formally announced at the MSOG Annual Meeting in 2024.
For nonmember entries, send a submission fee of $10 (or membership fee of $25) to the MSOG treasurer at Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, Inc., P.O. Box 215, Ashland, MA 01721.