The National Genealogical Society Rubincam Youth Award: A Life-Changing Opportunity for Young Historians

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Female student reading old books.

The National Genealogical Society Rubincam Youth Award: A Life-Changing Opportunity for Young Historians

Do you have a burning passion for genealogy and a thirst for uncovering your family’s historical roots? If you’re a young history enthusiast, the National Genealogical Society Rubincam Youth Award presents an unparalleled opportunity to showcase your talent, gain recognition, and receive invaluable support to advance in the field of genealogy.

This prestigious award, established by the National Genealogical Society (NGS) in honor of the esteemed genealogist Milton Rubincam, aims to identify and celebrate young genealogists who demonstrate exceptional skills and dedication to genealogical research.

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The National Genealogical Society Rubincam Youth Award not only offers cash prizes and NGS memberships to the winners but also provides a platform for networking with fellow genealogists, historians, and organizations in the field. By participating in this competition, you will have the chance to refine your research skills, learn from the best, and potentially see your work published in prominent genealogical publications.

Don’t miss this life-changing opportunity to delve deeper into your family’s history and make your mark in the world of genealogy through the National Genealogical Society Rubincam Youth Award.

What is the Rubincam Youth Award?

The Rubincam Youth Award, established in 1986 by the National Genealogical Society (NGS), pays tribute to the enduring memory and impressive legacy of Milton Rubincam, a trailblazer among American genealogists.

With a career spanning more than six decades, Rubincam dedicated his life to the art and science of genealogical research, teaching, and writing. His immense knowledge, skills, and passion in the field not only earned him numerous accolades but also inspired generations of genealogists and historians who were fortunate enough to cross paths with him.

Milton Rubincam’s exceptional contributions to the field of genealogy have left an indelible mark on its landscape. In order to preserve his passion and extend the reach of his influence, the Rubincam Youth Award was conceived with a two-fold purpose.

Firstly, it seeks to ignite a fire in young people, encouraging them to explore the fascinating world of genealogy and hone their skills in research and analysis. Secondly, it aims to recognize and reward the tireless efforts of budding genealogists, inspiring them to strive for excellence and carry the torch lit by Rubincam and other notable figures in the field.

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The Rubincam Youth Award not only immortalizes Milton Rubincam’s impact on genealogy but also serves as a beacon for the next generation of genealogists, providing them with a platform to showcase their talents and develop their careers.

By fostering a sense of community and collaboration among young genealogists, the award carries forward the spirit of Rubincam’s work, ensuring that his legacy endures and continues to inspire generations to come.

The Rubincam Youth Award is more than just a competition; it is a testament to the timeless and universal appeal of genealogy, a field that transcends borders and cultures, drawing people together through the shared pursuit of understanding our past and preserving our heritage.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the esteemed Rubincam Youth Award, prospective applicants must fulfill specific eligibility criteria that ensure a fair and competitive evaluation process. These criteria include:

Age: The award features two distinct age categories to accommodate a wider range of young genealogy enthusiasts. The senior category targets applicants aged 16 to 18, while the junior category is designed for those under 16. By having separate categories, the National Genealogical Society ensures that submissions are assessed among peers of similar age and experience, allowing for a more equitable evaluation process.

Submission: A crucial component of eligibility is the submission of an original piece of genealogical research. Applicants must adhere to the guidelines and standards set forth by the NGS, which encompass proper citation, formatting, and evidence analysis. These stringent requirements ensure that submitted work meets the high-quality standards expected in genealogical research and accurately reflects the applicant’s skills, knowledge, and dedication to the field.

Membership: Recognizing that talent and passion for genealogy can be found beyond the society’s membership, the NGS does not require applicants to be members of the National Genealogical Society to apply for the Rubincam Youth Award. This inclusive approach allows for a broader pool of applicants, encouraging young genealogists from diverse backgrounds to participate in the competition.

Submission Guidelines

To maintain a fair and equitable evaluation process, the National Genealogical Society (NGS) has outlined specific submission guidelines that all applicants must adhere to. These guidelines emphasize the quality, accuracy, and presentation of the genealogical research, ensuring that all submissions meet the high standards expected in the field. The key requirements include:

Length: The submitted work should fall within a word count of at least 1000 to 1500 words with a minimum of three pages (for senior applicants) and 750 to 1200 words and four to five written pages (for junior applicants), providing ample space for applicants to showcase their research abilities and genealogical knowledge without being excessively lengthy or overly concise.

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Citations: Accurate and proper citation of sources is an essential aspect of genealogical research. Applicants must adhere to the citation standards set by the NGS and include a comprehensive bibliography that lists all the sources consulted during the research process. This demonstrates the applicant’s thoroughness and attention to detail in their research methodology.

Format: The submission must be typed, double-spaced, and submitted in either Word or PDF format. This standard formatting ensures that all entries are consistent in appearance and easy to read, allowing judges to focus on the content and analysis presented in the research.

Evidence: Applicants must provide a well-rounded analysis of primary and secondary sources to support their research conclusions. This demonstrates their ability to evaluate and interpret various types of evidence, as well as their skill in drawing well-supported conclusions based on the available data.

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Originality: The submitted work must be original, demonstrating the applicant’s own research, insights, and creativity. Previously published work or entries submitted for other awards are not eligible, ensuring that the competition remains fair and that each applicant’s submission reflects their unique perspective and abilities.

Language: All submissions must be in English, allowing for a consistent evaluation process and facilitating communication among applicants, judges, and the wider genealogical community.

Evaluation Process

The evaluation process for the Rubincam Youth Award is conducted by a panel of expert genealogists from the National Genealogical Society. These seasoned professionals assess the submissions based on their adherence to the submission guidelines and the overall quality of the research presented. The factors taken into consideration during the evaluation process include:

Accuracy: A vital aspect of any genealogical research is the accurate interpretation and analysis of historical records and documents. The judges look for submissions that demonstrate a high level of accuracy in handling these sources, ensuring that conclusions drawn from the research are reliable and well-founded.

Depth: The submitted research should exhibit a deep understanding of genealogical research methodologies, sources, and evidence analysis. This depth of understanding is crucial for developing a comprehensive and nuanced perspective on the family histories and lineages being studied. The judges assess the applicant’s ability to delve into the complexities of genealogical research, displaying expertise and mastery of the subject matter.

Presentation: The presentation of the research is a key factor in the evaluation process. Submissions should be well-organized and well-written, with clear and concise language that effectively communicates the research findings. Additionally, the research must follow the NGS citation and formatting standards, demonstrating the applicant’s attention to detail and adherence to professional guidelines.

Originality: The judges also consider the originality of the submission, seeking evidence of creativity and innovation in addressing genealogical research problems and presenting findings. This originality sets exceptional submissions apart and showcases the applicant’s ability to think critically and innovatively, offering fresh perspectives and insights in the field of genealogy.

By examining these factors, the panel of expert genealogists ensures that the evaluation process for the Rubincam Youth Award remains fair, rigorous, and focused on the key elements of high-quality genealogical research.

This comprehensive evaluation not only identifies the most deserving winners but also helps to cultivate and encourage a new generation of skilled genealogists, dedicated to advancing the field and uncovering the rich tapestry of our ancestors’ lives and stories.

What Benefits Come with Winning the Rubincam Youth Award?

The National Genealogical Society Rubincam Youth Award bestows a remarkable array of rewards and recognition upon its winners, significantly contributing to their personal and professional growth. These benefits include:

Cash Prizes: The award grants cash prizes to winners in both age categories, with seniors receiving $500 and juniors receiving $250. These monetary rewards can be strategically invested in advancing one’s genealogical education, procuring essential resources, or attending conferences and workshops to broaden one’s knowledge and network.

NGS Membership: As part of the winnings, recipients are awarded a one-year membership to the National Genealogical Society. This membership grants access to a comprehensive range of resources, webinars, and publications designed to deepen the understanding and skills of genealogy enthusiasts. It also offers opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals, fostering collaboration and a sense of community.

Publication Opportunities: In addition to the tangible rewards, winning submissions may be considered for publication in esteemed genealogical publications such as the NGS Magazine, NGSQ, or the NGS website. This exposure not only showcases the research capabilities of young genealogists but also helps them gain recognition within the genealogical community, bolstering their credibility and reputation.

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Certificate of Achievement: To further acknowledge their accomplishments, winners receive a personalized certificate that serves as a testament to their hard work, talent, and dedication. This certificate can be a valuable addition to their academic or professional portfolio, demonstrating their expertise in genealogical research.

Networking Opportunities: The prestige associated with winning the Rubincam Youth Award opens doors to networking with established genealogists, historians, and relevant organizations. These connections can pave the way for future collaborations, mentorship, and career opportunities, enabling young genealogists to thrive in the field and make their mark.

In all, the National Genealogical Society Rubincam Youth Award provides not only monetary incentives but also opportunities for personal and professional growth, recognition, and networking. Winning this prestigious award is a stepping stone toward a successful career in genealogy and an unmatched opportunity for young genealogists to shine in their chosen fields.

How Can You Participate in the Rubincam Youth Award?

If you’re ready to take the leap and apply for the prestigious Rubincam Youth Award, follow these comprehensive steps to ensure a successful application:

  • Begin by meticulously preparing your genealogical research according to the submission guidelines provided by the National Genealogical Society (NGS). This includes adhering to the required length, citation standards, formatting, and evidence analysis. Be sure to conduct thorough research, carefully examining both primary and secondary sources, and presenting well-supported conclusions that reflect your deep understanding of genealogical research methodologies.
  • Once your research is complete and polished, proceed to the National Genealogical Society website to access the official application form for the Rubincam Youth Award. Carefully read and follow the instructions on the form, providing all necessary personal and contact information, as well as any additional details required by the NGS.
  • With your application form completed, attach your research submission in either Word or PDF format, ensuring that it meets all the formatting and citation requirements outlined in the submission guidelines. This is a crucial step, as the presentation of your research is a key factor in the evaluation process.
  • Finally, submit your application and research by the specified deadline, which is typically in December.

It is essential to stay updated on specific dates and any changes in the application process each year by regularly checking the NGS website or subscribing to their newsletter. This will help you stay informed and submit your application on time.

Applying for the Rubincam Youth Award is a fantastic opportunity for young genealogists to showcase their skills, gain recognition, and advance in the field of genealogy. By following these steps and dedicating time and effort to your research, you will increase your chances of success and potentially join the ranks of previous award winners who have made significant contributions to genealogy.

Remember, this award is not only about winning; it’s also about learning, networking, and carrying on the legacy of Milton Rubincam by inspiring future generations to pursue their passion for genealogy.


The National Genealogical Society Rubincam Youth Award represents a prestigious and potentially life-altering opportunity for young genealogists and history enthusiasts. By participating in this esteemed competition, you open doors to a wealth of experiences that can shape your future as a historian and genealogist. Embarking on this journey, you will not only hone your research skills and learn from the best in the field, but you will also have the opportunity to gain recognition, financial support, and networking opportunities that can propel your career in genealogy.

This award fosters a sense of community and camaraderie among young genealogists, encouraging them to collaborate, learn from each other, and contribute to the collective knowledge of our ancestors’ lives and stories. By participating in the Rubincam Youth Award, you become part of this vibrant community of passionate researchers, eager to share their insights and support your growth as a genealogist.

The competition also serves as an unparalleled platform for personal and professional development. As you prepare your submission, you will be challenged to think critically, analyze historical sources meticulously, and present your findings coherently and persuasively. These valuable skills will not only enhance your genealogical research abilities but also prove beneficial in your academic and professional pursuits.

Winning the Rubincam Youth Award comes with numerous tangible and intangible rewards, including cash prizes, publication opportunities, and access to valuable resources through NGS membership. These benefits can significantly contribute to your growth and success in the field, as well as bolster your reputation and credibility as a genealogist.

Moreover, the networking opportunities that arise from participating in the competition can lead to lasting connections with other genealogists, historians, and organizations in the field. These relationships can pave the way for future collaborations, mentorships, and career opportunities, enabling you to thrive in the world of genealogy and make your mark.

Ultimately, the National Genealogical Society Rubincam Youth Award is a remarkable opportunity for young genealogists and history enthusiasts to challenge themselves, learn from experts, gain recognition, and expand their horizons. By participating in this competition, you are not only investing in your growth and success but also contributing to the rich tapestry of human history. So, unleash your passion for genealogy, embark on this exciting journey, and make your mark in history by applying for the Rubincam Youth Award today!

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