2016 Family History Story Writing Contest

All family historians and genealogists are invited to submit their favorite story for the contest.  There is no entry fee and OGS membership is not required.  Judges and their immediate families may not participate.

Entries will be accepted between January 1 and March 1, 2016.


  • Entries must be less than 2500 words, not including attached documents and citations.
  • Emailed and mailed submissions are accepted.  Mailed stories must be typed in a standard font and double-spaced on one side of 8.5" x 11" (letter size) paper.  When submitting via postal mail, ensure the entry form, story with endnotes and any pertinent documents are postmarked by March 1, 2016 (address page on form).  When submitting electronically, send the story as a Microsoft Word formatted file and the entry form as a separate file with OGS Writing Contest in subject line.  If images, pedigree charts or documentation are pertinent to the story, send them separately as tiff or jpeg files (300 dpi) and caption them appropriately.
  • Story title and page numbers must appear on each page, regardless of how you are submitting your story.
  • Your name shall not appear on any pages of the story.  All entries remain anonymous as judges review them.
  • The entry form must be completed in all fields or a submission is deemed incomplete and cannot be reviewed.
  • Your endnotes should indicate sound research of your topic and reflect appropriate citations as outlined in Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace (Elizabeth Shown Mills, ed., Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 2007 or later).  A copy of this book is available for browsers at the Oklahoma Historical Society Research Center.
  • Stories must be original and unpublished at time of entry.  By submitting your story, you are giving OGS permission to publish your story in online and print formats.
  • Multiple stories may be submitted, but only one per author will be awarded.  In case of a tie for a prize, the amount will be split between the winners of that prize.
  • Judges’ comments will be provided upon request.  Judging criteria is based on overall interest, accuracy with facts, author’s voice and language as well as writing mechanics (clarity, grammar, citation completeness).  The identity of the judges will remain confidential.
  • Helpful tips: Your family story should have a beginning, middle and an ending.  Focus on one event and write the whole story, from the beginning.  Start with action—grab your reader’s attention from the beginning using active passages, rather than a passive voice.  Edit carefully and consistently for grammar and spelling, as well as condensing long passages and cutting unnecessary words.  Spell out abbreviations the first time used.  Ask colleagues with strong writing skills to proofread your piece.  This website also provides guidance for writers: Online Writing Lab.

Entry Form:
Entry Form may be viewed, printed or downloaded here.

Keep the second page of the entry form for yourself.  Return the completed first page with your story at the January or February OGS meeting, or by US mail, postmarked by March 1, 2016 addressed as shown below.

Entries will not be returned unless received with a self-addressed, stamped envelope, or picked up at the awards ceremony.  A copy of the entry will be donated to the Oklahoma Historical Society Library and may be published in the Oklahoma Genealogical Society Quarterly.  By entering the contest, you automatically give permission for your story to be published, online and in print, and for information and photos concerning the winners to be published in local media.

Mail your entry to:
P.O. BOX 12986
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK 73157-2986

Questions or more information:
If you have questions or need more more information about the Family History Story Writing Contest, please address them to the Chairperson, Denise Slattery, at editor@okgensoc.org