Biennial Competition

Biennial Competition

Biennial Competition

The North of Ireland Family History Society (NIFHS) runs a competition every other year for its Members.  Organised by the Belfast Branch for all Members of the Society, it attracts entries from Members around the world.  The purpose of the competition is to encourage people to write up at least part of their family history rather than just construct a family tree.  Many of the articles have subsequently been published in the Society’s journal, North Irish Roots.

Family stories bring a family tree to life. They give personality and character to individuals that were previously just names, dates and places. They can look at the family unit rather than just the individuals within it. They can recall the joys they experienced and the tragedies they had to deal with, the events that made them into the people they were. They allow us to connect with and understand our ancestors and relatives and give us something that can be passed on to those that follow.



2021 – Family Memories

Reading TogetherThe theme of the 2021 Competition is ‘Family Memories’. They can be your own personal memories of your life and that of your family. They can be based on an interview with elderly relatives recalling their lifetime memories. They can be pieced together from family letters and other documents and family heirlooms. Use the competition as a way of recording family memories for posterity – as time passes the details may become hazier – or use it as an opportunity to talk to parents, aunts, uncles or grandparents about their memories before it is too late. Get them to look through family photographs, remember family events, identify individuals and recall their characters and information about their lives.

The competition is open to all NIFHS Members and the winner will receive £100 with the runners up receiving £60 and £40.  The results will be announced at the Society AGM in September 2021.


Terms and Conditions

  1. The competition is open to all fully paid up members of the North of Ireland Family History Society.
  2. The entry must relate to your personal family history research and you must cite the source of each fact.
  3. The document should be no more than 2,500 words in length. It may contain maps, photographs and other illustrations to add interest (each of these counts as 100 words towards the total) and lists of family members should be limited to what will be of interest to the general reader.
  4. The judging panel will be appointed by the Committee of the Belfast Branch who are the competition sponsors, and will include an independent panel member.  No member of the judging panel will be permitted to submit an entry.
  5. The evaluation criteria will be:
    1. Genealogical content (reporting of the history of the family, important life events, etc.) – 50 marks
    2. Quality of presentation (uniqueness, creativity in telling the story, quality of writing) – 50 marks
  6. The winner will receive £100 with second and third prizewinners receiving £60 and £40 respectively. The panel may decide not to award a prize.
  7. Entries will not be returned and contestants must consent to the Society making the article available as a reference resource, which may include publication in North Irish Roots and on the Internet. Consequently, the author must own the copyright of all material, including illustrations, or else have permission from the copyright owner to republish the material.
  8. Entries must be e-mailed to anne.johnston33@gmail.com by Friday 28th May 2021 and the following information must accompany each entry:
    Name, Membership Number, Address, Telephone Number and a contact E-mail Address.
  9. The entry must not be in pdf format because it is much more difficult to re-format it for subsequent publication in North Irish Roots.

Previous Competitions

  • 2019:  Scandal Surprise Shock
  • 2016:  My Family Odyssey
  • 2014:  Occupations in my Family
  • 2012:  Life in my Townland through the Eyes of my Ancestors
  • 2010:  My Eight Great Grandparents
  • 2008:  Memories
  • 2006:  My Family History Research

See more information about these previous Competitions.