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.  The entries are assessed by the Officers of the Belfast Branch together with an independent assessor.  Half the marks are awarded for the genealogical content and half for the quality of the writing of the article.  Many of the articles have subsequently been published in the Society’s journal, North Irish Roots.

Biennial Competition 2018 – Scandal, Surprise, Shock

The theme of this year’s competition is ‘Scandal, Surprise, Shock’.  When we begin our family history research we concentrate on discovering our ancestors and building our family tree.  Our research becomes really interesting when we discover the stories that shed light on the lives of those people.  Many of those stories are unsurprising but nevertheless help to bring those ancestors back to life in our minds.  Every now and then we discover a story that surprises us or even shocks us.  A scandal a century or two ago would have been upsetting and embarrassing for all concerned but now, after such a long passage of time and when all those affected are no longer with us, that scandal can become a matter of interest – consider, for example, all those Australians who used to play down their descent from convicts but now treat it as a badge of honour.

NIFHS Competition 2018

What we want from you is an account of a surprise or a scandal or a shock that you have found in researching your family.  It should have happened sufficiently long ago that your account will not upset those who are still living.  Please note that, unlike previous competitions, this requires relatively short accounts – no more than 2,500 words with each illustration counting as 100 words. The competition is open to all NIFHS Members and the winner will receive £100 with the runners up receiving £60 and £40 which will be presented at the 2019 AGM. Entries are welcome from new Members of the Society. Details of Membership are available.

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 consist of the office bearers of the Belfast Branch who are the competition sponsors, together with an independent panel member.  No member of the judging panel will be permitted to submit an entry.  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
  5. The winner will receive £100 with second and third receiving £60 and £40 respectively.
  6. 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.
  7. Entries must be e-mailed to by Tuesday 30th April 2019 and the following information must accompany each entry: Name, Membership Number, Address, Telephone Number and a contact E-mail Address.
  8. Do not send your entry in pdf format because it is much more difficult to re-format it for subsequent publication in North Irish Roots.

Previous Competitions

  • 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.