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.

The 2023 Theme: ‘My Favourite Discovery in My Family History Research’

Uncovering new information about your family history can be a thrilling experience. It can bring a sense of connection to your ancestors, deepen your understanding of your family’s story, and reveal previously unknown details about your heritage. This journey of discovery often leads to further research and exploration, creating a sense of pride and a deeper sense of identity.

Researching your family history involves various activities such as accessing public records, connecting with relatives both in person and through genealogy websites and social media, searching for historical documents, analysing DNA, visiting historical sites related to your family’s history, and researching the geographical origins of your family.

The Society is hosting a competition to celebrate the stories of your most cherished family history discoveries. To enter, your discovery must relate to your ancestry from the North of Ireland, but it can have occurred anywhere in the world. The competition is open to all NIFHS Members, with the winner receiving a £100 prize and the runners up receiving £60 and £40. The results will be announced at the Society’s AGM in September 2023.

Terms and Conditions

The Rules are as follows:

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.
3. The document should be no more than 2,000 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. No member of the judging panel will be permitted to submit an entry.
5. The evaluation criteria will be:
          a. Genealogical content (reporting of the history of your family, important life events, etc. with sources and citations) – 50 marks
          b. Quality of presentation (uniqueness, creativity in telling the story, quality of writing) – 50 marks
6. The winner will receive £100 with second and third 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 the Competition Organiser at by Friday 26th May 2023. 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.

Any enquiries to Anne Johnstone at

Previous Competitions

  • 2021: Family Memories
  • 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.