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Minnesota Genealogical Society

MGS Publications

MGS eNewsletterMGS eNewsletter
The Minnesota Genealogical Society sends out a monthly e-newsletter to all MGS members, and those that wish to sign up on our website. The newsletter is sent out on the first of each month, with an educational newsletter sent mid-month. 
The newsletter will keep you up-to-date on upcoming MGS programs and events, as well as news of MGS's interest groups, branches, and affiliates.  If you have information about upcoming MGS, interest groups, branch, or affiliate events, please contact the newsletter editor at newsletter@mngs.org.
News items for the next month should be sent to the editor by the 25th of the month.
The newsletter is not an appropriate place for essays or research articles. Please review the writer's guidelines for our quarterly journal, Minnesota Genealogist, to determine if your article might be a candidate for publication in the journal.
We invite you to subscribe at no cost. You can unsubscribe at any time, by clicking on the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of each newsletter.

MGS Journal CoverMGS Journal—Minnesota Genealogist
Minnesota Genealogist is the quarterly educational journal of the Minnesota Genealogical Society. View a sample of our Journal. Most past issues from 1971 to 2019 are available to Members, once logged in. Look for the Minnesota Genealogist sublink, under "Members Login" in the menu bar to the left. For unknown reasons, issues may not display chronologically.
Managing Editors:
J. H. Fonkert, Elizabeth Gomoll, Robert Johnson
Design and Layout Editor:
 Megan McLean
Proofreaders: Melva Cain
Laura Hampton Lathrop
Laurel Means
Sandy Stadtherr
Submission Deadlines
Spring Issue:
January 1
Summer Issue:
April 1
Fall Issue:
July 1
Winter Issue:
October 1
Writer guidelines
The Minnesota Genealogical Society invites you to submit research articles, essays and reviews for publication in Minnesota Genealogist.
Minnesota Genealogist welcomes several kinds of articles:
  • Research reports - articles reporting findings of genealogical research, with documented sources. We especially invite articles about families with Upper Midwest connections, but welcome well-researched articles with other geographic focuses. Preferred length: 2,000-4,000 words.
  • Problem-solving articles - articles that state a genealogical problem and show the techniques used to solve the problem. These articles should describe a researcher's path of discovery, including what the researcher knew at the outset, how one piece of information led to another, and how a conclusion was drawn. Preferred length: 1,000 to 3,000 words.
  • Family history memoirs - articles about Minnesota ancestors who have interesting life stories.
  • Family history heritage travel stories - articles describing trips to ancestral sites; stories should include advice on planning a trip, how to find ancestral sites, and how to use travel to advance genealogical research; preferred length: 500 to 1,500 words.
  • Personal essays - articles giving a writer's unique viewpoints on topics related to family history and genealogy. Preferred length: 500-2,000 words.
  • Genealogical source guides describing how to find new or under-utilized genealogical sources; preferred length: 500 to 1,500 words.
  • Technology and software reviews describing hardware or software for research, writing, image management, and other genealogical activities; preferred length: 500 to 1,500 words.
  • Book reviews summarizing and evaluating books of interest to genealogists and family historians; preferred length: 300 to 750 words.
Submission instructions
Submit digital files via email to: journal@mngs.org. Please follow the instructions below.
  1. Read all instructions before submitting your article.
  2. Write your article using a word-processing program that produces files usable in Microsoft Word. Files in .doc or .docx format are preferred. Please use a descriptive file name such as "yourlastname Grandpa Henry 4July2011." (article by yourlastname titled Grandpa Henry submitted 4 July 2011).
  3. At the front of your article, give your full name, postal address, phone number and email address, as well as a short biographical statement (50-75 words).
  4. Use single line-spacing; double-space between paragraphs.
  5. Do not indent the first-line of paragraphs or use any special line formatting such as "hanging indents."
  6. Do not right-justify text.
  7. Avoid unnecessary formatting (such as boldface and multiple fonts); the editors will determine the format of your article.
  8. Use bolded section headings or paragraph headings to help the reader follow the flow of your article.
  9. Use footnotes or endnotes to cite sources for statements of facts that are not general knowledge or to attribute ideas or information from other sources. In Word, use "insert reference" to automatically create and number notes (this will create a new note number for every citation). Use consecutively number notes. Use only one endnote or footnote for each documented fact.
  10. Do not use superscripted source numbers linked to a numbered source list at the end of the article.
  11. Submit images, tables or maps in separate files; give each file a descriptive file name such as "yourlastname image1." Unless asked, do not send paper copies of articles or photographs. Append a list of photos or other images with proposed captions at the end of the article.
Tips for writers
We do not expect our authors to be professional writers; our editors are here to help, with the goal of making you look good to your readers. We do not expect you to have a style manual or Evidence Explained at your fingertips, but we do urge you to keep a dictionary handy. Do not let the fear of making a mistake keep you from writing; if you have a good story, we will help you fix the grammar and style.
The writer should use a writing style with which he or she is comfortable. Research reports, problem-solving articles, and reviews require a more formal, more technical style of writing, usually in third person voice. Memoirs, personal essays, and travel stories may be more casual, or even conversational, and may be written in first-person voice.
Minnesota Genealogist uses the most recent edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition, as the arbiter on most matters of punctuation, grammar, and usage. Writers are not expected to be familiar with the hundreds of topics covered by CMOS - the editors will help get your article in shape for publication. However, writers are encouraged to make use of the following tips for good writing.
  • Spelling: Spell-check your document; consult a recent dictionary when in doubt. Do not expect the editor to correct your spelling.
  • Citations: Refer to Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained. Citations are an art, not a science - variations in the format are permissible, but use consistent form within your document. Provide enough information that readers can evaluate the source and find the source if they wish to view it for themselves. Remember: anything that is not general knowledge should have a source citation. Citations should include complete biographical information, including page numbers.
  • Formatting: Please do not include special formatting in your file. Use bold-face type only for section headlines or paragraph headings. Use italics only when essential. Extra formatting makes it more difficult for others to work with your file.
  • Verbs: Make sure verbs match your subjects in tense, person, and number. Avoid passive voice. Use sentences in which a subject does something. 
    Say: "The census record showed that Grandpa was born in Germany."
    Don't say: "Grandpa's birth record was shown as Germany by the census record.
  • Numbers: Spell-out numbers under 10. Consult the Chicago Manual of Style for details.
  • Dates: Unless you are using a direct quote from another document, use the standard genealogical form: "21 June 2010." Do not use "June 21, 2010."
  • Abbreviations: Avoid abbreviations. Do not use postal state abbreviations (MN), except in postal addresses. Rather, use standard abbreviations: e.g., Minn., Ia., Mich., Wisc. or Wis.
More writing tips
  1. Don't be afraid to use commas to separate items in a list or to help the reader know when phrases end or begin. If you would pause in the conversation, consider using a comma.
  2. Try to use the most appropriate preposition.
    He was born in St. Louis County.
    He was born at Miller Hospital in Duluth.
    He was born near Duluth.
    The mill was located at the narrowest point in the creek.
  3. Use "over" when describing position; use "more than" when comparing quantities.
    Say: "More than 200 Italians settled in the township."
    Don't say: "Over 200 Italians settled in the township."
    Say: "A flock of geese flew over the barn."
    An exception:
    Do say: "Uncle Jake was over 21 years old."
  4. Avoid excessive use of modifiers (especially: very, really).
    Say: "It was hot."
    If you want to emphasize how hot it was, say: "It was 104 degrees."
    Don't say: "It was very, very hot."
    Don't say: "He was really scared."
    Say: "He was so scared that he nearly fainted."
  5. Spell out "township" and "county," and spell out names of states and countries.
    Write: Denver, Arapahoe County, Colorado
    Don't write: Denver, Arapahoe Co., Co.
    Write: London, England
    Don't write: London, Eng.
Agreements and editing
If your article is accepted for publication, you will be asked to sign a writer's agreement giving MGS an exclusive one-year right to publish your article. You will retain copyright ownership.
All articles will be edited for style and length. The editing process includes four steps:
  1. The Managing Editor reviews submitted articles to determine if the content is suitable for Minnesota Genealogist.  Any article may be rejected. At this time, the Managing Editor may suggest that an author make revisions, including adjusting the length of the article, rearranging content, or substantiating and documenting facts. The Managing Editor will usually let authors know the status of their article within 60 days of submission.
  2. When the Managing Editor is satisfied that an article is in reasonable shape structurally, he or she will send the article to a copy editor for editing. The copy editor will do a careful edit to make the article read smoothly. This editing may include not only the correction of spelling and grammatical errors but also restructuring sentences or moving paragraphs. The goal is to make the article easy for readers to read, thereby giving readers an enjoyable reading experience and making the author look good.
  3. The Managing Editor will review all edits and make final decisions about copy.
  4. The article will be returned to the author for final review. It is the author's article. The edited article may not be published without the author's permission, but Minnesota Genealogist does not guarantee publication of the article if an author rejects suggested edits. At this time, a contract that protects the author's copyright and grants Minnesota Genealogist a license to publish will be sent to the author. The author is asked to review the article and return the contract within 72 hours.