Ancestry has established the AncestryProGenealogists Scholarship Program to foster and support professional genealogists in their ongoing development efforts. The scholarships, being awarded for the first time this year, will be awarded to four aspiring or practicing professional genealogists and cover certain expenses of attending one of four U.S.-based genealogical institutes.


2017 Winners


First Place

Jan Joyce Ahrens of Los Altos Hills, California, will be attending the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dr. Ahrens has researched her personal genealogy since 1998 focusing on the geographies of Ohio, Pennsylvania, England, and Norway. She is pursuing her genealogy education professionally to teach and write.

Second Place

Jennifer Stone Randolph of Hanover, New Hampshire, will be attending the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records in Washington, D.C. Ms. Randolph is the managing genealogist for Touchstone Genealogical Services, based in New Hampshire. Jennifer has over ten years’ experience in the field.

Third Place

Denyce Porter Peyton of Cincinnati, Ohio, will be attending the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research in Athens, Georgia. Ms. Peyton has engaged in genealogical research since 1994, working as a professional researcher since 2004. She serves a diverse clientele, including a specialty in African American research. Her geographic focus areas include Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and the southeastern states.

Fourth Place

Kristin Harms of Alpharetta, Georgia, will be attending the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy in Salt Lake City, Utah. Ms. Harms is a professional genealogist based just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. She has colonial roots in Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts, and immigrant ancestors from Germany, Switzerland, England, Scotland, and Ireland. She has been chasing the evidence of her ancestors’ lives for over 15 years.


The AncestryProGenealogists Scholarship Program will provide four scholarships that will cover tuition, round-trip standard economy airfare (Ancestry may substitute appropriate ground transportation for awardees who live within 300 miles of the applicable institute), and hotel expenses for one individual each to attend one of the four institutes listed below.  The scholarships will be awarded to qualified applicants who demonstrate a commitment to genealogy as a profession, a desire for professional development, and the ability to communicate that commitment in writing.


Genealogical Institute on Federal Records (Gen-Fed) Washington, D.C. July 10-14, 2017
Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) Pittsburgh, PA June 25-30, 2017 or July 16-21, 2017
Institute on Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR) Athens, GA July 23-28, 2017
Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) Salt Lake City, UT January 21-26, 2018

Abbreviated Rules

Applicants are asked to submit the following via mail or email:

  1. Name
  2. Mailing Address
  3. Email Address
  4. Phone Number
  5. Resume: Your current resume, irrespective of any genealogical experience.
    • Institute Preference: Rank the four U.S.-based genealogical institutes based on your preference for attendance, from highest (1) to lowest (4): Gen-Fed, GRIP, IGHR, or SLIG. For GRIP, IGHR, and SLIG, specify which course you would like to take.  Gen-Fed offers only one course.
  6. Essay
    • Describe your experience to date, aspirations as a genealogical professional, and how attending your top-choice institute/course will benefit your career.
    • Essay must be no less than 500 and no more than 700 words.

Qualifications and Limitations

  • Applicants must be aspiring or practicing professional genealogists.
  • Applicants must be at least the age of majority in their state of residence at time of entry.
  • Applicants must be residents of the 50 United States, and Washington D.C.  Void where prohibited by law, and void for residents of all U.S. overseas territories, commonwealths, possessions, and military locations.
  • Applicants may submit only one application for this year’s contest.
  • Winning applicants must know and have all pre-requisites for a course.  Please see the applicable institute’s website for information on courses and pre-requisites.
  • Scholarship is not available to employees of Ancestry, Alliance Sweepstakes, or any of their respective affiliated companies, their immediate family members or members of their households.

Recipient Responsibilities

  • Recipients, upon notification of scholarship award, must provide AncestryProGenealogists a current photograph and short biographical sketch (maximum 100 words) for publicity purposes.
  • To receive an award, recipients must sign and return an Affidavit of Eligibility, Liability and Publicity Release
  • Recipients are asked, upon completion of the institute, to provide AncestryProGenealogists a description of their institute experience (general information, key learnings, notable experiences, etc.), of 100 to 250 words, for publicity purposes.
  • Any scholarship funds received under this program are not excludable from a recipient’s income.  Accordingly, recipients are responsible for reporting and paying all applicable local, state, and/or federal income taxes. Winners will receive a Form 1099 for the applicable prize amount.