Operations Inc. (“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.


The AncestryProGenealogists Scholarship Program will provide four scholarships that will cover tuition, round-trip economy travel (airfare, train, or bus), and hotel expenses for one individual each to attend one of the four institutes listed below, not to exceed $2,000 per selected recipient. 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 29-August 2, 2019
Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) Pittsburgh, PA June 23-28, 2019 OR
Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) Pittsburgh, PA July 14-19, 2019
Institute on Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) Athens, GA July 21-26, 2019
Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) Salt Lake City, UT January 12-17, 2020 OR
SLIG Academy for Professionals Salt Lake City, UT January 20-24, 2020

Abbreviated Rules

Applicants are asked to submit the following via the online application:

  • Name
  • Mailing Address
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number
  • 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.
  • Essay:
    • Describe your genealogy career up to this point, where you see yourself in the future as a professional genealogist, and how attending your top-choice institute will benefit your career.
    • Essay must be no less than 500 and no more than 700 words.

Entrants also have the option to send aforementioned items by mail to:

Scholarship Program
C/O AncestryProGenealogists
324 S. State St., Suite 100
Salt Lake City, UT 84111

Application form will be available October 1, 2018. Applications may be submitted on or after October 1, 2018. Electronic entries must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, November 30, 2018. Mailed items must be postmarked by November 30, 2018 and received no later than December 5, 2018. A panel of AncestryProGenealogist professionals will review and select by January 31, 2019, four winning essays from the pool of eligible entries. The Grand Prize winner will receive tuition to his or her first choice institute, plus travel and hotel costs, up to a maximum of $2,000. The Second, Third, and Fourth Prize winners will receive tuition, plus travel and hotel costs, up to $2,000 for each awardee, to their first choice institute, unless already chosen by a higher place awardee, in which case the next applicable and available choice will apply. The judges’ decisions with respect to the selection of the awardees and the interpretation of the Official Rules will be final. The names of the four selected recipients will be announced on by March 1, 2019. Official Rules available here.

By submitting your application, including any personal information contained therein, you attest that the information provided is true and correct and that the essay is original work by you. You also agree to be bound by the Official Rules and consent to the collection and use of your personal information in accordance with Ancestry’s Privacy Statement, available here, which provides in part that Ancestry or AncestryProGenealogists may contact you via the information you’ve provided for other future opportunities sponsored by Ancestry or AncestryProGenealogists. Please see the Official Rules before submitting your application.

Please direct inquires to

Application Timeline

Applications due November 30, 2018
Recipients notified on or after January 31, 2019
Announcements made March 1, 2019

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.

2018 Winners


First Place

Julie Cahill Tarr will be attending the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Julie is a professional genealogist, who provides research, writing, editing, and graphic design services to help clients discover and share their family history. An award-winning author, she also educates others on genealogy research techniques and methods by writing articles, guides, and course materials. Julie currently serves as the managing editor of FORUM, a quarterly magazine of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. Participating in the course You Be the Judge: A Practicum Using Standards to Evaluate Genealogical Work at GRIP will help Julie excel at her work as an editor, writer, and researcher.

Second Place

Laura Jones will be attending the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records in Washington, D.C. As a former Civil War reenactor, Laura Jones gained a deep appreciation for family lore, and while working towards her B.A. in history, she became interested in learning about her colonial ancestors.  For more than 20 years, Laura researched her own ancestors and those of many friends.  As her passion for genealogy grew, she expanded her expertise through webinars, conferences, and seminars.  In 2015, Laura founded Blue Tree Legacy to help clients discover their own lost history.  Seeing the wonder in her clients’ eyes when they discover an ancestor is a delight that never grows old.

Third Place

Peg A. Ivanyo will be attending the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research in Athens, Georgia. Peg is a meeting planner by trade and a genealogist, family historian by passion. She presently works as the director of the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG). She has previously served as a member of the Utah Genealogical Association Board of Directors, administrator of the Eastern European Family History Conference, member of the Springville Family History Center Training committee, and spent eight years teaching classes and consulting with local church members.

Fourth Place

Leah Larkin will be attending the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy in Salt Lake City, Utah. Leah Larkin is originally from southern Louisiana, where she grew up in the heart of Cajun country, steeped in culture and history.  She earned her Ph.D. in biology from the University of Texas at Austin, where she used DNA to study how species are related. After working in both academia and scientific publishing, she turned her skills to solving unknown parentage cases using DNA. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two children.


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.