Seton Shields* Genealogy Grants


193 grants awarded since May 2000!

What Do You Mean by "Genealogy Grants"?
Genealogical societies, local and specialized libraries, and avid genealogists are always short of the funds they need to buy appropriate books and CDs, acquire the necessary computers and peripherals, get collected information into print, and pursue other projects. I'd like to take a tiny step toward addressing this problem.

If you represent an organization which serves the genealogical community at large - or if you serve a smaller community (perhaps you produce a family newsletter, host a website, organize reunions or some such thing) -- and find yourself shy of necessary funds, please consider filling out the form below to apply for a small grant. I will review all submissions and periodically select one for a donation. My goal is one per quarter. Submissions will remain active candidates for six months from the date of receipt. Hint: I find myself drawn to innovative ideas that can serve as a model to others! Why not give it a go?

I'm just one person, so I can only give small amounts, but I'm operating on the optimistic principle that every little bit helps. For the few minutes it takes to complete this form, you may be able to buy that handful of books or that scanner that's been on your wish list for so long.

What's the Catch?
There is none. Honest. I have had so much fun with genealogy for three decades and have benefited from the help of countless other genealogists. Now it's my turn to give back to the genealogical community.

Read More about Megan's Seton Shields Genealogy Grant program in this Wall Street Journal article


Current Seton Shields Genealogy Grants


January - March 2016
This quarter, as all of the requests were modest, I'm awarding four grants – to the Morgan County Public Library, the Scott County Historical Society, Oak and Laurel Cemetery Preservation, and to support 'The Rising' film.

 Oak and Laurel Cemetery PreservationEmily Ford, of Oak and Laurel Cemetery Preservation, LLC, works to reunite families with their burial places and tombs in New Orleans Cemeteries.

The grant will assist with costs related to transcribing the records in interment books (located at Louisiana State University) for the tomb of the Société Française de Bienfaisance et D’Assistance Mutuelle, one of the largest structures in Lafayette Cemetery No. 2 in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans.

The tomb has no names inscribed upon it, so without these efforts to make the names of those buried in this tomb available to family researchers, who in turn can reconnect with their family burial place, those who are buried in this tomb will never be remembered and the tomb will eventually collapse from neglect. (Photo above, showing the tomb and its corresponding interment book is used with the permission of Emily Ford.)

The Scott County Historical Society of Indiana makes family history available to the community as a way to provide support and encouragement to a community dealing with some significant challenges. To this end, the grant will assist with purchase costs for a digital camera, digital voice recorder, CDs and CD cases.

The Rising'The Rising’ is a film-in-process that will dramatize the Easter Rising Rebellion, the heroic story of a revolution against the British Empire that led to the the birth of a nation, the Irish Republic. Liam Neeson's son, Micheal, is slated to play Michael Collins, the role played famously by his father two decades ago in the movie Michael Collins.

Morgan County Public libraryThe Morgan County Public Library houses a wonderful collection of family histories for Morgan County. Janice Kistler oversees requests for genealogy assistance and provides genealogy research when requested. The grant will assist with the purchase of a wand to scan photographs and documents for digitization and sharing online.



November - December 2015

Sequoia Genealogical Society
For the final quarter of 2015, I awarded a grant to the Sequoia Genealogical Society of Tulare, CA – an award which will effectively be doubled thanks to a matching initiative (love it when that happens!).

After the city decided it could not afford to have a paid genealogical librarian in the library’s genealogy research room and that if the room were to remain open, it would have to be run by volunteers, the Sequoia Genealogical Society stepped up to the job and even pays for all supplies needed to keep the room running. The library houses over 500 rolls of newspaper microfilm and the grant will assist with the costs of digitizing the rolls covering the years 1882-1922, which are no longer copyrighted. From these years, the newspaper microfilm to be digitized includes The Tulare Register, The Daily Evening Register, The Weekly Tulare Register, The Tulare Advance, and The Daily Tulare Register. You may also enjoy this newspaper article about the project.

Photo Credit: This photograph of microfilm rolls and of Society president, Lorene Clark, (left), providing a tutoring session is used with the kind permission of the Sequoia Genealogical Society.



August - October 2015

This quarter, as both requests were modest, I awarded two grants – one to Rich Custer and the other to the White Lake Area Historical Society.

Carpatho-Rusyns of Pennsylvania
Rich has invested a couple of decades traveling around gaining access to Rusyn records that would otherwise vanish, so he’s an amazing gift to the Carpatho-Rusyn community. The grant will assist with costs associated with a week-long research trip to archives in eastern Pennsylvania and northeastern New Jersey.
(Photo is used with the kind permission of Rich Custer.)

The White Lake Area Historical Society is dedicated to preserving their area history for future generations. The Society’s latest project is the creation of a series of books that will showcase area families and notable people, places, and events; the grant will help defray the initial costs associated with this project. The Society also has a collection of family banners, many of which are walked in the annual 4th of July parade, as shown in the photo, used with permission from the White Lake Area Historical Society.
White Lake Area Historical Society


Apply for a Grant

* Who is Seton Shields?
My remarkable mother. Naming this grants program after her is one small way to keep her memory alive, though she's no longer with us.


Seton Shields
Irish America - "Photo Album: The Shields Family" by Megan Smolenyak
and Irish America Digital Magazine [Page 96] - "My Irish Mother" by Megan Smolenyak








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