Seton Shields* Genealogy Grants

222 grants awarded since May 2000!

After 20 years beginning in 2000 and a total of 222 grants, I decided it was a fitting time in 2020 to wrap up the Seton Shields Genealogical Grant program (something about all those 2s and 0s appealed to me!), so no further applications will be accepted. It's been my pleasure to play a small part in supporting a variety of projects spearheaded by genealogical societies, local and specialized libraries, and avid genealogists around the world these past two decades. If you've got a few minutes, please consider perusing the recipients below and on linked pages as many have worthy endeavors still worthy of the support of fellow genealogists. Thanks!

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 access or buy appropriate research resources, acquire computers and other equipment, get collected information into print, digitized, and/or online, 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 here and in this Wall Street Journal article.

Current Seton Shields Genealogy Grants

April - June 2020

I’m happy to announce that the 222nd (and final!) grant has been awarded to Rosie Rowley. Grant funds will be used to buy a portable scanner with a document feeder to assist with the creation of a digital index of local newspapers on cards.
I’m delighted to announce that the 221st grant has been awarded to Olivia Dorsey of Digital Black History. Grant funds will be used to help cover the costs of running the Digital Black History website.



January - March 2020

Trish Hackett Nicola of has been awarded the second of two grants in Q1 2020. Grant funds will be used to help cover the costs of running the ChineseExclusionFiles website.
The first of two grants in Q1 of 2020 has been awarded to Nicka Sewell-Smith of BlackProGen LIVE. Funds will help to cover the costs of the platform used to host twice monthly live broadcasts.



October - December 2019

The second of two grants in Q4 of 2019 was awarded to the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. Funds will assist with an oral history initiative the Center is kicking off this year.
The first of two grants in Q4 of 2019 was awarded to Tami Mize of, where you'll find a fabulous free online calendar of genealogy events organized by date and location.



* 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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