2025 Suzanne Johnston Memorial Scholarship

Deadline December 31, 2024.

Suzanne Johnston

The Suzanne Johnston Memorial Scholarship is a yearly award of up to $250 to a current WPGS member to assist with the cost of attendance at a local, regional, national. or virtual genealogy conference. Suzie passed away in 2019 after 44 years of WPGS volunteering, serving as a Board member, chairperson of several committees, First Families reviewer, and genealogical researcher extraordinaire. She studied new techniques to not only further her own research but to assist others, making this scholarship a fitting way to honor her memory.

The Scholarship, only available to current WPGS members (you can join here), has awarded every year since its creation. To be considered, members must write a 250-400 word statement explaining how attendance at their chosen conference will benefit their family history research. Consider the following suggestions for your application:

  • Describe why you chose this particular conference. Was it the speakers? The syllabus? The location?
  • Explain how you expect that this conference will help in your family history research.
  • Describe how this conference might aid in a research issue specific to Western Pennsylvania, if any.
  • If you chose this conference because it offered information you could not get elsewhere, explain your reasoning.
  • Briefly describe your genealogical training to-date (if any). This may be a separate document and does not need to be included in the word count.

Please make your response readable, using proper grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure, and stay within the required word limit.

Download the application form. The deadline for receipt of this Application Submission for 2025 conferences is December 31, 2024. Submit your completed application via PDF to scholarship@wpgs.org or mail to: 

Scholarship Committee
Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Third Floor, Pittsburgh, PA  15213-4007  

2024 Winners: In honor of WPGS’ 50th year, we have awarded a regular scholarship as well as one to the 50th conference. Trish Buben has always had a passion for the people and stories of the past. With a bachelor’s degree in history, she is now focusing her efforts on genealogy. She is currently enrolled in ProGen and is planning to attend the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) this summer to learn about the Fundamentals of DNA for Genealogists. Susan Rogers has been researching her family history for fourteen years and now teaches genealogy classes for the Sierra College OLLI program. She is retired from a 40-year career in marketing communications and has lived with her husband and son in the Sierra foothills of Grass Valley, California for 23 years. She is thrilled to come to the conference in person.

2023 Winner: Lindsay Downs is the recipient of the 2023 Suzanne Johnston Memorial Scholarship. Lindsay plans to use the scholarship to enroll in Mastering Genealogical Documentation at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh in June 2023. As a self-taught genealogist, Lindsay is working on more formal education to enhance her skills to eventually pursue genealogy as a career. As one of the editors of the Quarterly, Lindsay also hopes to apply what she learns about genealogical documentation to the work she does helping authors ensure their articles meet WPGS’ standards for evidence.

2022 Winners: Since the pandemic has taken a toll on the availability of the WPGS resources, we have decided to award two scholarships. The full $250 scholarship winner is Erica Curtis, Member #8397. Erica enrolled in Walking in Penn’s Woods: Pennsylvania Research, a course at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP.) The second award for $150 went to Cynthia Steinhoff, Member #8344 to attend Beyond Name and Date: Advanced Practices in Social History, also offered at GRIP.  

2021 Winner: Laura Cubbage-Draper, a WPGS member from Metuchen, New Jersey, was awarded the 2021 Suzanne Johnston Memorial Scholarship. She chose the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, January 20-15, 2021 and since she was previously registered, she was reimbursed by check for the $250 award.