Suzanne Johnston Memorial Scholarship

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, so this scholarship is a fitting way to honor her memory.

This Suzanne Johnston Memorial Scholarship is open only to current WPGS members (you can join here or renew your membership). To be considered, members must write a 250-400 word statement explaining how attendance at the conference they have chosen will benefit their family history research. Download the application form. The deadline for receipt of this Application Submission for 2023 conferences is December 1, 2022. it your completed application to or mail to: 

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

2022 Winners: Since the pandemic has taken a toll on the availability of the WPGS resources, we have decided to award two scholarships this year – one for $250 and one for $150.  The full scholarship winner is Erica Curtis, Member #8397. Erica plans to enroll in Walking in Penn’s Woods: Pennsylvania Research, a course at the upcoming Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP.) This course will directly benefit her paternal family research into the Cousins family, for which she is currently preparing a WPGS First Families of Western Pennsylvania application. Now that she has moved back to Pennsylvania and more archives, societies, and libraries are hosting researchers again, she is committed to improving her in-person archival research skills to find necessary documentation for her First Families application. She is hoping to leverage this class on the intricacies of Pennsylvania church, land, and taxation records to establish the parentage of your 4th great-grandfather, Isaac Cousins (1787-1875) of Armstrong County.

The second award goes to Cynthia Steinhoff, Member #8344. Her application states that she plans to attend Beyond Name and Date: Advanced Practices in Social History, also offered at GRIP.  Cynthia described how her maternal and paternal ancestors arrived in Somerset and Westmoreland Counties between 1770 and 1840 and that eight of the ten children in her father’s family lived their entire lives within eight miles of their birthplace in Westmoreland County. She hopes to add more social history about her ancestors. She also looks forward to learning how to “think like a historian” after all these years of thinking like a librarian – her profession for more than 40 years – and a genealogist!

Congratulation to both winners this year!

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.