And the winners are...

And the winners are…

There’s a little badge on this page immediately to the right of what you’re reading right now, labeled “International Society of Family History Writers and Editors.”  (Yep, you got it, the colorful one with the quill feather pen, green ink bottle, laptop and book.)

Well, as actress Sally Field exclaimed so many years ago at an Academy Awards ceremony upon winning that golden statue:  “You like me….You really like me!”

That’s how I felt last week at the national FGS conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana when I received not one, but two, writing awards from ISFHWE, that international organization of  family history storytellers.

Now don’t get me wrong, armed with a decades old journalism degree, I’ve been writing in both paid and unpaid arenas for years: for hospitals, software and insurance companies, newspapers, magazines and blogs;  for women’s clubs, genealogy societies and PTOs.  The difference, though, is this:

Being paid by an employer for producing the written word results in a paycheck–and while certainly not to be discounted (no pun intended)–such writing can become routine, expected, and taken for granted over time by that same employer. Unpaid submissions to non-profit publications are appreciated by editors because–let’s face it–those stories fill space and the number of volunteers willing to do that kind of job can be few and far between.

ISFHWE's Second Place Award in the Columns category for two feature articles on honoring our Civil War Ancestors: "Government Delivers in Honoring  Civil War Veteran" and  "Graveside Ceremony Presents a Step Back in Time"

ISFHWE’s Second Place Award in the Columns category for two feature articles on honoring our Civil War Ancestors: “Government Delivers in Honoring Civil War Vet” and “Graveside Re-dedication Presents a Step Back in Time”.

But winning a writing award from an outside third party which has nothing whatsoever to gain by what I produce, is an experience unto itself:

It’s 100% pure validation–recognition–appreciation–in the truest sense of each of those words.

It’s saying that what I’ve written matters: that my words and the ways in which I’ve put them together, have been judged by my peers to be thought provoking, insightful, educational, encouraging, or perhaps simply entertaining. It makes me feel a little bit like Sally Field.  It tells me that yes, “You like me….You really like me!”  (or at least my writing anyway).

And that means a lot to someone whose writing has most often been employed to promote corporate objectives, publicize non-profit events, or simply fill up those last few column inches of space.

Honorable Mention in ISFHWE's 2013 Excellence in Writing Competition for Book Reviews and and post on U.S. postage stamps related to the Sequicentennial of the U.S. Civil War.

Honorable Mention in ISFHWE’s 2013 “Excellence in Writing Competition” for Book Reviews and a post on U.S. postage stamps related to the Sesquicentennial of the U.S. Civil War.

So thank you, ISFHWE, for recognizing, appreciating, and yes, validating my written efforts in the fields of genealogy and family history. I can’t think of any other areas I’ve ever enjoyed writing for as much as these.

It’s incredibly gratifying to have those efforts acknowledged by this professional writers’ organization.

Thank you also, to my loyal readers at  Going In-Depth online genealogy magazine;; and of course, all of you who follow me right here on my own personal genealogy blog at

Finally, a heartfelt congratulations to all of my fellow award winners from the 2013 ISFHWE “Excellence-in-Writing Competition” whose names and submissions can be found right here. Do check them out. They’re all excellent as the name of this award suggests.

Now…what shall I write about next?

Sharing in the happiness of my recent awards is my husband, Mark Biallas, right, who has also shared the last 30 years with me.

Sharing in the excitement of my recent ISFHWE “Excellence-in-Writing” awards is my incredibly supportive husband, Mark Biallas, who’s been right by my side for the past 30 years .


Copyright © 2013 Patricia Desmond Biallas


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26 Responses to Validation!

  1. Jana Last says:

    Woo Hoo! Congratulations on these well-deserved awards, Pat!

  2. Jim Fertig says:

    When it comes to genealogy study and discovery don’t forget the ghost writers. Congratulations to all that made this possible! Good work, Patti!

  3. geneahistory says:


  4. Our Lineage says:

    Nicely done, Pat! Now your passion has awarded you, not the corporate work of the past. Congrats!

  5. Rebecca Black says:

    Congratulations! I’ve enjoyed your blog for the last several months.

  6. Angela McGhie says:

    Congratulations Pat! An award well earned.

  7. Diane M. Desmond says:

    How nice and surprising to get the awards, especially since that is not why you wrote. You wrote because you had something good to share and many have enjoyed and found benefit in it. Way to go!

  8. Congratulations, Pat! It’s very well deserved; the quality and content of your writing speaks to the high standards the ISFHWE is looking for in its members. I’m also so very glad we got to ‘hang out’ a bit at FGS. You and Mark make a great team and are a real pleasure to be with; I’m looking forward to the ‘next’ Conference already!

    • Thanks for the accolades, Laura. Very much appreciated. And yes, it was much fun to get together with you and so many others at dinners and throughout the convention center last week. There’s a lot of connections (and re-connections) that can be made between those awesome, educational sessions. We’re all really very lucky to have so many different conference opportunities (FGS, NGS, Roots Tech, local conferences and seminars, etc.) to keep up with all the changes in this fascinating industry.

  9. Congratulations on your well-deserved award, Pat! It was great to see you at the FGS conference.

  10. Jill Morelli says:

    Let me add my kudos as well. You are right….Publications directors get to write those last few inches of copy to fill a page as you and I know. But every once in a while something like this or in my case, a state quarterly accepts my work. After the shock wears off, the warmth of validation remains. Good job. How about writing something for the Northwest? 🙂

  11. Vinnie Desmond says:

    Way cool, and deserved! Congratulations.


  12. Lorene says:

    Congratulations! Well done.

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