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The Josephine Birchenough Memorial Awards



Josephine Birchenough (left) was a founder member of the Society and an enthusiastic supporter of our activities over many years. Following her death in 1994 some money was donated by members in her memory and it was decided to use this to establish a Bursary Award scheme, now renamed the Josephine Birchenough Memorial Awards.
Originally members of the Society were invited to apply to the fund for a sum in order to follow some form of research, or carry out a specific project that fulfils the objects of the Society. A few awards were made on this basis, but they were then made only for journal articles, until 2013.
Each year the President and Vice Presidents judged what they considered to be the best articles from the previous year's journals. The awards were then presented at the Society AGM, consisting of a number of prizes generally totalling around £150.

Award Categories since 2014

After a number of suggestions and long discussions between the Trustees and among the Presidents Panel it has been agreed that the Josephine Birchenough Memorial Awards should revert to criteria similar to what it had been when first instigated in 1994. In making these changes there are now three categories:

  1. Project: Awarded to a person or persons who wish to follow some form of research or carry out a specific family history project, which fulfils the objects of the Society. For this category members must apply to the Presidents Panel by completing the application form for them to be considered.

  2. Journal Articles: These will be judged in the same way as outlined below. All submitted articles which are published in the Journal will be considered and no application is necessary. Please click on the bold text to go to the Guidelines for Journal Authors page for additional guidance. The President’s Panel will judge what they consider to be the best articles from the previous year's journals based on some if not all of the following criteria or variations on these themes.

    a.    An interesting read with substantial content written in a coherent style.

    b.    Method: how research is approached and the steps taken to discover the information.

    c.    Sources: exact references and where located.

    d.    Confirmation: how the details were confirmed.

    e.    Problems: how overcome and comments on pitfalls.

    f.     Draw simple family tree(s) by hand or by computer to illustrate the family. The use of diagrams, photographs and illustrations is a useful explanatory tool. The copyright must be with the author.

    g.    Background to bring the story alive and set it in a wider context.

  3. Significant Work: To recognise or support significant work that contributes to the Society and its objects. Recommendations must be submitted to the Trustees or the President’s Panel by any two members, a proposer and seconder. The recommendations will be judged by the President’s Panel.

The Presidents Panel will consist of the President, Vice-Presidents, Chair and Vice Chair of the Society. At each AGM the President will report to the Society and a copy of this report will appear in the Journal with the criteria used for each category.


  • Only open to Society Members.
  • No Society Committee member (Trustee) will be considered or eligible for or be given a financial award under any of the Award Categories.
  • The President’s panel members are not eligible for any of the awards.
  • These revised rules for the awards agreed by the Trustees will be used by the 2015 President’s panel for the 2014 Awards and thereafter.


pdfClick here to view or download the Application Leaflet.

Based upon text supplied by Jean Stirk (former President) & David Cufley (President)
Updated April 2021.