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Genealogy HowTo
Issue: May 8, 2014

Your Genealogy C.R.E.W. - How Joining a Genealogy Society Will Get Your Research on the Road to Success!

by Dana Elliott

Let's face it - most people's idea of genealogy, even for those immersed in the hobby, usually involves solitary hours in front of a computer or in a library or courthouse digging through dusty records. The only interaction that may encourage, one would assume, is a 'Gesundheit' from the next carrel over when you sneeze, or maybe a smile at the copy machine.

But does family history research really have to be such a lonely - and lonesome - undertaking? The answer is a resounding: No! You will find genealogy societies in just about every country, every state and many different countries. What's more, you will find that a little hobnobbing with fellow genealogists is more than just social fun - it may be just the thing to put your research in the fast lane to success. After all, every good race car driver has a pit crew of his or her own - if you want to make that finish line and break down that brick wall or write that family history, you would do well to find a C.R.E.W. of your own! Let's break down the benefits one letter at a time.

Community

Researching of any kind, much less family history, can be a solitary endeavor. But just because the research might be individual doesn't mean genealogists can't benefit from the company of others! By branching out and joining a society (or two, or more!), you can, first of all, find new friends, research buddies, and even cousins! That's right; there are many tales of people sitting down at a table and mentioning their research interests in passing at a conference or society meeting and finding out they are related several generations back. But even if you don't find family, the fun you can have with new friends sharing experiences, tips and strategies can energize you and maybe even give you a new approach for that brickwall from someone else who's been in the same place.

Resources

Heritage, historical, genealogical...there are many kinds of societies, both local, regional and national. But one thing they all have in common is a passion for preservation of the past. In preserving that past, societies often build up libraries with sources that may be hard-to-find or even one-of-a-kind, compiled by society members themselves. Examples can be indices of local graveyards and courthouse records, as well as obituary files. Some societies put these online, but others house them in conjunction with local libraries or their own dedicated space.

In addition to the unique sources societies gather, the newsletters and other publications from the society make invaluable resources. Articles on local persons and topics of interest are often covered, and may include your own family! Many newsletters also host a "query" section, in which members can put in requests for information about missing ancestors. Looking for cousins in the area? It may be worth your while to submit an "ad" to this section.

Beyond print, the experience and knowledge of the society members are invaluable resources for anyone new to the research area they are involved in. You might be an old hand at family history, but everyone finds themselves in new geographical territory as they trace their lines from time-to-time - a society from the local area can help you acquaint yourself with what record groups may be available and where.

Education

Genealogical research is something never truly mastered - there is always more to learn about a time period, a group of people or a geographical area. For that reason, education continues to be one of the most requested aspects of genealogy, and societies are working to deliver. Whether you're new to genealogy or a researcher with 20 years of experience, societies are a great way to spur education, both for yourself and others.

Education events hosted by genealogical societies can range from one hour to nearly one week. My local genealogy society, for example, hosts once-monthly meetings that combine a business meeting, optional dinner and a presentation of some kind on local history. Not only are these meetings social and critical for getting the logistics of the society out of the way, but we always leave there richer in knowledge than when we came. This society is a small one with only several dozen members, but larger ones in the area usually host events that last a whole day, often with an invited speaker. Some state societies, likewise, will host a one-day event or a multi-day event. The largest societies, like the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National Genealogical Society host well-known conferences that last days at a time. Regardless of size, the quality of education in connection with societies has always been top-notch in my experience. Classes, workshops and conferences always serve to boost my knowledge base and my enthusiasm. Indeed, my only problem is usually choosing which classes to go to when there's several offered simultaneously and where to start with all of my newly acquired information once I get home!

Worth

Joining a society is rarely free, but the benefits it brings to the members are always many times greater than the minimal cost of joining. Aside from the networking and newsletters, the educational offerings, resources and research assistance, there is also the community involvement and satisfaction that comes from being involved with such an organization. After becoming a member, one often finds there are many valuable niches waiting to be filled, either in outreach, teaching, organizing, fundraising, or other methods. Societies directly benefit their members and the areas they serve, helping to preserve and promote historical knowledge to all ages. They play a vital role in the preservation of our heritage and being part of that is a great way to give back to the community.

As an additional bonus, many societies also offer free services and discounts with their membership!

Where to Begin?

If you're interested in finding out more about the historical, heritage or genealogical societies in your area, the best place to start is the Society Hall of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. A great many of the genealogical societies out there are listed here, but not every kind that may be of interest. Also you might try googling the county or town you're interested in, as well as words like 'society', along with 'heritage' or 'historical' or 'preservation'. Trying different key words will help you discover what may be out there. Not all societies have a home page, however, so be sure to inquire with the local library if you have trouble locating one, or check with the state society for a list of local societies in your area. has a substantial number of Societies and Libaries listed in their Genealogical Library Resource.

One Just Isn't Enough!

Many people, myself included, belong to multiple societies, at the local, regional, state and national level. They each have their respective niches and benefits. But one thing that surprises many people is when I tell them I belong to several local societies in places I've never lived. My ancestors did live there, though, for several generations! If you have an area of interest where multiple individuals or family lines stayed for a time, it might be worth your while to join that area's society, even if you've never lived there. It's the best way to stay up on current publications, newsletters, cousin queries and other opportunities - especially if you might be making a research trip there one day. Think of all the preparation work you can do ahead of time, especially with the help of your new society friends.

An added note. Societies aren't just for localities. If you are interested in a certain time period or ethnicity, there is likely a society dedicated to research in that arena as well. Try typing in a subject of interest into Google or the FGS Society Hall search box, such as I did for "Jewish," then explore what's out there.

Article written by Dana Elliott.

Copyright © 2014 Fficiency Software, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.

Newsletters

Select Newsletter by Issue or Topic:

Genealogy HowTo
Issue: May 8, 2014

Your Genealogy C.R.E.W. - How Joining a Genealogy Society Will Get Your Research on the Road to Success!

by Dana Elliott

Let's face it - most people's idea of genealogy, even for those immersed in the hobby, usually involves solitary hours in front of a computer or in a library or courthouse digging through dusty records. The only interaction that may encourage, one would assume, is a 'Gesundheit' from the next carrel over when you sneeze, or maybe a smile at the copy machine.

But does family history research really have to be such a lonely - and lonesome - undertaking? The answer is a resounding: No! You will find genealogy societies in just about every country, every state and many different countries. What's more, you will find that a little hobnobbing with fellow genealogists is more than just social fun - it may be just the thing to put your research in the fast lane to success. After all, every good race car driver has a pit crew of his or her own - if you want to make that finish line and break down that brick wall or write that family history, you would do well to find a C.R.E.W. of your own! Let's break down the benefits one letter at a time.

Community

Researching of any kind, much less family history, can be a solitary endeavor. But just because the research might be individual doesn't mean genealogists can't benefit from the company of others! By branching out and joining a society (or two, or more!), you can, first of all, find new friends, research buddies, and even cousins! That's right; there are many tales of people sitting down at a table and mentioning their research interests in passing at a conference or society meeting and finding out they are related several generations back. But even if you don't find family, the fun you can have with new friends sharing experiences, tips and strategies can energize you and maybe even give you a new approach for that brickwall from someone else who's been in the same place.

Resources

Heritage, historical, genealogical...there are many kinds of societies, both local, regional and national. But one thing they all have in common is a passion for preservation of the past. In preserving that past, societies often build up libraries with sources that may be hard-to-find or even one-of-a-kind, compiled by society members themselves. Examples can be indices of local graveyards and courthouse records, as well as obituary files. Some societies put these online, but others house them in conjunction with local libraries or their own dedicated space.

In addition to the unique sources societies gather, the newsletters and other publications from the society make invaluable resources. Articles on local persons and topics of interest are often covered, and may include your own family! Many newsletters also host a "query" section, in which members can put in requests for information about missing ancestors. Looking for cousins in the area? It may be worth your while to submit an "ad" to this section.

Beyond print, the experience and knowledge of the society members are invaluable resources for anyone new to the research area they are involved in. You might be an old hand at family history, but everyone finds themselves in new geographical territory as they trace their lines from time-to-time - a society from the local area can help you acquaint yourself with what record groups may be available and where.

Education

Genealogical research is something never truly mastered - there is always more to learn about a time period, a group of people or a geographical area. For that reason, education continues to be one of the most requested aspects of genealogy, and societies are working to deliver. Whether you're new to genealogy or a researcher with 20 years of experience, societies are a great way to spur education, both for yourself and others.

Education events hosted by genealogical societies can range from one hour to nearly one week. My local genealogy society, for example, hosts once-monthly meetings that combine a business meeting, optional dinner and a presentation of some kind on local history. Not only are these meetings social and critical for getting the logistics of the society out of the way, but we always leave there richer in knowledge than when we came. This society is a small one with only several dozen members, but larger ones in the area usually host events that last a whole day, often with an invited speaker. Some state societies, likewise, will host a one-day event or a multi-day event. The largest societies, like the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National Genealogical Society host well-known conferences that last days at a time. Regardless of size, the quality of education in connection with societies has always been top-notch in my experience. Classes, workshops and conferences always serve to boost my knowledge base and my enthusiasm. Indeed, my only problem is usually choosing which classes to go to when there's several offered simultaneously and where to start with all of my newly acquired information once I get home!

Worth

Joining a society is rarely free, but the benefits it brings to the members are always many times greater than the minimal cost of joining. Aside from the networking and newsletters, the educational offerings, resources and research assistance, there is also the community involvement and satisfaction that comes from being involved with such an organization. After becoming a member, one often finds there are many valuable niches waiting to be filled, either in outreach, teaching, organizing, fundraising, or other methods. Societies directly benefit their members and the areas they serve, helping to preserve and promote historical knowledge to all ages. They play a vital role in the preservation of our heritage and being part of that is a great way to give back to the community.

As an additional bonus, many societies also offer free services and discounts with their membership!

Where to Begin?

If you're interested in finding out more about the historical, heritage or genealogical societies in your area, the best place to start is the Society Hall of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. A great many of the genealogical societies out there are listed here, but not every kind that may be of interest. Also you might try googling the county or town you're interested in, as well as words like 'society', along with 'heritage' or 'historical' or 'preservation'. Trying different key words will help you discover what may be out there. Not all societies have a home page, however, so be sure to inquire with the local library if you have trouble locating one, or check with the state society for a list of local societies in your area. has a substantial number of Societies and Libaries listed in their Genealogical Library Resource.

One Just Isn't Enough!

Many people, myself included, belong to multiple societies, at the local, regional, state and national level. They each have their respective niches and benefits. But one thing that surprises many people is when I tell them I belong to several local societies in places I've never lived. My ancestors did live there, though, for several generations! If you have an area of interest where multiple individuals or family lines stayed for a time, it might be worth your while to join that area's society, even if you've never lived there. It's the best way to stay up on current publications, newsletters, cousin queries and other opportunities - especially if you might be making a research trip there one day. Think of all the preparation work you can do ahead of time, especially with the help of your new society friends.

An added note. Societies aren't just for localities. If you are interested in a certain time period or ethnicity, there is likely a society dedicated to research in that arena as well. Try typing in a subject of interest into Google or the FGS Society Hall search box, such as I did for "Jewish," then explore what's out there.

Article written by Dana Elliott.

Copyright © 2014 Fficiency Software, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.

Newsletters

Select Newsletter by Issue or Topic:

Genealogy HowTo
Issue: May 8, 2014

Your Genealogy C.R.E.W. - How Joining a Genealogy Society Will Get Your Research on the Road to Success!

by Dana Elliott

Let's face it - most people's idea of genealogy, even for those immersed in the hobby, usually involves solitary hours in front of a computer or in a library or courthouse digging through dusty records. The only interaction that may encourage, one would assume, is a 'Gesundheit' from the next carrel over when you sneeze, or maybe a smile at the copy machine.

But does family history research really have to be such a lonely - and lonesome - undertaking? The answer is a resounding: No! You will find genealogy societies in just about every country, every state and many different countries. What's more, you will find that a little hobnobbing with fellow genealogists is more than just social fun - it may be just the thing to put your research in the fast lane to success. After all, every good race car driver has a pit crew of his or her own - if you want to make that finish line and break down that brick wall or write that family history, you would do well to find a C.R.E.W. of your own! Let's break down the benefits one letter at a time.

Community

Researching of any kind, much less family history, can be a solitary endeavor. But just because the research might be individual doesn't mean genealogists can't benefit from the company of others! By branching out and joining a society (or two, or more!), you can, first of all, find new friends, research buddies, and even cousins! That's right; there are many tales of people sitting down at a table and mentioning their research interests in passing at a conference or society meeting and finding out they are related several generations back. But even if you don't find family, the fun you can have with new friends sharing experiences, tips and strategies can energize you and maybe even give you a new approach for that brickwall from someone else who's been in the same place.

Resources

Heritage, historical, genealogical...there are many kinds of societies, both local, regional and national. But one thing they all have in common is a passion for preservation of the past. In preserving that past, societies often build up libraries with sources that may be hard-to-find or even one-of-a-kind, compiled by society members themselves. Examples can be indices of local graveyards and courthouse records, as well as obituary files. Some societies put these online, but others house them in conjunction with local libraries or their own dedicated space.

In addition to the unique sources societies gather, the newsletters and other publications from the society make invaluable resources. Articles on local persons and topics of interest are often covered, and may include your own family! Many newsletters also host a "query" section, in which members can put in requests for information about missing ancestors. Looking for cousins in the area? It may be worth your while to submit an "ad" to this section.

Beyond print, the experience and knowledge of the society members are invaluable resources for anyone new to the research area they are involved in. You might be an old hand at family history, but everyone finds themselves in new geographical territory as they trace their lines from time-to-time - a society from the local area can help you acquaint yourself with what record groups may be available and where.

Education

Genealogical research is something never truly mastered - there is always more to learn about a time period, a group of people or a geographical area. For that reason, education continues to be one of the most requested aspects of genealogy, and societies are working to deliver. Whether you're new to genealogy or a researcher with 20 years of experience, societies are a great way to spur education, both for yourself and others.

Education events hosted by genealogical societies can range from one hour to nearly one week. My local genealogy society, for example, hosts once-monthly meetings that combine a business meeting, optional dinner and a presentation of some kind on local history. Not only are these meetings social and critical for getting the logistics of the society out of the way, but we always leave there richer in knowledge than when we came. This society is a small one with only several dozen members, but larger ones in the area usually host events that last a whole day, often with an invited speaker. Some state societies, likewise, will host a one-day event or a multi-day event. The largest societies, like the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National Genealogical Society host well-known conferences that last days at a time. Regardless of size, the quality of education in connection with societies has always been top-notch in my experience. Classes, workshops and conferences always serve to boost my knowledge base and my enthusiasm. Indeed, my only problem is usually choosing which classes to go to when there's several offered simultaneously and where to start with all of my newly acquired information once I get home!

Worth

Joining a society is rarely free, but the benefits it brings to the members are always many times greater than the minimal cost of joining. Aside from the networking and newsletters, the educational offerings, resources and research assistance, there is also the community involvement and satisfaction that comes from being involved with such an organization. After becoming a member, one often finds there are many valuable niches waiting to be filled, either in outreach, teaching, organizing, fundraising, or other methods. Societies directly benefit their members and the areas they serve, helping to preserve and promote historical knowledge to all ages. They play a vital role in the preservation of our heritage and being part of that is a great way to give back to the community.

As an additional bonus, many societies also offer free services and discounts with their membership!

Where to Begin?

If you're interested in finding out more about the historical, heritage or genealogical societies in your area, the best place to start is the Society Hall of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. A great many of the genealogical societies out there are listed here, but not every kind that may be of interest. Also you might try googling the county or town you're interested in, as well as words like 'society', along with 'heritage' or 'historical' or 'preservation'. Trying different key words will help you discover what may be out there. Not all societies have a home page, however, so be sure to inquire with the local library if you have trouble locating one, or check with the state society for a list of local societies in your area. has a substantial number of Societies and Libaries listed in their Genealogical Library Resource.

One Just Isn't Enough!

Many people, myself included, belong to multiple societies, at the local, regional, state and national level. They each have their respective niches and benefits. But one thing that surprises many people is when I tell them I belong to several local societies in places I've never lived. My ancestors did live there, though, for several generations! If you have an area of interest where multiple individuals or family lines stayed for a time, it might be worth your while to join that area's society, even if you've never lived there. It's the best way to stay up on current publications, newsletters, cousin queries and other opportunities - especially if you might be making a research trip there one day. Think of all the preparation work you can do ahead of time, especially with the help of your new society friends.

An added note. Societies aren't just for localities. If you are interested in a certain time period or ethnicity, there is likely a society dedicated to research in that arena as well. Try typing in a subject of interest into Google or the FGS Society Hall search box, such as I did for "Jewish," then explore what's out there.

Article written by Dana Elliott.

Copyright © 2014 Fficiency Software, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.

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