Sunday, August 12, 2012

Why should I join a genealogical society?

Question from Sarah:

“What are the benefits of joining a genealogy society?”


I am going to answer this one by listing all of the groups I belong to and what benefits there are to each one.

The Columbia County Genealogical Society
This is the local group here in Columbia County, Georgia. We meet at the Euchee Creek Library once a month. We get together to discuss what all we are working on and we brainstorm through brick walls. We have a GREAT time! We have a
Rootsweb Mailing List that anyone can join. Our members are everything from brand new researchers to researchers with 20+ years of experience. The newbies keep the oldies enthusiastic and the oldies give the newbies the benefit of their experiences.

The Augusta Genealogical Society (AGS)
The AGS focuses on research in the greater Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) which includes counties in Georgia and South Carolina (the city of August sits right on the line). The AGS has the Adamson Library which has a wonderful collection of genealogical works. The AGS has several Publications. The society meets once a month and they also conduct wonderful workshops on general topics of research (i.e. Using Land Grants to Sort Your Ancestors) and local topics of research (i.e. Race and Religion in Augusta). The AGS collaborated with Augusta State University and presents day long seminars. Some of top genealogists in the country have been presenters. The AGS is involved with local cemetery preservation. With over 1500 members this is a very strong group.

The Georgia Genealogical Society (GGS)
With Georgia being one of the original 13 colonies you can imagine we have a lot of history here and a very active state level society. I am not putting links to the specific information because some of this is in members only sections of the website. The GGS publishes a scholarly periodical, The Georgia Genealogical Society Quarterly and a quarterly newsletter, The Scribe. They offer webinars for continuing education. Members have access to online books. The GGS lobbies in the Georgia Congress on issues that affect the preservation of history in the state. Currently they are trying to save the Georgia Archives. Because of budget cuts, the Archives are only open two days a week and the fear is that they will be shut down permanently. The GGS meets four times a year and hold workshops and seminars with the top genealogists in the country. The GGS presents several awards for outstanding service within the genealogical community.

The National Genealogical Society (NGS)
I am sure you can imagine what all is available at this level. The National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) is considered the gold standard for scholarly work. The top researchers in the country present their research in this publication. They NGS also publishes the NGS Magazine which will keep you up to date with what is going on in the field of genealogy as well as excellent articles on methodology. The NGS offers the NGS American Genealogy: Home Study Course. You do not have to be a member to take advantage of this. If you want to learn how to conduct research the right way this is the course for you. They also have some additional courses that you might be interested in. The NGS also publishes many helpful books/booklets in their store. They host conferences presented by the top researchers and historians in the country. They sponsor competitions and present awards for outstanding contributions. Members have access to the gazillion Family Group Sheets submitted my members as well as submitted Bible records and several other nifty things.

There are regional societies also. The New England Historic Genealogical Society is one of the oldest and one of the best. If you do any research in the New England area you really need to join this one. They have resources available to their members that are a great help.

You will be missing out on a lot if you don't take advantage of membership in local societies all the way up to the national level.

Copyright © 2012 Michele Simmons Lewis

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