Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Starting a New Genealogical Society

What if your town/county doesn’t have a historical or genealogical society.  Would you be interested in starting one?  It isn’t as hard as you think.  The Columbia County (GA) Genealogical Society was formed in June 2012.  In less than one year we have 12-15 members that consistently come to the monthly meetings and we have 30 on the mailing list.  Not bad for a rural Georgia County.  Columbia County has had a historical society since 1975 but its focus is more on local landmark preservation and not on genealogical research so there was a need.

Ann Rhoden, a local researcher, contacted me to see if I thought there might be some interest in a local group.  Ann and I met through Find A Grave.  We are both volunteer photographers.  We got to know each other by talking back and forth about cemeteries and photo requests and then our conversations expanded to general genealogical research topics and then to the possibility of forming a group.

We decided on a date for our first meeting and the Euchee Creek Library was kind enough to offer their conference room.  The Euchee Creek and Harlem Libraries advertised our group to their patrons and we emailed and Facebooked (is that a word?) people we thought might be interested.  I think we were both surprised about the turnout.  We have met every week since. The Euchee Creek Library has bent over backwards to help our group out by printing large posters and encouraging patrons to come.  They even provide refreshments.

Everything we do is on a volunteer basis.  We don’t collect any dues.  Our members range from beginner to advanced.  It is a nice mix and everyone learns something new at the meetings.  We are really getting into the swing of things.  We now have a monthly agenda and nametags! We have show and tell (photos, artifacts), question and answer sessions, presentations from members (The Schrivers told us all about their trip to New England complete with photos and maps), and we can hook a laptop to the AV system and projection screen so that we can do things on the computer that everyone can see. This month we will be going on our second field trip.  Our first field trip was to the Columbia County Probate Records Vault in Appling so that we could learn what records they have on site.  Our field trip on May 9th will be to the Georgia Heritage Room at the Augusta-Richmond County Library in Augusta.  They have a nice collection of Georgia resources.  We have several other tentative field trips in the works. 

We don’t have a Facebook page (yet) but we do have a Rootsweb mailing list.  If you have any connections in the Columbia County Georgia area we invite you to join GA-CCGS.

Our little group is growing and our activities are expanding.  If we can go it, you can do it. 

Flyer for Library

 Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis

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