For those of us who have been doing family research
prior to the Internet, we have a great appreciation
for the resources available on the Internet. It seems
there are more and better resources added everyday,
some you pay for and some are free.
Prior to the Internet, we had Genealogy Societies and
fortunately we still have these organizations. Often
for genealogy within a county, one may find branches
of state organizations. An example of this is the
Hamilton County Ohio branch of the Ohio Genealogical
Society. Some are ethnic based, such as The
Scottish Genealogy Society.
This Newsletter had an article on the value of these
organizations in October 2002. I would encourage you
to look back in our files and give it a read. The article is entitled, Genealogical Societies, by Charles Hansen.
Granted these organizations vary in the value they are
able to contribute based on the cooperation and number
of the volunteers, some are better than others. What
can these organizations do for you?
Most have a newsletter about researching in the area.
That is generally worth the price of membership
itself. One of the best newsletters that I receive
quarterly is the Highland Family History Society
Journal. It covers the area of Scotland that I am
researching, and also, articles about the families
in the area. Usually, there is a place to list queries.
It is often possible to make contact with a local
researcher who can assist you. Some of these
researchers are free and some charge a fee.
Most of the more active Genealogy Societies hold
conferences or workshops. Generally the speakers they
provide are excellent communicators and professional
genealogists. Attend these sessions; they are places to
learn and to interact with other genealogists
working on the same type of brickwalls that you may have
been experiencing. If you go to the home page of this
site, you will find a heading called Events Calendar,
click on it and find out about some of the many varied
activities that occur throughout the year.
Most of these organizations provide cemetery
Tombstone photographs that you can purchase for a very
price. These were all done by volunteers.
The local genealogy groups also produce books about
the area, its
history and its people. Sometimes these references are
only available from the local group. Sometimes they
are bound, sometimes in a spiral format and sometimes
just xeroxed and stapled . In any case it is
one of a kind material. I have purchased many
reference books from the Hamilton County, Ohio
organization because they have made good vital records
and indexes available. Since I do not live in
Cincinnati, Ohio, it gives me a resource that is not
available anywhere else but the Cincinnati Public
Library. Some of these were purchased from the local
group but lately they have been made available through
a firm called Little Miami Publishing.
Many of these organizations would welcome a printed
copy of your family tree and any narrative of your
family history. They serve as a clearing house making
it available to other persons researching that same
If you have done some original research from the area,
share it with them free of charge. Let them sell it
for a small fee, that is about the only way they can
make money for the organization.
Finally, join these local groups including the ones
overseas and far away, you will be the beneficiary. If
you live close by, volunteer to help. Be willing to go
to the library or the courthouse once a month or so, to
look-up queries for other persons researching in your
area, who may live at greater distances from the resource library. Volunteer to go to local
cemeteries to make inscriptions of the tombstones.
Others will benefit and you will feel good about what
you are doing. The cost of membership of these local groups is very reasonable. I
love the many resources available on the Internet and
use them everyday. The Postal Service brings
us newsletters throughout the month and they are
always read cover-to-cover; some are helpful and some
are not. And of course, don't overlook the many good genealogy
magazines that are available on news stands, book stores
and in libraries.