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Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Favorite Genealogical Society - Must There Be Just One?

[This post was written for the 82nd Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy hosted by Kathryn Doyle at California Genealogical Society and Library blog]

I belong to several genealogical and historical societies - both online and "brick and mortar" - and it would be most difficult for me to select a favorite.

Why? Well, each society fills a certain need in my genealogy in terms of research, education and even social networking.  For example: I don't have California ancestors yet I belong to both the Southern California Genealogical Society as well as the California Genealogical Society and Library.  My membership with both these organizations has been valuable in connecting me with other genealogists especially through social networking tools such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter.

Most of my ancestors are from New York so it is only natural that I have memberships in several great organizations.  While the German Genealogy Group is not necessarily limited to New York, it has access to the vital records indices for New York City and the group is based in Long Island.  I may never even attend a meeting but the price of membership is my way of saying thanks to all the ways in which this society has furthered my research.

The same goes for the Freer-Low Family Association also based in New York.  There are many Freers and Lows on my father's side and not only do I find their database valuable, I appreciate the efforts undertaken by the association to preserve my 9th great-grandfather Hugo Freer's house in New Paltz, NY.

Speaking of New Paltz, I am also a member of the Huguenot Historical Society which works to preserve the heritage of the Huguenots who settled the Ulster County, NY area in the late 1600s.

Moving over to New England, I couldn't survive without my New England Historic Genealogical Society membership.  Besides the research databases, I enjoy all the articles in their magazine publications.

And while not based in New England, the Austin Family Association of America has helped me research my Rhode Island ancestors descended from Robert Austin of North Kingstown, RI (b. abt. 1638).

Where would I be without access to all the great cemeteries and graveyards of my ancestors?  This is why I support the Association of Graveyard Rabbits and am a member through my blog The Graveyard Rabbit of New York Rural Cemeteries.

Finally, there are some associations and societies to which I belong to further my genealogy career.  These include the National Genealogical Society as well as the Genealogical Speakers Guild.

There are so many more that I wish I could join - just to support from afar even though I may never attend their meetings or use their resources.  But time and income limit me in my desire to do so.

I want to thank each of these societies for all the work they do in the genealogy community especially the volunteers involved in running their operations.  Personally, I know I would not be where I am today in terms of my genealogy education and career without them.

Photo: The New England Historic Genealogical Society, Somerset Street, Boston, MA, 1881. Digital photograph. Used via Creative Commons 3.0 License via Wikimedia Commons.

© 2009, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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