[Editor’s note: Genealogy expert Thomas MacEntee reminds us of the resources available through Genealogy Societies]
Are you using social networking – Facebook, Twitter, maybe even Pinterest – to connect with other genealogists and family historians? Many genealogists know that social networking is all the rage in the genealogy world right now and extol its abilities to not only connect and collaborate with others, but also to dangle the “cousin bait” to find new distant relations.
Social networking has always been a part of the genealogy community, it just hasn’t always happened online and from the comfort of one’s home or office. Genealogy societies and organizations are where family history passionistas meet and are the original social network for genealogists.
A Meeting of the Genealogy Minds
Genealogy societies have been around for decades, even centuries (the New England Historic Genealogical Society was founded in 1845!). Many of the current societies actually got their start back in the late 1970s and early 1980s due to the popularity of the television mini-series Roots.
So how does the “networking” part of genealogy societies work? One way is by attending meetings which are typically scheduled on a monthly basis. These events often include a speaker presenting a topic related to genealogy. Meetings are a great chance to meet other genealogists and to share ideas on research strategies and new found resources.
Another networking method is attending conferences and workshops, many sponsored by genealogy societies. These events can range from a one day workshop or lecture with a nationally-known genealogy speaker, to a multi-day conference complete with classes and an exhibit hall filled with vendors. Building the public’s interest in family history and providing education and tools to research one’s ancestors is a basic mission of many societies. Genealogy societies have been the best provider of conferences and educational events mainly due to the hard work of many volunteers.
For more information on genealogy societies and how to find one near you, visit the Federation of Genealogical Societies website at http://www.fgs.org.
Societies Embrace Online Networking Too!
Individual genealogists are not the only ones using online social networking tools these days. Genealogy societies have realized that embracing these new technologies not only can attract new members, but also help get the word out about various society activities and publications. Most societies have a Facebook page listing meeting dates and times, links to society resources and advice on how to research specific geographic locations and ethnicities. In addition, you’ll often find the latest news about a society if you click the Like button on their Facebook page.