Sunday, March 20, 2016

Do I Really Need to Join My Local Society? I Have No Ancestors From My Area...

I have no ancestry from Ohio.  

It is my home state, but I am the only one who was born and raised here in my ancestry.

In the 1880 U.S. Federal  Census, I have a set of grandparents that are found in Darke County, Ohio.  Research into this family has occupied a good portion of my time, but I have not been able to find a single reason why they moved there from eastern Kentucky, are enumerated on one census, and are found back in Kentucky again.
Darke Co., Ohio, Image from Wikipedia
I lived in the north-central area of the state.

I also have another set of grandparents who, along with an entire neighborhood, left Grayson County, Virginia to settle in Ironton, Lawrence Co., Ohio.  More than likely, it was industry that brought them all to that area.
Ironton, Lawwrence Co., Ohio, Image from Wikipedia

Except for family members who moved north into the Youngstown area about the same time my parents came to Ohio, there is no one else.

So, why would I entertain the thought of joining either the Ohio Genealogical Society, or more especially, my local chapter here in Richland County?  I understood more clearly than ever when I attended a monthly meeting this past Saturday.  

I know many of the local members of both the local and the state societies.  They are good people, and their leadership is stellar.  They work hard to provide quality educational programs for their members, as well as activities and publications.

This past Saturday, I was fortunate enough to attend a meeting where the President of the Ohio Genealogical Society, Margaret Cheney, was presenting a program on "Women's Westward Journey".  It was one of the best gifts I could have given to myself, for not only is Margaret an excellent presenter, I was immediately drawn right into the lives of the women she talked about.  Her visuals were stunning, and I felt like I was walking along the plains with these women.

This link will give you an idea of the programs and offerings of my local society:

Nearly every society I have presented to has someone who is in charge of arranging speakers for the year.  That is their focus - to educate the members of their society.  And, there isn't a one of us who doesn't need a refresher course every now and then.

I have found that networking with the people I have met around the country gives me the "fix" I need when I want to talk about genealogy.  Many of us have friends and relatives who are just not interested in genealogy - and may never be.  But, to be with like-minded people that can offer suggestions as to research, records, computer help, methodology, etc. is something that can benefit us all.

Plus, they are generally very inexpensive to join.  If you look at the link posted above, it's only $12.00 / year to be a member of my local society.  But, the benefits are worth far more than the amount you pay.  

Genealogy societies sometimes take a "hit", for most people believe that everything you need to research your ancestry is found on the internet.  Membership in the societies decline, and attendance at meetings lessen.  But, the internet is truly the tip of the iceberg, as illustrated in a popular meme that shows up on Facebook occasionally.
FamilySearch, Ancestry, FindMyPast, MyHeritage, and many more are wonderful tools to let us comfortably research from home.  But, think of the vast holdings that will likely never be on the internet; those that are found in teeny libraries that have a local history room.  Or, even better, the information and wisdom that comes people that have lived in a locality for many years, and know just about everything about everyone who has ever lived there.

I plan on attending many more local meetings this year, for even though I am a genealogy speaker, and I am also one who needs to continually keep learning.  I walked away from Saturday's meeting realizing that more than ever.

Give it some thought; and consider joining your local genealogy society.  They need you!

And, more importantly, you need them.