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.


  1. Great article! Especially the part about networking with people who share your passion. :) We have started a new genealogy society in east-central Indiana, East Central Indiana Genealogy Alliance, and I am going to share your insight on our FB page. Side note, I had family from Grayson County, VA, who came to Henry County, IN, in the 1830s but first stopped in Preble County, OH...small world!

    1. How kind of you! I wish you all the best in your new genealogy society.

      And, I may need to call you a "cousin" if your people came from Grayson County!!

    2. Hi, Peggy. I'd be curious about that "Clemens" part of your name -- does that connect with those grandparents in Darke County at all?

      The reason I ask is because of a notable Darke County family by that name. If you're curious about it, and have a Facebook account, check out this page:

    3. Oh, I wish! It is my Cline line that showed up there up Harrison Twp., 1880.

      But, that Clemens info is fascinating! So far, I don't see a connection. But, I am going to spend more time looking through that page.

      Thank you for letting me know!

  2. Peggy,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Jana! Again!?!?!

      I am so honored. I thank you...

  3. Peggy, I live in New York State but belong to the Ohio Genealogixal Society because my family is from Ohio. But I do not belong to my local society. Thanks to your post I think I will join! Thanks!

    1. Colleen, how kind of you to write!

      Most local societies have some sort of educational program each month. It was really brought home to me this month how much I may have been missing in terms of better research.

      It's a good thing to give some thought to.

      Thank you so much for writing!