23 October 2012

Do you belong to a genealogical society?

At her presentation Saturday to Ottawa Branch OGS about the Canadian Genealogy Survey (http://genealogyincanada.blogspot.ca/), Dr Leighann Neilson said that they found that barely a third of genealogist joined a genealogical society. I know that it is much cheaper to rely on "free" forums and mailing lists for your information but do you know if the person replying to you actually knows what they are talking about? As genealogists, we seek support for any information that we find about our ancestors but many seem to accept as gospel the words of any unknown e-mailer.

On the other hand, you can find a great deal of expertise at the meetings of genealogical societies as well as guidance towards sources that may solve your problem. As one person said "Joining a local society means I have a whole group of "experts" to ask when I need help or information." I often tell people to come out to a meeting and learn from our mistakes.

On the blog, one comment is that "Few who join a society subsequently leave; they soon come to see the merits of meeting like-minded people and exposing themselves to new ways of thinking at meetings and conferences." Dr Neilson also mentioned a study that "suggested that one of the major reasons for belonging to a family history society was that it provided an opportunity to share." Presumably, most of us plan to do something with what we have learned. Most people plan to share with their family, some plan to share with a genealogical or historical society. At a society meeting, other genealogist can share their experiences in researching and "sharing" their family research, including the pitfalls on putting your information on the Internet. How do you put a price on experience?

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