Monday, October 5, 2009

I Wish My County Had a Club

Last week I happened across a very small announcement in our local newspaper about a Genealogy Fair being held in a neighboring county. While I didn't expect much, I was excited at the prospect of just getting together and being around other genealogists in the area so I decided that I would stop by during their open hours to see what it was all about. There wasn't much to it, about 5-7 tables set up in a church basement, one table was a local DAR chapter, one was an expert on records for that local county (none of my family is from that area), another two were family specific, with big boards showing pedigrees and photographs and yet another was the historical society book sales table. There wasn't a lot of traffic into this event but one thing I certainly noticed, there were folks coming in who found instant connection to one of the families that were represented and there were others like me who didn't have family from this specific area and were a bit disappointed. As I said, I tried not to expect too much but admittedly I was hopeful for more.

Although I didn't have a lot in common with any of these folks, I must say that it was really nice to be around some others who share my interest (oh and actually being able to talk with other adults in person was nice :-) Ever notice how people outside of your little circle get that blank stare on their face when you mention genealogy? I didn't see any of those stares on Saturday! It was quite refreshing. For this reason alone (and the random cemetery stop on the way home) it was well worth the trip.

Dick Eastman did a post on Sept 25 titled Grass Roots Organizing at it's Best about a meeting he attended for a possible new genealogy organization and I'm now inspired to contact my local historical society or library to find out if there might be some interest in my own area for this type of organization or club. While the meeting he attended seemed to be comprised of people researching many areas and from all levels of skill, the organizations in my area are very area specific, having their membership comprised of people who are only researching in that area, whose families have been there for generations. I think it would be lots more fun to have beginners, seasoned genealogists and people researching from all over the world in attendance so we can learn from each other and help each other.


  1. Cindy

    I want to thank you for giving back to the genealogy community by trying to create a local society - especially one geared towards beginners. It's great when someone can see a need and help to fill it!

  2. Cindy,
    Lots of us have had the same experience you have. What we do is join a nearby society for companionship with other researchers. Then we try to help those not living nearby to that county but who have family in that area. We are perfect for that because we are doing our main research not in that area county but across the state or country and receiving help from folks in those areas. It's kind of a case what we sow we might just reap from others.

  3. Cindy, I started a genealogy group, Saturday Genealogy Fun, at the library where I am the librarian in May. It is very informal. Haven't had more than 3 people and never had the same people twice! But I give a short presentation on a resource, then we use the computers, discuss our projects, ask for advice. So far everyone has left learning something new and they are thrilled about it. They range from beginners to experts. It is fun just to share our excitement for genealogy.

    My suggestion would be to talk to you local library about starting a group and ask if you may have access to computers during that time. The library may have someone on staff who is interested in genealogy and wants to run it, or perhaps you can get it started. My mother teaches a month-long genealogy class a couple of times a year at her local library. I also do workshops in our district in April during genealogy month.

    Hope these ideas are helpful to you!