Let’s talk about some of the benefits you can derive from these societies.
- Knowledgeable people who work or volunteer at the society. These people may have lived their whole lives in the area. They may even have ancestors that knew your ancestors.
- Perhaps they know others with the same surnames you are researching, who still live in the area. This, of course, is more common in a smaller community. However, don’t discount the societies in the larger communities.
- They may know where all the cemeteries are in the area. Even the smaller, hard to find cemeteries on private property.
- Perhaps they can provide maps of specific areas with indications of who owned what property and when?
- They can, in many cases, show you which books or publications they offer that would help you in your particular research.
- They can put you in touch with local historians or other researchers who may know details that they don’t.
- Most historical societies have books or publications right on site. Take advantage of this.
One of the largest historical societies I can think of is the New England Historic Genealogical Society. This society has been around since 1845 and has a wealth of information at their physical site and on their website.
Simply use your search engine and type in whatever town, city or county you may be interested in, add the words “historical society” OR “family history society” and see what you can find.
Here is a link to a site I found by typing this into Google "historical societies in the United States"
I selected A and the following screen came up. When I typed MICHIGAN into the state box I got a list of over 80 societies all over the state.
I have to admit that I did not know about this website until just now. It’s very interesting that while I am sharing with you, I am also learning.
Let’s continue our discovery and type into Google “historical societies in Europe.” This brought up 13,800,00 results. Here is a screenshot of a portion of the first page.
(Apologies for the blurry screenshots)
I selected the very first entry which took me to a Wikipedia site. As I scrolled through the site and selected various items, some were relevant and some were not. However, when I got to the very bottom of the screen I noticed this:
Doesn’t that first entry look interesting? I selected it and up came a list of various genealogical & family history societies. The list is not complete as wikipedia is always a work in progress. However, what I did was to keep on selecting various links, which then led me to other links. In doing that I have now learned of many organizations that are new to me.
You get the general idea. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get tunnel vision in my research. I use the same sites day in and day out. I mean after all, I have a huge list of bookmarked sites that I’ve saved over the years. Those sites are very useful, but sometimes we need to step back, stop and THINK.
OTHER POSTS THAT YOU MAY FIND HELPFUL
SEMINARS, WEBINARS, SOCIETIES - WILL THEY HELP YOUR RESEARCH?
FACEBOOK - HOW IT CAN BE VERY USEFUL IN YOUR RESEARCH