How Geography-Based Genealogical Societies Can Help - dummies

How Geography-Based Genealogical Societies Can Help

By April Leigh Helm, Matthew L. Helm

Genealogical societies can be great places to discover research methods and to coordinate your research. Several types of societies exist. They range from the more traditional geographical or surname-based societies to cybersocieties (societies that exist only on the Internet) that are redefining the way people think about genealogical societies.

Geography-based genealogical societies are groups that can help you discover resources in a specific area in which your ancestors lived, or as groups in your hometown that can help you discover how to research effectively. However, local genealogical societies can provide another service to their members. These societies often coordinate local research efforts of the members in the form of projects.

These projects can take many forms. For example, the Illinois State Genealogical Society is working on several projects, including creating a database of county marriage records, updating a list of Illinois pioneers, forming a list of all cemeteries in the state, and compiling indexes of Civil War, World War I, and World War II certificates issued.

genealogy-cemeteries
Cemetery entries for Fayette County, Illinois, on the ISGS site.

Smaller groups of members sometimes work on projects in addition to the society’s official projects. For example, you may belong to a county genealogical society and decide to join with a few members to write a history of the pioneers who settled a particular township in the county.

To locate geographical societies, check out the site of a genealogical-society federation such as one of these: