What is a Genealogical Society?

Going beyond the numerous genealogy research and ancestry websites, did you know that there are actual genealogical societies all over the United States?

We aren’t talking about lineage societies such as the DAR or SAR and other historical societies that focus on specific groups or events in history. These lineage groups may limit their membership to descendants of a particular person or group of people of historical importance. We are talking about groups with a specific focus on genealogy that is open to anyone wanting to become a member.

A genealogical society is a group that provides members the benefit from shared knowledge of genealogy and ancestry resources. Large societies often own libraries, sponsor research seminars and publish journals.

National Genealogical Society

In the United States, there is the National Genealogical Society that encompasses a variety of genealogy topics. They offer information regarding;

  • Conferences & Events
  • Educational Opportunities and Resources
  • Research Resources and News

For more information or to learn about becoming a member of the National Genealogical Society, visit their website at ngsgenealogy.org.

**There are also national genealogical societies that are specific topics such as the family history of a particular geographical area, ethnicity, nationality, or religion. A list of the groups can be found on this list provided by ancestry.com.

State Genealogical Societies

Every state in the United States has at least one genealogical society. These are not government operated organizations. These genealogical societies are managed by members and volunteers. They provide resources and conference events at the state level with topics relevant to that particular state.

A state genealogical society could be a great resource for your genealogy research if you have family that has been in a particular state for an extended period of time. The state genealogical society will have resources that cover areas throughout the state since before that state was established to present day.

Check out this extensive list of state genealogical societies provided by ancestry.com.

County Genealogical Societies

Do you have a family with roots going back numerous generations in an area that they never left? Maybe you’d be more interested in a genealogical society at your specific county level.

A local genealogical society might be an ideal place to connect with people close to you with similar family ties to the area. They often have a lot of resources and members that specialize in different topics specific to the area. If something is located at a library, cemetery, government archive room, etc., someone at the local genealogical society probably knows about it.

Are you a member of a genealogical society? What benefits do you see from being a member? Tell us about it in the comments!