Do you know where your ancestors come from? Well, a genealogy society can offer you information not only about the area where they called home but they can also help you to track down records and documents about them.
In this post I want to share with you resources that will help you find a genealogy society that can put you on the right path.
Help is at the hand!
Whether you know them as genealogy societies or family history societies they are essentially the same thing.
They can assist you in a number of ways which WILL help you along your family history journey.
If you have ever hit a brick wall in your research, (which you will most likely encounter at some stage), then a genealogy society can offer you some much needed help.
So don’t go giving up on an elusive ancestor. Help is out there. You just need to ask the experts.
But what do they offer you’re probably asking?
A genealogy society can offer:
Why not check out my Join A Family History Society post where I chat about the benefits of joining a family history society, (or rather a genealogy society).
Below is a brief overview of the benefits.
A society will have knowledge about the area such as the history, what work was available, the political climate, and any significant turning points in the history of the area.
Documents such as parish, chapel and school registers will often be published. Utilizing these resources will obviously help you to track down your ancestors.
Other documents may also include military records and monumental inscriptions.
Sometimes birth, marriage or death certificates will be purchased in error. Rather than these documents being discarded members will allow them to be sold by the society, in order to help out other researchers.
Contacting and communicating with fellow researchers in the local area, (or in another country), may throw you some leads that you were not expecting.
This sharing of information can really help you move forward with your research.
Meetings, fairs and open days
There is also opportunities to attend events where you can meet the society staff and get help face to face.
Taking you on an incredible journey!
Often research will take us much further away from where we live. If you have been researching your ancestors for a while then you will know that they don’t all come from the same area.
Our ancestors obviously!
Therefore your research may take you hundreds of miles away, or even to a foreign land. Your roots will take you to some pretty unexpected places and as genealogists we will follow where our ancestors once lived.
It’s in our nature we want to know where we came from.
But you’re wondering why move around?
The reason for this may have been so that they could find work. Or they may have moved in order to escape war or poverty.
And so during our research we will need to look both near and far.
For that reason then I will show you how you can find a local genealogy society and societies in other countries.
- The Federation of Genealogical Societies – You can find any genealogy society within any of the 50 states of the U.S. from this site. It will give you society details as well as a link to their site as well.
- D’Addezio – Despite this being an Italian heritage site it does comprise an excellent guide to genealogy societies across the U.S., Canada and Australia.
- CanGenealogy – Provides with not only a guide to genealogy societies across Canada but every possible resource that you could need to help you trace your Canadian ancestors.
U.K. and Ireland Directories:
- Federation of Family History Societies – Predominantly features every family history society of the U.K. You can find societies within the countries of England, Wales and Ireland. For Scotland though please see the next option. Societies within Australia also feature on this site.
- Scottish Association of Family History Societies – An alphabetical guide to Scottish family history societies. This is a charity that will not only help you to find a society but produces publications, guides and research that will help you immensely to trace your Scottish ancestry.
- Cape Banks Family History Society – Provides an excellent list of family history societies that can be found anywhere within Australian. Broken down into state or territory this guide will link to the societies around this great continent.
- Other ways to find a genealogy society! – Google and social media can really help you to find a genealogy society/family history society that can assist with your research.
Before you check out my reviews to these societies why not watch the following video presented by expert genealogist Amy Johnson Crow.
Here she chats with Josh Taylor about whether we still need genealogy societies.
Credit: Amy Johnson Crow
It’s quite an interesting video to watch as you can tell that there is still an importance for these societies.
Oops, I’ve spoilt it for you. But please still watch.
Founded in 1976 this organization that represents hundreds of genealogical societies not only across the United States but also all over the world.
Within their online database of societies you will find contact details such as phone number, address, email and also a link to a society’s website.
Easily search for an organization!
You can search the database by entering the name of the organization that you are looking for.
This obviously helps if you know the name.
Don’t worry if you don’t as you can search by location.
Just select the option that is relevant to you in the drop down member and then click on the magnifying glass in the top right of the search box.
Contact details of the organization(s) within that location will then appear in the table below. Further information can also be sought by clicking on the eye symbol in the left column.
Further information may include these details:
- The number of members for the society or club.
- A contact name.
- When the society or club was founded.
- The genealogy club or society’s mission.
- What you can expect if you become a member.
- When meetings occur.
- What services are offered.
- Whether they offer certificate programs.
- Whether they produce periodicals.
The D’Addezio website contains a directory called Society Hill. Within this directory there are historical societies from across not only the United States but also Canada and Australia as well.
So, it is an excellent resource to help you trace your immigrant ancestors.
The information within this directory is though a bit more basic compared to The Federation of Genealogical Societies.
However, it can nevertheless point you in the right direction.
This is especially true if you want to find a society from outside the United States.
Searching for a society!
From the Society Hill’s main page you just need to select the country that you are interested in.
For this example I will show you what you can expect if you are searching for an Alabama society.
So, in this example you will obviously need to select the first option, United States Historical & Genealogical Societies.
This will then bring you to the following page that will show you each of the 50 U.S. states.
Selecting Alabama will then bring you to the following page.
As there are many genealogical societies within the state of Alabama this collection is thus broken down into two groups, ALA to MAR and MAR to WIN.
The following picture shows you what you can expect if you select the first option available to you, ALA to MAR.
Details for each society will include the name of the society, its address and also a link to the website if one exists.
CanGenealogy is an excellent list of resources that are all compiled within a single website. To find the resource that you want you just go to the province or territory that interests you.
This is therefore not just collection of genealogy societies but links to other resources such as census records, vital records, historic newspapers, geography and land records, and so on.
For that reason you will need to dig a little to find a genealogy society.
Searching the Canadian societies!
For example, if you want to find genealogy societies within the province of Alberta first you will need to click on that region in the menu above.
Once you have done that you will be shown quite a number of different resources that are available to you for that province.
Just scroll down until you find the Genealogical societies in Alberta section.
From there you will find the name of the society, a link to the society’s website and a brief description for that society.
Although you will need to search a little bit for what you are looking for on this site I still think that it is an excellent site.
Well, because it shows you every possible resource that you will need to conduct your Canadian research.
U.K. and Ireland Directories
The Federation of Family History Societies (FFHS) is a charity that comprises more than 160 member societies from not only across the United Kingdom but also Australia as well.
They have been helping family historian trace their roots for over 40 years.
Besides providing a directory of family history societies they also show you where you can take a course to help you with your research.
But let’s move on and discuss how to search the directory.
Search the countries of the U.K.
You will have the option of whether you want to find a society within the home countries of England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland.
There is also a fifth option that will take you to a listing of Australian family history societies as well.
There is no search box for you to enter the name of the society. So you will need to go to the relevant country and then the county to find the society that you are looking for.
For this example I will show you what you can expect if you want to search for societies within Bedfordshire, England.
Well quite simply you just select the first option England.
You will then be taken to the first page of counties within England, Bedfordshire – Cumberland.
The details provided for the society include a contact name, as well as an address, email address and a link to the society’s website.
I did forget to mention that you can select which county to search for using the selection at the right of the screen.
This becomes available once you select your chosen country, i.e. England, Wales, Ireland or Scotland.
Please note: You will need to go to the website that I will discuss below in order to Scottish find genealogy societies.
The Scottish Association of Family History Societies (SAFHS) is a charity and its’ mission is to both promote and encourage the study of Scottish family history.
And SAFHS will help you with your Scottish research as they link to every family history society within Scotland.
The charity also produces useful publications such as parish registers, guides on researching graveyards, research on Scots abroad, glossary and more.
Viewing the different family history societies that have joined SAFHS is quite simple.
You just click on the Membership option in the left sidebar.
Then you will be presented in alphabetical order every family history within Scotland. There will be a link to the society’s website as well as their address.
The Cape Banks Family History Society website provides an excellent guide to every family history society found within Australia.
Originally created in 1997 this list is broken down into the different states and territories that make up this great southern land.
There is no search box. You just click on the state or territory that you want to look at.
Once you have done that then a list of family history societies found within that state or territory will be displayed underneath.
You won’t find any details regarding these societies. There is only the name of the society with a link to their website.
And that’s all you need really, just a guide to show you where you can find further information.
Other Ways To Find A Genealogy Society!
If you cannot find the genealogy society that you are looking for then there are other options that are available to you.
One of the first methods that I chose when I first started to trace my own family history was to turn to Google.
As you can expect you CAN find just about anything on the Internet. And Google CAN help you find a genealogy society that you are looking for.
But how you may ask?
Well simply enter the state or county that you want to find followed by the words “genealogical society“.
For example, if you want to find genealogy societies within Alabama then just enter the following into the Google search box:
alabama genealogical society
But if the state comprises two words then you will need quotations before and after the state’s name, as follows:
“new hampshire” genealogical society
Similar to Google you can find just about anything on social media, or rather any company, organization, charity or whatever you are searching for.
Just about any business will be posting on social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus.
So log on to your account and try searching for a genealogy society that way.
The great thing about this approach is that you will be able to communicate with family historians within that society.
And who knows you may even connect with a distant cousin.
Thank You and Please Leave A Comment
I hope you enjoyed this helping you to find a genealogy society both near and far. If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below.
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