April 2nd, 2013

Want More Free Genealogy Resources? Join a Genealogical Society

One of the best ways to access quality free genealogy resources is to join a genealogical society. Besides their wealth of historical documents and reading material, they are at the forefront of genealogical research. One of the best genealogical resources these organizations offer is their free journals. Their journals are well-respected for their quality genealogical continent, which consists of family histories, case studies, new research methodology updates, and generally helpful instructional material. If you would really like to expand your knowledge of genealogy and hone your research skills, you won’t find a better modem than these precious free genealogy resources.

The best way to decide on a genealogical society to join is to first have a look at their journal. They will all be of high quality, but there may be one that has content more relevant to your own project than the others. You can generally access information about the journal on any society’s website; normally they feature sample issues and extracts, as well as general information on the journal and how to subscribe. Following is a list of genealogical societies that offer free genealogical resources to their members, and a summary of their focus and journal content.

The Irish Genealogical Research Society

The Irish Genealogical Research Society was established in 1936 in the Office of the York Herald, London. The founding members were genealogists concerned at the loss of valuable genealogical material and their aim was to collect and preserve copies of documentation produced before the destruction of the Public Record Office in Dublin in 1922.  Their mission remains much as envisioned in 1936 and they are actively involved in the acquisition of manuscripts and other printed works of genealogical consequence.

Their present focus is on the collection of copies of wills and the acquisition of documentation regarding Irish births, marriages, and deaths up to 1864. Their journal is produced annually and is free to members. It is of a very high standard and can be found in many libraries around the world. It contains genealogical data such as abstracts of Irish Wills, periodicals, Baptismal registers, instructions on how to find and decipher Irish records, and much more. Membership for non-residents ofIreland is £20, or around $30 per year.

New England Historic Genealogical Society

The Journal of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), the New England Historical and Genealogical Register is the oldest in the field, and is considered the mother journal of American genealogy. The journal focuses on compiling authoritative genealogies from theNew England area. It features many articles of genealogical instruction, such as identifying immigrant origins, and is published quarterly.

Membership in the society not only gives you access to their journal and online archive, but to over 3,000 more online databases. The authenticity of the NEHGS and the degree to which it is respected in genealogical circles is reflected in their past and current membership. Some notables who have been, and currently are, members of the NEHGS include; Ulysses S. Grant, Washington Irving, Woodrow Wilson, Albert 1, King of Belgium,  Bill Clinton, Gerald and Betty Ford, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, Julia Childs, and Charlton Heston. If you want to rub shoulders (even virtually) with the rich and famous while availing yourself of some incredible free genealogy resources, you can apply via email on their website.

National Genealogical Society

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) was established in 1903. Their aim is to “To serve and grow the genealogical community by providing education and training, fostering increased quality and standards, and promoting access to and preservation of genealogical records.” One of the ways the NGS accomplishes their mission is through the publication of their journal, National Genealogical Society Quarterly, which was first published in 1912.

The “Quarterly” contains a wealth of instructional material, covering topics such as; how to interpret records that do not mean what they seem to say; how to cope with name changes, illegitimacies, destroyed records, and other genealogical roadblocks. Specific articles address topics such as; how to research different ethnic groups; how to tell the difference between individuals of the same name; how to conduct research in specific states; and how to identify the origins of immigrant ancestors.

Membership in the NGS costs $65 per year, but you get much more than just access to their journal. They also publish a quarterly magazine which features genealogical instruction and articles. Typical topics include courthouse records, immigration, migration, case studies and more.  They also offer genealogy courses to members, some of which are; American Genealogy, Genetic Genealogy, Introduction to Religious Records, Transcribing, Extracting, and Abstracting in Genealogical Records, and Special Federal Census Schedules.

Genealogical societies provide a wealth of free genealogical resources to their members. An investment in a membership is an investment in your past, and in your future. One of the greatest benefits is the access to large libraries and online databases that contain hundreds of millions of names and many historical and genealogical records that can’t be found elsewhere. If you are serious about genealogy, you should serious consider joining a genealogical society; they offer much more than just free genealogy resources!