Genealogy

Utilizing My Membership with NGS

I previously wrote a post on joining a genealogical society. The one I have joined that I get the most out of is my membership to NGS, or the National Genealogical Society. Based in Falls Church, Virginia, NGS has been around for 119 years. In the past few years, they have combined with the Federation of Genealogical Societies, where they assist local genealogical societies as a part of their mission

Membership

If you feel you want to join NGS, click here to go to their membership page. As part of your subscription, you receive the NGS Magazine that is filled with an abundance of great articles and often relays information about the upcoming NGS Conference, stories about the area where it is taking place, and food for thought on types of documents where you might find your ancestors living or working.

The other periodical you receive is the National Genealogical Quarterly, which presents members cases about how they have proved they are related to their people. It’s always informative as it could give you an idea on how to go about your own brick wall in your own family tree.

There is also a monthly email which provide you with articles pertaining to methodology and news dealing with genealogy.

Photo of the most recent NGS Magazine and National Genealogical Quarterly

Education

Were you aware that there are classes you can take if you have a membership to the National Genealogical Society? You can, and some are FREE! (Yes, it’s my favorite word again). Others do have a fee, but those are for more advanced learning or in regard to a specific topic. (If you do not want to join some of these courses are offered at a higher price to non-members).

Click here to visit the Learning Center page of the NGS website

I am presently working my way through the Foundations 101 course offered by NGS on the basics of genealogy. There are 5 modules detailing Getting Started, Home Sources, Family Stories, Traditions, and Interviews, Names & Establishing Identities, and lastly the Research Plan. Once completed I will move on to Foundations 201. You can purchase these classes individually or bundled together.

Books

The National Genealogical Society has published a number of books to help researchers find the members of their family tree. From beginner books such as “Paths to Your Past, An Introductory to Finding Your Ancestors” to books that deal with advanced topics like “Genetic Genealogy in Practice” or “Mastering Genealogical Proof” or “Genealogy and the Law”, NGS offers a variety of educational books to help you succeed with your research.

My copy of Thomas W. Jones book “Mastering Genealogical Proof”

Forum

Forum is a newer feature to the NGS website. It is an interactive community for individual members, society, library, archive, and museum delegates, while they also have another area pertaining for NGS committees and workgroups. In order to use Forum there is an entire page of faqs detailing your username and password, how to update/create a profile, how to make contacts and connections, and how to join and subscribe to communities.

If you are a member of NGS, to investigate Forum click here

It is highly stressed that Forum is to be a safe place for members. And you must be an NGS member to participate. They have different communities relating to the NGS Conference, methodology and best practices, another specifically for Family History Month, and lastly one for societies and organizations. Once you join a community you can receive email’s relating to the current material in updates as it happens or a daily digest.

Conference

Each year the National Genealogical Society has a conference that is hosted by a different area of the country. Since I’ve been a member of NGS their conference has been in St. Charles, Missouri, Salt Lake City, Utah, Sacramento, California, and next year will be in Richmond, Virginia.

Each conference has a theme and respected speakers who share their knowledge with diverse programming. With the merger of NGS and the Federation of Genealogical Societies they now have a dedicated day to SLAM (Societies, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) and how to grow and maintain these essential organizations.

In recent years NGS has had both in-person and virtual offerings for their conference, and an “on demand” package can be purchased to view classes at your leisure once the conference has ended.

To check out the On Demand packages from the NGS 2022 Conference click here

In Summary

As you can see the National Genealogical Society has a lot to offer individuals and organizations in their pursuit of their ancestry. If you have never checked out the website, I encourage you to do so, as I really feel I get a great deal out of my membership each year, between the publications, the emails, and the educational opportunities that the society provides.

Genealogy

Joining a Genealogical Society

Have you joined a genealogical society? A few years ago I joined three different societies, beginning with my local county chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society (also known as OGS), OGS, and the National Genealogical Society. Later I joined a fourth, an online only society in an area of the United States that pertains to my ancestral journey.

Why Join a Genealogy Society?

I love genealogical societies, because they are a great resource for your research. At the various levels, whether it’s county, state, or national, each has something that stands out to make it unique.

County Level

My local Summit County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society is a wonderful resource because it meets monthly (except in August and December). At these meetings, which are the third Saturday of the month, we have speakers pertaining to different topics. As I type this tomorrow is our meeting, and our program is “Useful Tools for Those with German Ancestors” by Dana Palmer. She is one of my favorite presenters, discovering her at a Family History Day at the Summit County Family History Center in October 2018.

This past year we attempted to have a research day at the Akron-Summit County Public Library in the Special Collections department, which has several computers available for access to online databases (Ancestry, FamilySearch, MyHeritage, FindMyPast, AmericanAncestors, and more, you just need a library card). They also have books on local history and genealogy from all over the country (possibly all 50 states, if not, it’s close) to aid in sources not online. We ended up doing mostly solo research, but it was nice to know others were there in case we needed to float ideas.

Presently our meetings are hybrid, meaning we meet in person at a conference room at the main library but members can also be a part of the meeting from their homes via Zoom.

Summit County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society (www.summitogs.org)

Ohio Genealogical Society

The Ohio Genealogical Society is the largest genealogical society in the United States and has a wonderful 4-day conference each spring that moves between three locations: Cincinnati, Columbus, and Sandusky (I wish they would do one in my area, not that the drive has prevented me from attending).

They also do a weekend retreat in the Fall at a rustic getaway (picture cabins in the woods) with high profile speakers discussing topics of interest. I looked at their event page and not much was listed, but their recently updated website has a number of genealogical resources available, but you must be a member to view.

Ohio Genealogical Society (www.ogs.org)

The National Genealogical Society

There is a higher price tag to become a member for the National Genealogical Society but I find it to be worth it. Along with free classes there are classes you can purchase in order to be a better family historian.

Like OGS, NGS has a yearly conference that takes place in a different location every year. Since I’ve been a member they have been in St. Louis, Salt Lake City, Richmond, and this years is to take place in Sacramento. They have both in person, virtual, and on-demand options for attending.

A little over a year ago NGS merged with the Federation of Genealogical Societies and now have these societies as a focus in the NGS Magazine. By combining both organizations they can focus on caring for the needs of all areas of family historians.

This past week (or maybe it was last week), NGS launched Forum, a member community where members can discuss family history with each other, but societies, libraries, archives, and museums associates can “discuss building successful genealogy organizations”. This sounds like a great way for ideas to be bounced around and for you to communicate with others, possibly where you are researching.

NGS also has two wonderful magazines, one with a hodge podge of information, the NGS Magazine, and one that is filled with case studies, National Genealogical Society Quarterly. Both are valuable tools for the family historian.

The NGS website also lists a number of events on their website for their own sponsored events as well as other genealogical societies across the United States. They are all quite helpful for those who want to continue to learn.

National Genealogical Society (www.ngsgenealogical.org)

Painted Hills Genealogy

Painted Hills Genealogy Society is a website I stumbled upon and that I value so much. It has so much information on the website, and your dues allow you access to an exclusive Facebook group. The website pertains to southwestern New York counties (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chatauqua, Livingston, and Steuben) and two northwestern Pennsylvania counties (Potter and McKean). These are the counties (both New York and Pennsylvania) where my Dunbar, Williams, and Gustin families all hail from on my maternal side of the family. Joining a society that is all about the area you are researching is simply invaluable.

Painted Hills Genealogy Society (www.paintedhills.org)

To Sum It All Up

So, whether you join just locally or want to broaden your horizons, there is so much to gain by becoming a member of a genealogical society. Each society has something to offer, and you can normally learn a lot about them by visiting their website (I’ve included links above to all the ones I’ve talked about today).

Take some time from your researching to check out these valuable resources. If your budget is limited choose only one to sign up for but make sure it’s one you know you will get the most bang for your buck. Sometimes it’s worth signing up for society in the area of the country that will most benefit your researching (as I have the Painted Hills Genealogy).

I know my local society allows visitors to check them out, or even if they have a program that you are interested in. Everyone is always welcome, so take a chance and become involved! You’re only going to find people with the same hobby as you!