Thursday, October 15, 2009


The deadline for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is about 45 minutes
away and I'm still trying to come up with a piece on "My Favorite Genealogy
Society." The reason it's been so difficult is that I've been a member of only one society,
the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and I haven't renewed my membership
since it expired last summer. As much as I enjoy its website and its publications, I can't
justify the cost of yearly membership when I might only visit the NEHGS building
once or twice a year. This might horrify some of my geneablogging friends but I've
learned more about my family from Google Books than I have from the NEGHS.

The closest local genealogical society is the South Shore Genealogical Society
which meets two towns over in Hanover on the second Saturday of the month from
September to June. Unfortunately the meetings are at 1:30pm in the afternoon
when I'm at work in the bookstore.

I'd like to have the time and financial stability to be an active contributing member
of a genealogical society but the harsh reality is that I work retail. I work on Saturdays
and many nights when I get out of work I just want to go home and relax. Perhaps
in another five years when I reach full retirement age I'll be able to take an active
part in a society. I strongly suspect that I am not alone in having to look at it this way.

Until then, I'll be making the occasional visit to the NEHGS.


Harriet said...

You are not alone! I have to limit the money I put into my Genealogy research, right now my money goes to those things where I know I am getting something useful.

Miriam said...

You're right that not everyone is fortunate to live within close distance to a genealogical society or has a schedule that works well with their meeting times. I do hope once you retire that you will take the opportunity to check out your nearest society.

Heather Rojo said...

Even though I only visit NEHGS's library once or twice a year, I use their website several times a week. I understand that it is very expensive to maintain their databases, so my membership is sort of a donation towards their online databases. However, I can also understand that the membership is expensive. For those willing to only use the online sites and newsletters, and to forgo the library and printed journals, perhaps they could have a discounted membership? It would be the "green" thing to do (in saving paper, gas, parking, etc.)

Karen Packard Rhodes said...

I understand your position -- especially about your schedule! I do hope that, once you do retire, you can become more active in your local society -- and in NEHGS.

I'm a member of NEHGS from down here in Florida, and have not yet had the chance to go to the library up there. Never been to Boston, in fact. I hope to begin putting some money aside soon -- now that my computer is paid for -- so that I can go in a couple years to "Come Home to New England." I am really looking forward to that!

Bill West said...

Thanks Harriet, Miriam, Heather,
and Karen for your comments!


Apple said...

I am a member of my local society but the dues aren't all that much. I see it mostly as support for them because like you, I can rarely make a meeting. Their day long workshop is today and I'll be at work.

Terry Thornton said...

Bill, For many years after I started doing a little genealogy research I resisted joining a local historical society too --- there was never the time and there was often never the extra funds to do so. I hope that when you retire you find the time and the means to become an active member of a society --- and I encourage you to then do what I've done the past two years --- a small annual donation to the society earmarked for their online presence. I am of the opinion that the internet will be the salvation of local societies so I'm trying to help our group both maintain as well as expand its online presence. Our mutual blogging friend, Bob Franks, maintains the society's online archives and has done a wonderful job of moving an otherwise traditional based historical society into the digital age. Your local society will welcome your expertise in the use of the internet.

Terry Thornton
Fulton, Mississippi

Bill West said...

Thanks for the comments, Apple and