Benefits of membership

As your research takes focus, you may likely come across societies that publish related genealogical magazines and books. Joining the group or subscribing to the journal (usually the same thing) can add immensely to your findings.

For me, the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society, with its deep archives and marvelous quarterly Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage, has been especially helpful even though very little of my ancestry was Mennonite itself. Instead, what I got was insights on the culture and practices that also influenced my Dunker/Brethren, Amish, and River Brethren families. In addition, the book service made possible the purchase of many related books, many of them from obscure presses. Through this source, too, I learned more about my Wesleyan-based United Brethren roots than I had growing up in the church.

The Southern Friend, the journal of the North Carolina Historical Society, and the quarterly periodical of the Guilford County Genealogical Society – along with the books published by each group – proved essential for my understanding, to say nothing of family data I would have never turned up on my own. The Fellowship of Brethren Genealogists and its newsletter rounded out my memberships.

~*~

What genealogical groups have you joined? How have they helped? What success have you had from the Queries pages of their magazines? What advice do you have for finding the right affiliation? What periodicals have been especially helpful? What about online services like Ancestry.com? Any others?

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