Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Favorite Genealogical Society

What's your favorite genealogical society?
Do you belong to a society?
Tell us why! Or if not, why not?

The Fairfax Genealogical Society is so far the only genealogy society I have joined. Since I joined in Octobeer 2008, in addition to attending the regular meetings, I have participated in the following events sponsored by the Society: three field trips (Family History Center, Library of Congress, and NARA), one two-day genealogy conference, and two brick wall workshops. There were many other field trips, educational programs, and Special Interest Group meetings I could have attended as well. That’s a lot for $22 a year.

The Society works with the Fairfax County Main Library on various projects and provides the Library’s Virginia Room with genealogical books (not just on Virginia subjects) purchased with member donations. Members have participated in cemetery surveys and indexes, a Colonial census substitute project, a Fairfax County War of 1812 soldiers and veterans database, transcriptions and compilations of Fairfax County Revolutionary War muster lists, and many other projects. There is a monthly newsletter, a surname exchange list, and a calendar of upcoming local genealogical events for the area (Virginia, Maryland, and more).

The Society has a good number of members (400-500) and many are active members. There are quite a few professional genealogists and highly knowledgeable amateurs among their ranks; there are SIGs for the Board for Certification of Genealogists and for the NGS home study course.

The Fairfax Genealogical Society is not totally immune to some of the problems that plague genealogy societies these days – aging membership and a volunteer position here and there that goes untilled for a while. However, the enthusiasm and hard work of the volunteers keep the momentum up and new members are introduced at every meeting.

These are a few of the many reasons that the Fairfax Genealogical Society was the first genealogical society for me to join. It won’t be the last; I plan to join others, but gradually so that I can keep my “genealogy expenses” under control. Some societies that I plan to join are: the National Genealogical Society, Collin County Genealogical Society, North Texas Genealogical Association, the Greenville and Anderson Chapters of the South Carolina Genealogical Society, and Dallas Genealogical Society.

Submitted for the 82nd edition of the Carnival of Genealogy.


  1. ooooh I'm so jealous! I wish I lived just a bit closer! I'm trying to shake out some interest here in my area to start a society or even just a small club.

  2. I didn't mean to sound smug (hope it didn't come off that way!), but I just feel so grateful as a noob for being able to benefit so much. Hope you are able to get a group together - good luck!