Friday, 19 September 2014

Have you thought about joining a Family Society, Association, or Organization?

When I first started to explore my family history, I discovered periodicals that were produced by Family Organizations.  These presented wonderful clues for me.  I was able to follow their research to know how and where to explore to prove my ancestors.  Sometimes the thesis that a researcher on the family presented proved wrong, but isn't that the purpose?  You present and idea and then prove or disprove it?  They collaborate with information and delight in sharing pictures or "finds" they have made.  It is a place you can bounce ideas off of.  Researchers are the beneficiaries of the newsletters or publications which the member's donations fund the subscriptions to various libraries. (I funded the Vance Newsletter for Clayton Genealogical Library in Houston.)  Many now have a DNA project they manage for their surname.  Don't be discouraged if you aren't a male descendant. Many are beginning to recognize the value of atDNA tests (autosomal) and are adding them.
My example of a newsletter front.

How do you find your "Family Organization?"  Some Organizations are a Surname that pulls in people that had the same surname.  I found in the United States, it often follows the theme of a myth, for example:"three brothers came to the United States..." For my Mayflower ancestors, there were is the lineage society of the Mayflower and individuals, such as The Pilgrim John Howland Society.  I am being simplistic here; there are many family societies of all shapes and sizes. Some require a membership fee, usually because they have a project which fees provides funds to support.  Some don't have membership fees, but do require a pedigree to prove relationship.  Again, I am just giving examples.  
Finding your Family Organization or Association may prove problematic.  You can find some that are listed in books written by people who have researched names, periodicals in the genealogy department, and organizations like the Federation of Genealogy Societies membership.  Directory of Family Associations Paperback –1996 by Elizabeth Petty Bentley (check your local library, or it is available in paperback online) is one book available.  
On the internet, searching for a surname organization is not always intuitive.  The title could be an acronym instead of the name. Some of the organizations are not on the internet or have moved to social media sites like Facebook.  That is when organizations like the United Kingdom FFHS and Cindi’s List come in handy.
I have the privilege of helping compile and add Family Organizations to a FamilySearch Wiki page.   It has been sad to see many old organizations have disbanded because of age related problems, since no new younger people showed and interest.  There are many unanswered or unproven mysteries in family files.  Those who have proven their ancestors can help the new or continuing researcher to sort out the records best for the researcher's use. There is good to be done by participating in a Family Society.  I digress.
Going back to my "job", for those of you that know of a Family Society, Organization, or Association, come to the Wiki, see if it is there, if it is not add it.  The word is Wiki. It is for anyone to edit, correct or add information to. It is good advertising to seek out members.
These are some resources for seeing if your Family Society is still active and you can join. 
Some family societies join State and Nation Societies where you can find a list.
Federation of Genealogical Societies
Directory of Family Associations Paperback –1996 by Elizabeth Petty Bentley (check your local library, or it is available in paperback online. 
Cyndi's List has Surname, Family Associations and Family Newletters.  unfortunately through no fault of her own, many links are broken.   
Sometimes when associated with a specific organiztion you can find them on the Wikipedia such as the List of Mormon Family Organizations.  It says Mormon but many are New England ancestors common to member and nonmember alike.
Another resource is GenWeb Counties like Washington, Tennessee, they list Associations related to their county. 
Some Blogger's have lists on their blogs too. 
This is the FamilySearch Wiki pages. It is a work in progress; names have been searched and discovered through the internet. 

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