Sunday, June 4, 2023

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: What Genealogical or Historical Societies Have You Joined?

For this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, Randy Seaver asks about our membership in groups, something I'll have to think about to answer, at least for the past ones.

Here is your assignment, should you decide to accept it (you ARE reading this, so I assume that you really want to play along; cue the Mission:  Impossible! music!):

1.  What genealogical or historical societies have you joined to pursue your family history research over the years?

2.  Write your own blog post, leave a comment on this post, or write something on Facebook.

I am pretty sure the first genealogical society I joined was the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society.  I found out about it from someone who came to the Oakland Family History Center.  That was way back about 20 years ago.  For several years that was my only membership.  I have stayed a member continuously since joining.

I was a member of the California State Genealogical Alliance from 2006 or 2007 until the group was dissolved in 2017.  In fact, I was one of the board members who voted in favor of and helped with the processing of the dissolution.

I think the next group I joined was the California Genealogical Society, in 2011, after giving a presentation to them about online newspapers.  I remained a member of CGS until I moved to Oregon.  I think my last year was 2018.

Soon after CGS I became a member of the African American Genealogical Society of Northern California (how's that for a mouthful?), in 2012.  That membership also ended when I moved to Oregon in 2017.

I think I was a member of the Southern California Genealogical Society for a couple of years in conjunction with having given presentations at Jamboree, but I can't remember which years.

The first group I joined after my move to Oregon was the Jewish Genealogical Society of Oregon.  As I recall, I joined not long after arriving in September 2017.  I had a break in membership for about a year but returned and am currently a member.

I began participating in the African American Special Interest Group of the Genealogical Forum of Oregon also soon after I moved here, but that group is open to the public and didn't require joining officially — until I volunteered to take over as coordinator after the founder of the group stepped down.  To be a SIG coordinator, you have to be a member of GFO.  So I joined and have maintained that membership through to the present.

I was a member of the Oberlin African American Genealogy and History Group in 2020 and 2021, but I forgot to renew for 2022 and they didn't remind me.  Earlier this year I sent a message asking about current benefits of membership but was told that I would find out about benefits only after joining.  I didn't consider that the best way to market the group and still haven't decided if I'm going to renew.

I joined the Jewish Genealogical Society of Long Island in 2021 as a life member, so that's still current.

I was given a membership in the Virtual Genealogical Society because I gave a presentation at its 5th birthday party this year.  Hmm, I don't think I've received any messages from them since then, but it was only a month ago.

I can't recall ever having joined a historical society.

So that makes my current memberships SFBAJGS, JGSO, JGSLI, GFO, and VGS.


  1. Thank you for reminding me about the Virtual Genealogical Association. I quickly added that to my list this morning. Very strange that the one society won't tell you about current benefits until after you join. Most societies advertise why you should join. I think I would message them back with a comment about that not being the best marketing procedure.

    1. I know, I was really surprised when I received that message. I have sent a response explaining that I would like to know what I will be getting for my payment before I send one. I'm waiting to hear back about that before I comment about improving their marketing.

  2. It seems strange that the one society won't tell you member benefits until after you join. Most use that to draw in new members. Maybe they don't really offer any special benefits now, but their reluctance to explain would put me off joining.

    1. Definitely! I have never received a response like that before. "Gee, trust me, you'll be getting your money's worth!" Um, no, really, what will I be getting?

  3. You definitely have a theme for the societies you join. What a crazy society for not telling you the benefits before joining.

    1. It's certainly the only time I can remember I've had it happen. What I was told exactly was, "I hope you decide to join us. I guarantee you will not be disappointed." I'll try to remember to post if she responds to my recent message!


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