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* All about historical and genealogical societies

Historical and genealogical societies come in all shapes and sizes. You'll find them at the local, county, state, and national levels. All of them offer a variety of activities and resources. This topic tells you how historical and genealogical societies may help you in your research. Click any of the topics listed in the last paragraph of this topic to see the addresses, phone numbers, and services offered by a variety of historical and genealogical societies.

During the course of your genealogical research, you may come into contact with one of these societies. Joining or working with a historical or genealogical society can be a real boost to your research, because it's nice to know and speak with people who have interests similar to your own. However, if you contact a historical or genealogical society, you'll find out that they often have much more to offer than just moral support.

A genealogical society represents years of genealogical research experience. If you're having trouble with a specific problem, the staff or members may be able to offer hints to help you out. It's likely that someone else in the group has already been through the same problem.

Many historical and genealogical societies work to preserve records and other materials of historical or genealogical interest in their location. Some maintain libraries of their own where you may do research, and others donate their work to local universities and libraries. Societies with their own libraries often have a good collection of local history and local family histories. Contacting a society in the area where your ancestors lived may lead you to a book about your family, and can be a good way to learn where important information may be stored.

Historical and genealogical societies also have newsletters that can be invaluable in genealogical research. While the newsletters serve to inform readers of the society's work and meetings, they also publish regional genealogical and historical information that has not been published elsewhere. This is often information that the society has collected itself, such as epitaphs from local cemeteries, or local records or documents that are thought to be of genealogical use. In addition, many people looking for relatives in a specific location put ads in the genealogical newsletter in that location. It is quite possible that you could see an ancestor's name in a society newsletter.

To locate a national genealogical society, see the topic Historical and genealogical societies with a national focus. To locate a genealogical society in the state where you live or in a state where you are researching, see the topic Resources by state. If you are looking for a historical or genealogical society for a particular county or town, contact that state's genealogical society. The staff there will be able to provide you with a list of historical or genealogical societies for your particular county or town. Click here for an actual family story about genealogical societies.

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Keys to successful genealogical research:

*Preparing for outside research

*Using libraries

*Taking notes

*Problems with reading old records: what to watch for

*Determining accuracy of information

*Other danger zones

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