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* All about ethnic and religious organizations

Throughout the United States, there are ethnic and religious organizations that collect information about specific groups of people. For example, you can find organizations that concentrate on Irish, African, or Jewish people in the United States. This topic tells you how ethnic and religious organizations may help you in your research.

Photograph of Chinatown Photo courtesy of Kimberly Mullin.

Normally, ethnic and religious groups have a wealth of material relating to both life in the "old country" as well as life in the United States. You may find information about customs, foods, language, dress, occupations, traditions, migration patterns, as well as history, activities, and influence in the United States.

In addition, some ethnic and religious groups will be able to give you information about the clubs and mutual aid societies that people of a particular ethnic background formed when they arrived in the United States. These clubs and mutual aid societies played an important role in the lives of many immigrants -- helping them preserve their customs and pass on traditions to their children. Many of these societies maintained records that may be of interest to you if one of your ancestors was a member.

Finally, some ethnic and religious groups maintain records of historical and genealogical interest. If they don't, they may be able to direct you to archives, societies, libraries, or genealogical groups that do have the information you need. For addresses and more complete information about specific ethnic and religious organizations, see the topic International, ethnic, and religious organizations.

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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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