Usually this interest manifests itself in a group
of people who form their own society or association, focused on a mutual
interest. The interested group could also be an institution, repository,
archive, or historical agency. On occasion a single researcher may share
the interest with a professional or personal interest in your ancestor's
These other interested people and groups are sources
of information and help as you trace the origins of an immigrant ancestor.
Genealogical societies exist throughout the United
States and Canada in every state or province, most counties and many
major cities. The people in these societies share the same interest
you do: individually discovering a heritage. They gather
together, usually monthly, to learn from each other about how to trace
their ancestry. They recognize that together they are much more knowledgeable
about the ins and outs of family history research than they are individually.
Many of these societies include experts on the very
topics you may want to learn, including immigration sources and research
strategies. Often they invite other knowledgeable, trained professionals
to address their group and share more information.
Most societies also work to preserve the records of
the geographical area where they are located. As a result they index
and/or publish the records of local governments, churches, institutions,
businesses, and other groups in a specific area. As described below,
these publications may have the answers you seek about an immigrant.