Today was the day that I renewed my membership in several genealogy societies. I also decided not to renew memberships in two societies. Here are the reasons why and why not:
Renewed distance membership in small society.
I am a member of a very tiny society. They send me a small publication 4 times a year. I am invited to meetings, but never go because of the driving distance. I give them my money to support their group. I want them to keep going to preserve the area's history, and expect nothing else from them. I am happy to pay.
Renewed membership in regional society
Frankly, the society doesn't do many events and I don't know where my money goes. However, I really like the members. They're a fun crowd. Basically I pay to hang out with them.
Renewed distance membership in state society
I may never get to a meeting with this organization, but I love what they do. They have their act together as a group and make good contributions to genealogy. They also welcomed me as a distance member and put me to work. I am happy to support them from afar.
I also made the decision not to renew with two groups.
Let membership lapse in large society
Sometimes with big groups, individuals get lost in the crowd. I sent in my checks and received publications, but that was it. Differing philosophies on genealogy education made me decide that it's time for an amicable parting.
Let membership lapse in regional society
Shortly after I joined this society, an officer told me that the group events are geared toward the 55+ crowd. I was also told that there aren't many genealogy society officers my age because we have trouble keeping our commitments with all the other things going on in our lives (such as taking care of children, etc.). Really. I mentally dropped out on the spot and haven't been back. One less check to write this year and forever.
There are a couple more societies where my membership renewals come up mid-year. Barring any big change, I expect to renew those as well.
My reasons for belonging to genealogy societies depend on the group. Some I want to help fund. Some I expect to help me learn. Some I support because I admire the way they help others learn.
There are so many genealogy societies, historical societies, heritage societies, library friends groups, and more out there that depend on our financial support. It would be nice to fund them all, but we can't. That's why today I had to make choices to stay or go. Some were easy, some weren't. It made me wonder how others decide.
What about you? What do you look for in a genealogy society membership?