While gathering information for my monthly "Fun With Search Terms" series, I came across a search phrase leading to my blog that warranted its own post and answer:
Should I join my local genealogy society if I don't have family here?
My answer is yes, and here's why:
You will meet new people that have an interest in genealogy like you do. It's really refreshing to be part of a group that enjoys family history and speaks about it enthusiastically. Conversations about censuses that incite snores at your own family dinner table are met with enthusiasm at local genealogy society meetings.
Programming at local society meetings often covers general genealogy topics that benefit all members. For example, I've attended meetings about genealogy DNA tests and military records. Sometimes small societies have local history programs as well. Even if the subject doesn't pertain to your own ancestors, there's always something interesting to learn. Plus, groups often have side meetings or opportunities for members to assist each other in research and brick wall advice. The collective wisdom in a local society is priceless.
Almost all local genealogy societies are non-profit and dependent on volunteers. Your participation helps local groups to survive. You can also volunteer your time or expertise by being an officer, a snack bringer, or an assistant for anything the society may need. You may even share your own genealogy knowledge by being a guest speaker for your own group.
I belong to several societies where I do not have any local history. I recently joined a friendly group on the other side of town. I have zero ancestry in this part of Texas, but I have enjoyed the programs. Last month the group hosted a local historian who talked about the old railroad depot and the train history of the area. It was very interesting. Plus the members are all so dang nice. It's always a good meeting.
Hopefully the person that searched my blog asking that question will read my answer. Jump on in and be a part of a group that shares your interest in family history. There's so much to gain.