Be a Member!

October 24, 2020

Are you a member of a genealogical society in your community? We realize that many readers of our social media posts are not members of the Ohio Genealogical Society or any organized family history group for that matter.

Why not? I don’t have any ancestors here. They meet on the night that I reserve for my family. My enthusiasm with genealogy doesn’t go beyond my computer screen. I did go to a meeting once and I just didn’t know anyone there. We have heard all the excuses.

Many genealogical groups now offer their periodical online. Did you know that OGS members can access all issues of The Report, Ohio Records and Pioneer Families, the OGS Newsletter, Ohio Genealogy News, the Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly, and the Ohio Civil War Genealogy Journals from their home computer? They go back to 1959 and are even searchable. Many societies are hosting online speakers for their monthly family history programming during this pandemic period. Most groups release the link or passcode to the virtual presentation only to their members.

Did you know that the Ohio Genealogical Society’s county chapters have published over 2,000 books on genealogical records in Ohio? These are still under copyright, so you will not generally see these works from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s online anywhere. Many indexed databases have been created from these earlier society projects. Have you ever used these to search for your ancestors in that county in another state? Not every member of the group that produced that work lived in or had ancestors in that county, but they volunteered to assist in the production of that resource, and we as genealogists are better for it.

We encourage you to join genealogical groups in the areas where your ancestors resided, and it is a must to take an active role in the society that operates in the county where you live. You’ll learn much about genealogy and you will create a new set of friends.

Also keep in mind that family history groups are non-profits. They generally operate under the charitable codes of a given state. Their members must raise the funds to continue to operate, to fund their library, to secure speakers, and to complete projects. Memberships are the main revenue stream for these groups. We encourage you to support them.

You may join the Ohio Genealogical Society under the Join tab at – $40 for single membership ($45 joint; $50 family). A whole new world of digital offerings will open up to you to keep the candle burning late night!

Thomas Stephen Neel, Library Director