Monday, January 6, 2014

New Year's Resolution: Join a Genealogy Group

A couple of months ago I moved from New York City to the Washington, DC metro area. Just like when I moved to the US, one of the first things I did was find out if there was a local Irish genealogy group. Luckily, I found one at the Washington DC Family History Center. I'm going to my first meeting tomorrow night and am looking forward to learning from others and contributing my knowledge.

Whether you have Irish ancestry or not I cannot recommend enough for you to join a genealogy group. Genealogy groups and societies come in all shapes and sizes: ethnic (Irish, Italian, German, etc.), geographic (New England, New Jersey, Antelope Valley, CA), and national (National Genealogical Society, Genealogical Society of Ireland etc.).

There is something for everyone, whether you know all the townlands of origin of all your Irish ancestors or only know they come from Ireland. If you have been researching for years and know your civil parishes from your civil registration districts then it is a chance to help others with their research. If you are just starting out, you can avail of the expert knowledge of others and avoid the pitfalls of genealogy research. Many groups also offer workshops, expert talks, visits to libraries and archives, and have excellent newsletters.

So where can you find Irish genealogy groups in the US and Canada? Well, you can start with the 'Groups and Societies' section of this site, where you will find all the groups that I am currently aware of. If you live too far to go to meetings a membership can still be worth it for the emails, newsletters, and other communications that are sent out. More broadly, the Federation of Genealogy Societies maintains an extensive database of U.S and Canadian groups on their website.

So, if you are still looking for a new year's resolution, join a genealogy group!

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