Last fall I became a member of Sonoma County Genealogical Society. I really didn’t know what to expect when I attended my first meeting. I was pleasantly surprised from the moment I entered the meeting room. I thought there’d be a large crowd and I’d be sitting by myself not knowing anyone. I couldn’t have been more mistaken.
One of the board members greeted me at the door and invited me to enjoy the refreshments. The first hour of the meeting was informal with some quick announcements and introductions of new members. Members and/or guests were then encouraged to participate in a “show & tell” about any breakthroughs, frustrations or anything of interest that has happened recently in their research. It’s the only forum I know where you can talk about the minutia of genealogy and not have the eyes of the entire audience glaze over.
In the second hour a guest speaker made a presentation to the Society on a topic that is of interest to the general membership. The topics covered this year were wide-ranging. Many of the speakers are local residents, and some are members of the Society. I can say that I learned something from every one of the presentations this year. The subjects covered were: Marriage in America, DNA and Genealogy, Using the Library, PerSI [PERiodical Source Index], and How to Find People in the 1940 Census without a Name Index.
The SCGS has a number of special interest groups. These meet monthly or bi-monthly and the focus is on a specific area. I attended meetings of the British and German groups and I’m very glad I did. In addition to talking about genealogy, we all got to know each other a little better. It’s hard to do that in the general meetings. I am not exaggerating when I say that everyone I’ve met so far is very friendly and eager to help other researchers.
The SCGS Board meets monthly and because I am interested in becoming more involved in the Society, I decided to attend a meeting. Board meetings are open to all members, though apparently very few non-board members attend. When I explained to the President why I was there, she was very welcoming and actually gave me a couple jobs.
In a few weeks the SCGS will be presenting their annual Spring Seminar with guest speaker, Connie Lenzen. It’s an all-day event and I am really looking forward to it. Joining the Sonoma County Genealogical Society and becoming involved with the local genealogy community has been a great experience. I would enthusiastically recommend to anyone who is passionate about genealogy that they join their own local society and get involved.
52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy: Local genealogical and historical societies are the lifeblood of genealogy. Members and volunteers give their time and money to preserve local history and promote family history. Tell us about a local society for which you are thankful.