Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - Genealogy Discussion Group

In the post called Tuesday's Tip : Get Connected I talked about genealogy discussion groups. Several people replied they would love to have such a resource in the community. Here I will share a little about how our group began and evolved into the present format.

Several years ago a group of library patrons interested in genealogy began to meet at the branch. They were searching for like minded people to start monthly meetings.

A couple of months later they discovered a librarian very interested in genealogy. In fact she had been presenting beginning genealogy classes for patrons. Several members contacted Ann to seek guidance with this plan. Next thing you knew a genealogy discussion group was born.

Once a month the group would meet in the library conference room. They publicized the dates for these meetings in the libraries programming brochure. Before you knew it the group was attracting anywhere from 20 to 30 people each meeting.

We are a diverse group with varying expertise. We have members who have been researching for decades, and several who have just caught the bug. Areas of interest range from Ireland, Poland, England, Germany, France, Wales, and Romania. Then we have the techno geeks and those who have never been online. It is a wonderful mixture of people bonding over a common interest.

When I joined the group they were in full swing and very well organized. Themes for discussion are set months in advance. At each meeing minutes are taken, new members introduced, and ideas for future meetings discussed.

Occasionally there will be a guest speaker visiting our group. In the past we have had the president of a local genealogical society and librarian from the Maryland Law Library. Also, our members volunteer to create a presentation. Several of those have been about websites, how to research vital records, and book discussion.

There is a Yahoo group account available for all members. This allows everyone to upload new links, access minutes from meetings, share photographs, and pose questions.

Last month the group had begun to venture out on field trips. Interested members meet at the library and off we go to various location in and out of county. Next trip will be to the State Archives in Annapolis.

Here listed are two websites with useful information in creating your own genealogy discussion group.

How to Start Your Own Genealogy Group by Searching Family History

Where to Find a Genealogy Group by families.com

Look around you may find a group meeting in your public library. If not, start your own! As they say "if you build it they will come."


  1. Great! Thanks for sharing. I visit frequently with librarians, they would be interested in this to generate interest in usage of their library. : )

  2. Well, this is interesting. We have a local historical society, but not a genealogy society. I've toyed with the idea of starting one, but I really like the idea of a discussion group better. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Fabulous idea. KC metro area has several historical and genealogical societies, but not a discussion group. I will suggest this to our Midwest Genealogy Center! Thanks for the post.

  4. Just reading this post on your blog. Our area had a genealogical society which is now defunct. Several ladies and I are going to start a discussion group. We want it to be structured as a group, but still be informative, and a place where we can help each other with suggestions etc in our research.