Geneabloggers' 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy is to examine genealogy societies in your region.
This is a challenge I'm quite excited about because there are several societies and organizations in my area that provide wonderful resources and events.
Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society, (LLCGS) Lincoln, Nebraska
I consider this my "home" society. Not only do I live here, but I feel that as a genealogist I am very fortunate because my maternal ancestors and family have been in the area since the early 1870s and my father's family has been here since the mid 1920s. It means that a lot of my family history is within arms reach at all times.
Society meetings are held at 7:15 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month and meet at the Dick Administration Building at Union College. Business meetings and announcements are followed by an informative and educational presentation on some aspect of genealogy or family history research.
The resource I find most valuable to my research is the society's searchable online database that contains information about cemeteries and marriages. I can't even begin to count the number of my family members for whom I've located burial or marriage information. In the case of marriage records, the search result will provide the book and page number where the record can be found in the Lancaster county marriage records. Cemetery records provide a link to the page of the society's cemetery index publication.
When it comes to publications, here is a list of those developed and offered for sale by the society.
The society's library is located at the Union College Library, 3800 South 48th Street in Lincoln. The library includes materials on Lancaster county and the city of Lincoln, exchange newsletters and quarterlies, research guides on specific topics and geographic areas.
The society sponsors conferences in which nationally recognized speakers are brought in. The most recent was last month's presentation by John Colletta. The society also publishes a monthly newsletter. Society members teach beginning and intermediate genealogy classes at Southeast Community College.
Presently, individual membership is $15 and a family membership is $20.
Greater Omaha Genealogical Society (GOGS), Omaha, Nebraska
I'm in my first year of membership in GOGS and just last weekend attended my first conference sponsored by the society. Since many of my relatives lived in Omaha, Douglas County, Cass County and Sarpy County, this society provides resources to aid in my research in those areas. The society's blog, linked above, serves as the society's web site.
Society meetings are held at 7:00 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month except July, August and December at the Crown Point Retirement Center, 2820 S. 80th Street in Omaha.
At this time, membership is $20 for individuals or $25 for family. The society publishes a newsletter and provides announcements via email. The society offers free workshops, research library lock-ins, publications, member discounts on conferences, and a tape rental library. Genealogical resources are housed at the W. Dale Clark Library in Omaha.
Publications available from the Society are listed on the web site.
Now, on to the really good stuff! The Society has provided an amazing resource of event indexes on the web. On each of the following links, the index is located by alphabetical letter on the right side of the screen.
Omaha Births - these have been extracted from newspaper obituaries. Copies of the birth announcement are available from the Society for $5.
Omaha Marriages and Anniversaries - This is an index to the marriage records available on microfilm at the W. Dale Clark Library.
Omaha Obituaries - now has more than 200,000 listings!
Cass County marriages - this is of great interest to me as many of my ancestors settled and lived here. Copies are available for $5.
Sarpy County marriages - more than 9,000 listings at this writing.
The Society's indexes now also extend well outside of the greater Omaha area with the following listings:
Brown County marriages - more than 2,500 listings at this writing.
Hall County marriages - more than 4,500 listings at this writing.
Rock County marriages - more than 4,000 listings at this writing.
Thurston County marriages - nearly 2,000 listings at this writing. Source of many Native American names
Wayne County marriages - more than 1,000 listings at this writing.
Nebraska State Genealogical Society
This is another society membership that I treasure. The state society has a web site and a page on Facebook. The Society also has the Tombstone Photo Project which now has more than 55,000 entries.
Society membership is $20 for individual or $23 for family. This includes subscriptions to the quarterly publications, Nebraska Ancestree and the NewBrassKey. Membership also gives you access to the members only portion of the web site which includes three decades worth of Nebraska Ancestree publications. Yes, I've found some information on my family there!
The Society sponsors an annual conference. This year's conference in Norfolk featured two full days with Paula Stuart-Warren. The next annual conference will be held May 6 - 7, 2011 in Nebraska City.
The Society is also collaborating with Ancestry.com on the Nebraska newspaper digitization project.
The book library of the Society is housed at the Beatrice Public Library, 100 North 16th Street in Beatrice.
Members whose families settled in Nebraska may apply for a Pioneer Family of Nebraska certificate if their family settled here between 1868 and 1879. First Family certificates are an option if your ancestors settled here before 1867. Century Family recognition is for those whose ancestors settled in Nebraska at least 100 years prior to the submission of the application. I just realized that my ancestors fit all three categories!
Society resources include a variety of Nebraska, county and newspaper records on microfilm that can be checked out.
In addition to these genealogical societies, I also hold membership in the Cass County Historical Society Museum in Plattsmouth and the Nebraska State Historical Society. The Nebraska State Historical Society's blog is absolutely one of my favorites to follow. It always has great photos and stories from the museum's collection. The society is also active on Facebook.
When a person has access to such great resources, it's easy to take them for granted. None of these societies would be what they are today without the work of their team of dedicated volunteers and members. My heartfelt thanks to all of those people who keep these societies, their libraries and archives viable resources for researchers.