I think there are two really important reasons for joining a society-whether a local society, one in your ancestral homeland, or a national group. First, societies provide us with educational opportunities. This can be in the form of in person educational presentations, annual seminars or newsletters. Second, societies provide the opportunity to network with other genealogists. This can be so important to breaking down brick walls.
The National Genealogical Society (NGS), National Genealogical Society , provides many different member benefits. For your yearly membership fee, currently $60.00 for an individual, you receive two NGS print publications, the NGS Newsmagazine and the NGS Quarterly as well as their email newsletter. Both print publications are well worth the price of membership. The quarterly Newsmagazine has great articles that teach genealogists about resources and methodology that is useful for the beginner as well as those who are more advanced in their research skills. Other benefits include exclusive member databases, discounts to the NGS bookstore and annual conference, For more details of membership benefits see http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/memberindiv.cfm.
Other national societies have a specialized membership that they are geared towards. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), Federation of Genealogical Societies is a membership organization whose members are other genealogy societies. It helps the genealogical community but aiding societies in strengthening and growing. Every year FGS conducts a 4-day conference that is open to the genealogical community.
The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) found at Association of Professional Genealogists is an organization that assists genealogists working in all types of fields learn more about genealogy and to promote the field of genealogy. While you do not need to be a professional genealogists to join, the print publication APG Quarterly is geared to those working in the field.
State Genealogy Societies
Some genealogy societies operate on a state level. Some state genealogy societies include:
California State Genealogical Alliance: http://www.csga.com/
Delaware Genealogical Society: Delaware Genealogical Society
Florida: Florida State Genealogical Society
Georgia: Georgia Genealogical Society
[Editor Note: At press time, the Idaho Genealogy Society web site, being updated, was unavailable. If the link does not work, please try again later. We believe the URL, the web address, to be correct.]
Illinois: Home Page
Indiana: Indiana Genealogical Society
Kansas: Kansas Genealogical Society
Kentucky: Kentucky Genealogical Society
Mid-Michigan Genealogical Society: http://www.rootsweb.com/~mimmgs/
Western Michigan Genealogical Society: Western Michigan Genealogical Society
Minnesota: Minnesota Genealogical Society
Missouri: Missouri State Genealogical Association
Nebraska: Nebraska State Genealogical Society
New Jersey: The Genealogical Society of New Jersey (GSNJ)
New Mexico: New Mexico Genealogical Society
North Carolina: North Carolina Genealogical Society
North Dakota: http://www.rootsweb.com/~ndsgs/
Oregon: Oregon Genealogical Society
Rhode Island: http://www.rigensoc.org/
South Carolina: http://www.scgen.org/
Tri State Genealogy Society (South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana): http://www.idahogenealogy.org/
Virginia: Virginia Genealogical Society
Washington: Washington State Genealogical Society
West Virginia: http://members.aol.com/edeaj/wvgenealogicalsociety.html
Local Genealogy Societies
Your local genealogy society is a great place to network with fellow genealogists, learn from invited speakers, and partake in benefits that only membership brings. Depending on the society, benefits might include access to online databases, discounts on publications and seminars/conferences, genealogical field trips, and newsletters.
Genealogy Societies in your Ancestor's Hometown
Joining a society in your ancestor's hometown can provide you with benefits even if it is in an area too far to attend regular meetings or to actively participate. Joining a society can acquaint members with your research and family as well as provide you with discounts on research and queries in their newsletter.
Finding a Society
To find your local society, check out your newspaper's community pages for announcements of upcoming meetings. To find a society near you or in your ancestor's hometown you may want to consult, Society Hill at http://www.daddezio.com/society/ . Society Hill provides a listing of genealogy societies in the United States, Canada and Australia.