December 24, 2020
Today is Christmas Eve, and you probably have all of your Christmas shopping finished (finally!), but there’s still time send a few genealogy gifts to your friends and relatives. Heck, there’s still time to send yourself a treat or two – just in case Santa doesn’t come through with what you really want.
This is the time of year that most local and state genealogical societies send out renewal notices for annual membership. I’ve gotten three or four of them in the last month, and it’s easy to put them aside, thinking “I’ll get to this later after I bake the cookies or wrap the gifts.” If you’re like me, my memory isn’t quite what it once was, and it’s easy to forget those renewals permanently. For most of us, it is going to be a quiet holiday this year, so why not spend a few minutes filling out and returning those membership forms. Many of the smaller societies still don’t use digital renewal and require a check in an envelope, but you probably have stamps left over from the Christmas cards you meant to send, but didn’t get around to, so there’s no excuse not to send the renewals. I don’t know about you, although I seldom write a check nowadays, it’s kind of fun to fill out a check or two and remember when we used them for everything from gas to groceries.
Once you’ve filled out the renewals for your local societies (don’t forget LCGS!), you might even want to spend a few minutes thinking about where your research could take you next year and consider joining a society or two in a new area. Most local societies are very inexpensive – often under $30 a year, and the societies depend on membership to fund all of their activities. Visit a few of their websites, and you’ll be amazed at the wonderful offerings those measly budgets fund. This year, especially, has seen an explosion of speakers and programs become available virtually; this means whether or not you will ever attend a meeting in person, the cost of membership is still a bargain. So go ahead, think outside the box and join a society in New Jersey or California or Alaska. It might be one of the best genealogical decisions you ever make. Even if it’s not, the price is cheap, and you can always try a new society or two next year.
After you’ve sent in your own memberships, why not send in another membership for a friend who is thinking about doing some of her own genealogy. For example, if she has Swedish ancestry, she might enjoy a membership to the Swedish Genealogical Society of Colorado – a steal at $25 per year. Or what about your cousin who has ancestors from Macomb County, Illinois. A membership in that local society could be the perfect gift for him. A quick email saying you’ve given someone a membership to a society could be a great last-minute gift. I know I’d be thrilled.
Happy Genealogy and Merry Christmas!
Researcher/Director at Large