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Genealogy and Family History

How to Begin

Finding Information

Research in Genealogical Societies

Genealogical societies provide several essentials for the new researcher:

  • Access to society members: Members can have years of experience in genealogical research and are willing to assist the beginner.
  • Access to society research centres: Many societies have collections containing both general guidebooks and manuals, and more in-depth treatments of local history and other places and ethnicities. A society that focuses on a specific place (e.g., Ontario, Quebec, Scotland, Ireland, France) or ethnicity (e.g., Jewish, Chinese) can help you learn research methods pertaining to these specific subjects or areas.
  • Learning opportunities: Societies often present lectures and workshops of interest to their members and, often, to the larger community. Watch for these, as they are a good way to learn useful tips and tricks or hear speakers you may not have heard otherwise.
  • A collegial atmosphere: Societies are wonderful places in which to learn about genealogy and meet like-minded people. You are guaranteed to make new friends and research partners by joining a society.

Some societies undertake specific research projects, such as indexing local records or newspapers. Joining one of these projects is worthwhile for learning some of the methods involved in genealogy research. You do not need experience to participate.

Provincial and local genealogical societies often publish a periodical, magazine, or newsletter detailing research being done by members, new publications, upcoming conferences and meetings, queries from members, and up-to-date information about research methods and the documents available in the region.

If there is not a society in your area, consider starting one. Genealogy has become the number one hobby in North America, and you are sure to find others who would be interested in joining to discuss and advance their research. Even if you are a beginner and still have a lot to learn, starting a society can attract the "experts," which in turn will benefit your own research and learning.

Search for an appropriate society in either Genealogical Societies or in the Canadian Directory of Genealogical Resources, AVITUS, on this website.