Joining a genealogy society is a wonderful way to meet other genealogists and learn about research techniques. These groups are valuable for experienced researchers as well as novices. Some focus on specific geographic areas, others focus on specific ethnic groups. An ongoing series of posts in this blog is featuring the various societies in the Chicagoland area.
But society membership isn’t for everyone. Some people just aren’t “joiners”. Others may not be able to make the scheduled meeting times. Some may be reluctant to go to a meeting where they don’t know the other members. And there are those for whom one meeting a month is not enough!
What’s the alternative? Why not try a “meet-up”? An meet-up is a group of people who get together to share information on topic of mutual interest in an unstructured format with no agenda. There’s no organization, no dues, no membership involved.
The Portage Park neighborhood has a new, independent coffeehouse, the Regulus Coffee House Company. As a way to get neighbors together, we’ve instituted the Regulus Family History Night. Family History Night is a chance to share family stories, find out where your neighbors’ ancestors came from, meet some new people and enjoy a delicious beverage. Beginners can get some free advice and more experienced genealogists can share ideas for breaking down “brick walls” in their research. People just wander in any time during the evening and join the conversation - there’s nothing formal about this night.
Our first night attracted a small, but interested group. We laughed, shared family and neighborhood stories, offered advice to each other and had a great time. Our next meeting is Wednesday, April 18th from 7:00 - 8:30 pm. More Family History Nights are planned for the future. Watch for updates as my neighbors and I experiment with this format - or better yet, stop on by, get a cup of coffee and pull up a chair.
Submit a comment and let us know if you have any other unique genealogy events to share.
By Ginger Frere, Reference Librarian