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All I want for Christmas

Dear Santa,

Has The Legal Genealogist mentioned yet how very very good I’ve been this year?

Good, at least, at not getting caught doing all the thing you’d rather I didn’t?

I mean, seriously, Santa, this being good business is hard work.

Christmas PresentsSo how’s about you and me agreeing that you really are going to come through on my priority wish list of DNA samples, okay?

But (sigh) if you have to have some other ideas, you could join me in doing just that.


Because, Santa, there are so many first rate genealogical societies out there that I just have to belong to and that others really should join, too.

And so you won’t have to strain too much picking and choosing for me, Santa, here’s my personal Must-Join-Every-Year-Without-Fail list of major societies that I’ll be checking out twice — or at least before my memberships run out.

The Nationals

There are two must-haves for me, Santa, and I just renewed one of them with a three-year membership. I can’t do without memberships in:

National Genealogical Society: Can’t live without my regular fix of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, edited by Thomas W. Jones CG, CGL, and Melinde Lutz Byrne CG, and the National Genealogical Society News Magazine, edited by Darcie Posz CG. And the NGS conference each year. And publications like Mastering Genealogical Proof and the Research in the States series and and and…

Association of Professional Genealogists: APG is also on my must-have membership list, Santa, for its APG Quarterly, its Professional Management Conference, and its webinar series, just to mention a few benefits of membership.

The paternal side

My father and his parents emigrated to the United States from Germany in 19251 and, on arrival, went to Illinois to join other family members who had come over earlier. Ours is the classic story of chain, or serial, migration, beginning in the 1880s with my grandfather’s aunt and uncle2 and ending with those 1925 arrivals.

So there are some must-haves here on this side:

Illinois State Genealogical Society: For help with my once-they-got-here research, for its webinar series and its journal, I’ve gotta have ISGS membership.

Die Maus: For help with the before-they-left-there research, I’m going to try again to muster up enough German to join Die Maus – the Family History and Genealogical Society of Bremen (Gesellschaft für Familienforschung e. V. Bremen). I do read enough German to get some great use from the website… and I’d like to pay my dues, if I could figure out how…

German Genealogical Society: And for just general help with German and German-American research, because of its newsletter, its library, its research guides and more, GGS membership is a must-have.

The maternal side

Now, Santa, you know it’s not so easy on my mother’s side, because we can document that her family has been in America since at least 16803 and residence in just about every state south of the Mason-Dixon line (including most of the border states).

That’s a lot of states, Santa… and I haven’t managed them all yet. So here’s my wish list of both current and someday societies, Santa, in case you need some ideas:

Alabama Genealogical Society: Offering the AGS Magazine and AGS Newsletter, a first families program and more.

Arkansas Genealogical Society: Offering the Arkansas Family Historian magazine, online databases, and Arkansas Ancestry program.

Georgia Genealogical Society: Offering the Georgia Genealogical Society Quarterly, members-only records, and a monthly webinar series.

Kentucky Genealogical Society: Publishing Bluegrass Roots, offering Second Saturday workshops, and an annual seminar.

Maryland Genealogical Society: Publishing The Maryland Genealogical Society Journal, offering Get-Involved Prtojects, with online members-only databases and more.

Mississippi Genealogical Society: For its annual seminar and its records publications, including some terrific information on cemetery and Bible records.

North Carolina Genealogical Society: Publishing the North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal and the NCGS News, offering twice-yearly seminars plus its Speakers Forum, plus webinars, plus…

Oklahoma Genealogical Society: Offering publications including the OGS Quarterly and the OGS Newsletter, a story writing contest, annual seminars and special events, with a first families program as well.

South Carolina Genealogical Society: Offering research help to members, online resources, supporting chapters all around South Carolina — and Santa, seriously, we all know South Carolina research is tough sledding.

Tennessee Genealogical Society: With its Tennessee Genealogical Magazine, Ansearchin’ News, its blog, its seminars and its research help to members.

Texas State Genealogical Society: Publishing Stirpes, its quarterly magazine, running scholarship, archival grant and heritage programs, on top of meetings and seminars.

Both the Virginia Genealogical Society for its Magazine of Virginia Genealogy and the Virginia Genealogical Society Newsletter, its grant and awards programs, annual conferences and more, and the Genealogical Research Institute of Virginia, for its programs, resources and seminars.

And just for myself, Santa, because I was born there, the Colorado Genealogical Society, for its quarterly Colorado Genealogist and its workshops and its seminars and its classes and … And because I live here, the Genealogical Society of New Jersey, with its Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey and its GSNJ Newsletter and its seminars, its collections, and all it does to support genealogy in my backyard.

And there are so many more… not just the ones that are relevant to my family and my research, but all those great societies out there (waving at Ohio and Minnesota for example)…

I mean really, Santa. After all, how’s that research into the Claus line going? Maybe joining the North Pole Genealogical Society would be just what you need…


  1. New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957, List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States, SS George Washington, Passengers sailing from Bremen, January 28th, 1925, lines 4-6, Hugo, Marie and Hugo Geissler; digital image, ( : accessed 5 Apr 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T715, roll 3605.
  2. See Lakeside Annual Directory of the City of Chicago, 1888 (Chicago: Chicago Directory Co., 1888), 1508, entry for Frank Schreiner; digital images, ( : accessed 12 Sep 2014).
  3. November 1680, order as to Nicholas Gentry, York County, Virginia, Deeds, Orders, Wills (1677 – 1684) 6: 268; York County Microfilm reel 3, Library of Virginia, Richmond.
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