The Desert Shamrock

Arizona’s Original Irish Newspaper

Volume 10, Number 5, September/October 1999, page 20


Genealogy Societies


by Robert M. Wilbanks IV, B.A.

Professional Genealogist & Historian



        Continuing education is an important part of genealogical research, whether learning basic or advanced techniques, or identifying types of records and information, and locating facilities where records are kept.  With each new generation you discover, your research tactics, records and resources may change and it is important to keep your genealogy knowledge and skills up-to-date with your ever changing and growing family history.

Genealogy societies are not only excellent starting points for family history research, but they are great for continual learning of genealogy basics and advanced research strategies.  They provide informative newsletters, special programs, and seminars for keeping you current on resources and research techniques.  You will also be kept informed about local and national events, and have an opportunity of general networking with others, possibly meeting those researching in the same research locale or even the same family.  All provided at a minimum of cost and time.

        The following are just a few examples of excellent Arizona societies.  Be sure to check out their web sites, at your local public library, for contact information and more specific details on their regular meetings and upcoming special events.

        Family History Society of Arizona,, has eight chapters around Metro-Phoenix with monthly meetings and beginner’s classes.  Due to their efforts, the Governor's Office has proclaimed October "Family History and Genealogy Month".  The society is sponsoring the First Annual Family History and Genealogy Fair at Heritage Square (6th and Monroe, Phoenix) October 9th.  Approximately 30 local genealogy societies, historical groups, lineage organizations, Libraries, Archives, and Museums will be participating in the event, helping to promote and teach genealogy research.  This is a free educational event.  In addition, the society’s upcoming seminar on October 30th at ASU will feature Richard Hooverson, a professional genealogical writer and lecturer.  His topics are ship and passenger records, historical calendars and differing dating systems, and basic research techniques.

West Valley Genealogical Society, formerly the Sun City Genealogical Society,, is a west Metro-Phoenix/Maricopa County group which meets in Surprise at 1:30 PM on the second Monday of the month, September through May.  They have an extensive library located in Youngtown.  They are currently coordinating a group research trip to Salt Lake City, March 5-12, 2000.  Their annual Seminar, featuring British Isles research, is January 14-16, 2000.

        Arizona State Genealogical Society,, is a Tucson group which meets 6:00 PM on the second Tuesday of the month, October through May.  Their upcoming Seminar on December 4th features Dr. George Schweitzer, a popular noted professional genealogists whose lectures are very informative and are done in costume relevant to the topic.  His topics are Revolutionary War, German and obscure genealogical research.

        Genealogical Society of Yuma,, meets 10:00 AM on the last Saturday of the month, September through June, at the Yuma Library auditorium.

        Lake Havasu Genealogical Society,, meets 7:00 PM on the third Friday of the month at Mohave Community College in Lake Havasu City.  They have recently made their entire library collection of over 3000 books, CDs, microfiches, microfilms, etc., available to the public via the Internet.  This is an innovative new service for a genealogical society.

        Northern Arizona Genealogical Society,, is a Prescott group which meets 2:00 PM on the fourth Saturday at the Adult Center.  Their annual seminar is held in May.

Arizona Genealogical Computer Interest Group (AGCIG),, is dedicated to computer genealogy education.  Learn about genealogy software, Internet research, CD's, computer hardware and software, Y2K, and many other computer skills.  See their web site for details about this society, and their next meeting on September 11th covering desktop publishing.  On February 12th, 2000, AGCIG will be sponsoring a special seminar featuring Cyndi Howell, author of Cyndi’s List, the most comprehensive genealogy web site on the Internet.

        Arizona Genealogical Advisory Board (AzGAB),, is a statewide society of Arizona genealogy societies.  They provide news and information on statewide genealogical, historical, and lineage societies, libraries, museums, and the Arizona Archives.  There are many other Arizona genealogical societies in communities such as Bullhead City, Douglas, Green Valley, Kingman, Payson, Sedona, Sierra Vista and Winslow, just to name a few, and from the AzGAB web site you will find details of many of these organizations.  Meanwhile, the “Calendar of Events” allows you to keep up with different genealogy seminars and other events occurring throughout Arizona.

        National Genealogical Society,, is a national organization dedicated to helping people learn and practice quality genealogy.  Their web site features information on the society’s activities, library, conferences, links and other data.  For example, they provide a home study course, a library from which you can borrow books by mail, and a bimonthly newsletter with articles on research techniques, queries, news, events, and computer tips.  Their quarterly is internationally regarded for its articles on research tips, techniques and case studies.  The society sponsor’s the largest national annual genealogy conference.  The 2000 conference will be held in Providence, Rhode Island.

        Meanwhile, the National Genealogical Society is coordinating their Second Annual Research Trip to Dublin, Ireland in September 2000, led by professional genealogists Elizabeth Kelley Kerstens, Marie Varrelman Melchiori, and Eileen M. O'Duill.  Search for your ancestors in the National Library of Ireland, the National Archives of Ireland, the General Register Office, the Valuation Office of Ireland and the Registry of Deeds.  To receive more information, and to be placed on the mailing list for updates, send a request with your name, address, phone and e-mail, to NGS 4527 17th Street North, Arlington, VA 22207-2399, or e-mail your request to, or fax (703) 525-0052, or phone (800) 473-0060.

        For previous articles on the basics of searching for your family history, visit my web site at  First, click on Professional Services, then Genealogical Writings.

DISCLAIMER: This is an important reminder that the above article is provided here exactly as originally written and published several years ago. Therefore, while most of the primary context of the article may still be relevant, please be aware that possibly certain of the information and references may now be outdated, such as individuals and organizations, links, contacts, facilities, etc. Please follow-up accordingly for more updated information.

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©2013, Robert M. Wilbanks IV, Scottsdale, Arizona
created Nov 15, 2013; last updated Nov 15, 2013