The Desert Shamrock
Arizona’s Original Irish Newspaper
Volume 8, Number 6, November/December 1997, page 23

Networking: Magazines, Societies and the Internet

by Robert M. Wilbanks IV, B.A.
Professional Genealogist & Historian

I began this column by showing you how the research process begins at home with family records and interviewing family members. Then I explained the significance of public records and how you can research records from anywhere around the world at two local facilities. In these two articles one theme becomes apparent: Networking. Networking is an extremely important part of genealogical research, whether searching for a family member with more information, or identifying types of records and where to find them.

An extensive networking system exists nationally and internationally through magazines and genealogical societies both at the national and local levels. Networking can teach you more about the general techniques of genealogy, as well as find others researching the same family or in the same location as you. The advent of the Internet has significantly added to genealogy networking.

In national magazines and society newsletters other genealogists place brief writings called "queries", like classified ads, sharing and requesting information on a specific ancestor, giving brief known facts about the ancestor followed by the requester's name, address, phone number or e-mail. By submitting and reading queries you can obtain new information and make contact with, in essence, a distant cousin who is researching the same ancestor and family that you are. Good genealogy etiquette includes providing a self addressed stamped envelope with correspondence, offering to pay for copy costs, and share information.

One national magazine is the Genealogical Helper published by Everton Publisher's in Logan, Utah. This bimonthly magazine has regular columns and special articles on various aspects of genealogical research, including foreign and computer. It also has news, a calendar, book reviews, and advertisements from researchers, publishers and suppliers around the world. Certain issues include directories of professionals, genealogical societies, or genealogical libraries. Each issue is filled with queries from genealogists around the country. This magazine may be found in any public library as well as genealogy libraries.

Examples of local or regional magazines are Tidewater Virginia Families and The Irish at Home and Abroad. The first is a quarterly dedicated to records and research in the historic tidewater counties of Virginia, including record abstracts or transcripts, book reviews, news and queries. The second is a quarterly, produced by Kyle J. Betit and Dwight A. Radford of Salt Lake City, internationally renown for it's articles on sources and strategies for genealogical research of the Irish in all parts of the world. Annual subscription is $21; write P.O. Box 521806, Salt Lake City, UT 84152-1806. They also published a book entitled Ireland: A Genealogical Guide, $18.95.

Membership in the National Genealogical Society (NGS), 4527 17th Street North, Arlington, VA 22207-2399, is $40 annually. A bimonthly newsletter has articles on research techniques, queries, news, events, computer tips and more. The NGS Quarterly is internationally regarded for it's articles on research tips and techniques. NGS also offers a home study course, and has a library from which you can borrow books by mail. NGS sponsors one of the largest annual genealogy conferences in the nation.

Examples of local genealogy societies is the Ohio Genealogical Society and South Carolina Genealogical Society, publishing informative quarterlies and having chapters for each county. These county chapters hold meetings with local members and publish newsletters filled with abstracted or transcribed records from that particular county, queries from members, county history, and other information. Interested genealogists living outside the county can join, creating a network of people around the country who are interested in that county. Local members conduct research for members outside the county.

Genealogical societies in Ireland include: Cork Family History, Nora M. Hickey, Genealogist, The Almshouse, Church Square, Kinsale, County Cork; County Cavan, Mrs. Annie Sexton, Grousehall Post Office, Bailieboro, County Cavan; Irish Family History Society, P.O. Box 36, Naas, County Kildare; Irish Genealogical Association, 162a Kingsway, Dunmurry, Belfast, Northern Ireland, BT17 9AD. In America is the Irish Genealogical Society International, P.O. Box 16585, St. Paul, MN 55116-0585. Their web site ( has a wealth of information on Irish genealogy, queries, and links, as well as details about their society and library which is considered one of the largest collections of Irish records and genealogy information in North America.

Joining a genealogical society in the town that you live is also beneficial. Though you may have no genealogical interest in that town, a local society often has monthly meetings where speakers educate members in various research techniques, record types and research locales. A great place to meet other researchers you can learn from and network with, you may even find someone with whom you have a common interest in a specific family or locality.

The Family History Society of Arizona has eight chapters holding monthly meetings throughout the Phoenix Metropolitan area. Visitor's are welcome. Membership is $15 annually. Join the chapter closest to you, but attend any chapter meetings which interest you. There are also beginner's classes, special programs, and seminars, and an informative newsletter. Fall through Spring is the most active time of the year for seminars and events around the valley, so join now. One chapter is sponsoring a Beginning Genealogy seminar on November 15th, 9:30 to 3:00, at the Maricopa County Library, 17811 North 32nd Street; $10 fee. For more information contact society president Linda Swain, 893-0469. Their web site is

The Internet has greatly added to genealogy networking. I've eluded to a few web sites in this article. Another significant site is linking sites for every state and county in America, providing information on state, county and town histories, societies, repositories, records, queries, and much more. An international Genweb project is underway. Volunteers create and maintain these sites.

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