Family History Societies often cover a specific area or areas. Joining a society could put you in touch with other enthusiasts who share the same interests as you. There are many different associations to choose from, each area usually having at least one society. Most groups' main aim is to encourage the study of genealogy.
Some associations list their resources on their website. In addition, they also have libraries. There is usually a list of events on the site, which includes details of talks given by specialists in their field. Most associations transcribe and index original documents, sometimes making these available to purchase, offering publications, CD-Roms and microfiche for sale which are often only obtainable from the specific society.
It is possible to become a member of a group, but most make a charge for this. They do, however, send out journals to society members and some also make available a list of members' interests.
Most are run by volunteers who are passionate and enthusiastic about genealogy. Many volunteers have a great deal of knowledge about genealogy and the local area, so may be able to help you in your quest to find out more about your ancestors.
You do not have to live in the area covered by the society to become a member. You may even be able to break down a brick wall and finally find that elusive ancestor. As your own quest continues and you obtain more knowledge, you could offer assistance to others in return. You do not need to have a vast knowledge of genealogy in order to join a group.
Further information about associations can be obtained by going to the Federation of Family History Societies' (FFHS) website. They not only cover groups in England and Wales, but also in Scotland, Australia, Canada and the United States of America. They also provide information regarding groups in some other countries. Their website also has a section dedicated to one-name societies.
There are also many local history societies, where you may find additional information regarding the area in which your ancestors lived.
I also have information regarding societies in Australia, Canada and the United States of America.
Family Tree Resources > Family History Societies