This is part of our Midwestern Roots blog series, where we’ll be sharing exciting sneak peeks and information about the conference. Midwestern Roots Family History and Genealogy Conferencewill take place July 19 and 20 with preconference workshops on July 18. Find out more about Midwestern Roots and all the local and nationally-renowned speakers we have lined up for you as well as the a la carte preconference workshops in the Midwestern Roots Registration Guide. Follow us on Twitter and use #MRoots2019 to let us know how excited you are about this year’s conference.
As I work on the upcoming Midwestern Roots 2019 conference, I’m amazed at how vital local genealogical societies, historical societies, courthouses and museums are to the genealogy field. We live in an era when it’s easy to get sucked into the idea that large databases like Ancestry and FamilySearch have everything we need to learn about our family history. That’s simply not true. Many smaller organizations haven’t been able to digitize their collections which means you can’t do the research from your armchair. If you’re not actively involved with these groups, there is no way to know what’s in their collections that pertain to you and your family.
Are you a member of your local genealogical or historical society or museum? Do you volunteer for them? If you’re not involved, you’re missing out. In 2008, the Indiana Historical Society performed a comprehensive survey of Indiana’s heritage organizations. The results are staggering. From the replies, IHS estimates that more than 1,000 organizations in Indiana care for more than 424,000 linear feet of primarily historical documents! They also store more than 20 million historical objects. This is an amazing amount of history that is not located at a large state-wide organization such as the Indiana State Archives, Indiana State Library, Indiana State Museum or Indiana Historical Society. Most of our history is held locally. If you’re a researcher or enthusiast and you’re not investing in your local heritage organizations, you should start considering it. New discoveries are made every day by staff, volunteers and researchers. Don’t you want to be a part of that?
As I type this, I’m wearing a T-shirt that asks “What kind of ancestor will you be?” I’m asking the same question to you. Are you the kind of ancestor who will have helped preserve history and make it accessible to future generations? At the Midwestern Roots conference in July, we’ll be exploring large and small repositories alike. You’ll have the chance to network with officers of multiple societies and organizations, and from them, you can find out what you can do to help! Attend Midwestern Roots 2019, and we’ll guide you to your next steps.