Family Associations and Sites

If you are seeking information on a specific surname, family associations can be helpful. Because these associations are a group effort rather than an individual one, they generally have information on multiple branches of the family.

Depending on the size of the group, you may find anything-family trees, DNA testing results, photographs, documents, lists of members researching the same person

Places to Find Family Associations

Cyndi's List Family Associations
-If you haven't been to Cyndi's List in your genealogy search, you are missing out on one of the best free genealogy resources on the web. Her family associations page offers a massive list of surname information sites, family association websites and mailing lists. One thing to remember when using Cyndi's List: while the website is free, not all of the other sites she links to are free.

Directory of Family Associations-This is a smaller listing of family websites, but still worth taking a peek at. It is organized by the first letter of the surname.

Geneasearch Family Associations and Family Societies
-Another small listing.

New England Ancestors Family Associations Page
-This is a decent list of groups. One thing I like about this list is that most of the links are accompanied by a brief description which can help you verify you have the right family.

Search engines such as Google and Yahoo!-Sometimes the quickest way to find a family association is putting in the surname you are seeking and the phrase family association in the search box.

Your local library-Check the genealogy or reference sections. Some books may contain lists of family associations or groups. There are also reference books that list nothing but family associations. If your library doesn't have it in its holdings, be sure to ask about the possibility of inter-library loan.

Your family reunion-In many cases, family associations are behind organizing reunions. Ask around to find out who is behind yours.

Things to Remember When Looking for Family Associations

  • Check for variants in spelling. It is not unusual for surnames to change spelling over the years. If you only search one spelling, you may be missing out. For instance, when researching my Boling ancestors, I came across the variations Bolin, Bollin, Bolling, Bowlin, Bowling and deBolling.
  • While many groups are free to join, some may require membership fees. Some groups are hybrid, offering some information for free, but requiring membership to access the full database.
  • Not all family associations have websites. Many have taken advantage of the groups you can set up with Yahoo! or Google. Some may also be set up via RootsWeb mailings lists or email.

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