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Family Associations Are a Great Resource!
Column published: 3 January 2007
By: Shirley Gage Hodges   Biography & Archived Articles

If you have not checked into family associations while doing your genealogical research on your family you might be overlooking a great source. Many times family associations can providevaluable information about your ancestors.

A family association is an organization that is usually created by people who share a common ancestor or surname. They have gotten together so that they can share knowledge and resources. They usually share news about their ancestors, news about family members who are living and will help promote family reunions.

Some family associations attempt to collect information about people with their surname all over the globe. Others may prefer to concentrate on only their direct line. Many times after years of research the goal may change or expand.

a family association picnic - California 1880s
Family associations have a long tradition

Many of these associations publish a family newsletter. You will find many types of information in these newsletters. They usually encourage their members to submit queries. Many members will submit their family trees as well as information about family, births, marriages, deaths and cemetery information.

You will usually find all types of information that would interest the genealogist such as bible records, military records, land records and transcriptions of newspaper clippings. Their goal is to promote communication among family members, collect information on the family, share it, and preserve it.

My husband and I started the Hodges Family Association in 1991. When we formed the family association our intention was to publish a newsletter with information on the Josiah and Sally (Young) Hodges line. We soon learned that there was a need to publish information on all Hodges lines and we changed the direction of the newsletter. We are beginning the 17th year of publication this January. We found that we needed to have a Hodges Family Association web page to spread the word about the Association.

Because of the newsletter we have been in contact with Hodges researchers all over the US and Canada. We have even had a group of Hodges researchers who met with us at a large genealogy conference.

We have also been able to get in contact with the Hodges-Hodge DNA Family Project. The purpose of this effort is to help families find their branches and work together to find their common heritage by using DNA testing. Check out their web page.

There was a Hodges/Hodge Families Conference that was held in Houston, Texas, November 4th and 5th, 2006. The 2007 Conference will be held in Virginia.

I would certainly encourage you to think about joining a family association. It certainly isn't a requirement for researching your family history, but you might find it to be very helpful. It might also provide you with a way to stir the interest of other family members and soon you may be getting help with your research! If you can't find an association, give some thought to forming one yourself.

Suggested web pages:

Check the following web pages and see if they have anything for your surnames.

Shirley Hodges, biography & genealogy lectures; email:

Editor's Note: Shirley Hodges is the author of the popular Guide to United States Census, 1790-1930

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