I've been a member of the East Bell County Genealogical Society since June of this year. I don't have family (that I know of) from Bell County or Texas for that matter, but I'd never had the opportunity to join a society before and figured it was time to do so.
I'm still feeling my way around as the new kid, but everyone has been extremely welcoming. Many were surprised that I was driving the 30 minutes from Killeen to Temple for the meetings as there had been a society closer to Killeen. It didn't really matter if there was a closer one...I knew where EBCGS was meeting and had paid my dues so I wasn't planning on going anywhere!
I didn't know what to expect at my first meetings, and felt a bit awkward sharing my recent research at monthly meetings...knowing it wasn't pertinent to anyone else in the room (little to no chance of connections or shared names), they were all as respectful listening to me as any other member. What I was surprised and delighted to discover (and had been clueless about) was that we got a lovely presentation/class at each meeting!
My first meeting had a class on organizing your files. While I didn't share the viewpoint of the gentleman giving the class I was able to glean some information to use in my own organization (color-coding my files, but I only intend on coding my 2 husband's grandparents and my 2...the gentleman giving the course went on coding and I wondered when he'd run out of colors! :) )
The second class was presented by a lady, Dr Patricia Rye, who spoke to us about the book she had just researched and written called, "My Father's War" (although I have not been able to find a copy of her book yet...I will have to ask about that at our next meeting!). She also introduced us to another book, "The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of the Men Who Risked All for the Greatest Rescue Mission of World War II" (an exceptional tale and I do intend on purchasing/reading it...it's on my "wish list"!). She found information on some of her father's air crew in the 2nd book so they tied in nicely for a brilliant story.
Our last meeting was on the SAR (Son's of the American Revolution) and the process of joining. While I don't believe anyone in my immediate family has even the slightest possibility of joining the SAR or DAR, I did find the information useful. If I ever need to submit an application for anyone else, I've got some excellent starting information.
I look forward to our next meeting! You can check out the East Bell Count Genealogical Society's website (through Rootsweb) at: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txebcgs/
The site gives you important information regarding joining EBCGS and what their preservation projects are, their library acquisitions, and much more!
I'm also a member of other local, state, national societies (The Greater Hazleton Historical Society, The Wisconsin Historical Society, The National Genealogical Society, etc) even though I'm too far away to attend most meetings. These societies do so much and rely on your membership to do their good work. If you haven't joined ones pertaining to your research, why not?