Montgomery County Genealogical Society

The Origins of the Genealogical Society

The Montgomery County Genealogical Society of Maryland, organized in September 2021, advances the same goals of education and camaraderie that a club of the Montgomery County Historical Society had promoted for more than four decades.
 
The genealogy club was formed in 1979 under the auspices of the county historical society with the mission to “create a strong, active nucleus for genealogy study: in the county. Many of the charter members served as officers, instructors and volunteers.
 
Over the years, the club hosted monthly meetings that featured presentations by guest speakers on research techniques and sources, opportunities for “show and tell” and brainstorming sessions to help members overcome their brick walls.
 
From 1980 to 2006, the club published the monthly Line Upon Line newsletter and later detailed club activities in its two-page Between the Lines column in the historical society’s quarterly newsletter.
 
Education was an important part of club activities. The club offered general classes for beginning to advanced-level genealogists and classes on specific topics such as using the Washington D.C. Family History Center. For many years, the club cosponsored an annual conference with the Family History Center and the Prince George’s County Genealogical Society.
 
The club was proud to be associated with the Jane C. Sween Library and Special Collections at the Beall-Dawson Historical Park in Rockville. Members contributed thousands of hours in indexing records, assisting the library’s patrons and cataloging the collections. Volunteers identified all of the early land patents in the county up to 1800 and created plastic overlays for current maps to identify location of the tracts. At the annual holiday party, members made donations in support of the library’s needs.
 
Instead of a regular June meeting, the club hosted a picnic near a county cemetery each year and then worked to create an index of those buried in the cemetery. Later, club members resurveyed assigned cemeteries in an effort to identify all burial places in the county.
 
The club sponsored a “Genealogy Road Show” at the annual Montgomery County History Conference and other historical society events. Club members researched ancestors of attendees and provided copies of documents that they discovered.
 
In 2021, the Historical Society decided the genealogy club did not fit its vision for the future. Long-term club members then launched the non-profit Montgomery County Genealogical Society, which continued the mission to provide support for genealogists, find new ways to engage the community, and support historical research efforts.
                                                                                    —Lorraine Minor