Week 13. Local Societies: Local genealogical and historical societies are the lifeblood of genealogy. Members and volunteers give their time and money to preserve local history and promote family history. Tell us about a local society for which you are thankful.
My best experiences with local societies hasn't been "local" in the sense they were where I live, but local to the places I research. I have written a number of local societies in different states over the past twenty years, seeking information about an ancestor, and most of them have gone above and beyond to help me. In several cases, I have received names and addresses of other researchers of the same family, as well as copies from local histories or manuscripts the society may have in its collection. Prices for copying have always been very reasonable. So many have been helpful that I would not dare to list them for fear I'd forget one!
I think this is a resource often overlooked in this computer age - especially by newer family researchers. Sometimes local societies have a web presence, but I believe in many cases their web presence doesn't fully represent their holdings. The contact information from the web is great to have and I always recommend beginning with a letter containing a specific inquiry - not a general "please send all you have on the Smith family" because the person answering your inquiry is undoubtedly a volunteer with limited time.