On the home page of their website the Ontario Genealogical Society display the following:
Interested in learning more about your family history?
Do you live in Ontario?
Did your ancestors live in Ontario?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then The Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) can help.
A year ago I sent in an application to join the OGS and membership became effective this year. I joined for two reasons.
First, I'd always said that I have no Ontario roots so saw no benefit. I added, jokingly, that if I ever found an Ontario connection I would join. When research turned up a great uncle who had worked for Canadian Pacific at Fort William (the Lakehead), although only for a couple of years prior to joining the Canadian Expeditionary Force, my bluff was called.
Second, I wanted to support the Ottawa Branch of OGS. As an Ottawa resident I attend some of the Branch monthly meetings and other events which are freely open to all. The Branch is an important contributor to the local heritage community. I'm not comfortable being an eternal freeloader.
I still want to support the local branch. The branches are the strength of OGS. They run on a shoestring ($15/year in the case of Ottawa Branch) through the work of volunteer members.
But, just as I'm not comfortable being a freeloader, neither am I happy sending a substantial annual subscription ($45/year) to OGS HQ for what is for me comparatively little benefit. Let's have a look at the benefits of being an OGS member as described on the OGS website.
I'll append my comments.
As an OGS member, you:
- receive the Ontario Genealogical Society's quarterly journal Families, quarterly newsletter Newsleaf and 8 issues/year of e-NewsLeaf.
- receive flyers describing publications and supplies available for purchase from OGS
- can submit four family name queries each year to the Name Game - which is published in the quarterly Families
- have the right to vote at the annual general meeting and regional meetings, the right to hold office and the right to join any branch or branches.
- receive invitations to regional meetings and the annual Seminar for further education in genealogical subjects and social contacts with other genealogists.
- can participate in genealogical research projects specific to Ontario.
- get a membership card which can be used as a passport to resources.
- Change your Password.
- Review the 1962-2006 back issues of Families.
- Read the current and back issues of e-NewsLeaf.
- NEW - Search the Strays Database.
- Read the growing collection of Church Histories of the Roman Catholic Diocese of London.
- NEW - more histories added July 2008.
- can take advantage of OGS group rates for home/automobile insurance and out-of-province/out-of-Canada emergency insurance (MEDOC®) with Johnson Insurance Inc. and the Scholarship and Academic Grant Program for participating members
My evaluation is that only if you can answer yes to the question Did your ancestors live in Ontario? is an OGS membership likely to offer good value, not just if you can answer yes to any of the three questions as the Society claims.
To repeat, I'd still like to have a way to support the local branch without having to send three times the money to OGS HQ to do so. Why would OGS not provide a local only membership option?