Professional Development for History Students

I’ve been thinking about this for around three or four years – how to reach history students about professional development opportunities in the communities where they study. I don’t know any history professors or students. Each college or university has its own rules for solicitations from outside organizations. Would professors even be willing to pass this idea along? Would students these days consider it a good option?

Here it is:

Students – please consider joining your local genealogical society. These societies offer:

  • Leadership experience via board and committee service
  • Speaking credits via presentations at meetings and seminars
  • Writing credits in newsletters and, in some cases, periodic journals
  • Volunteer hours at the local genealogical center and for special projects
  • Networking with community members and a variety of guest speakers

Genealogical societies are all about history. In some cases, it’s family history, which revolves around using historical records. Other times, members want to know about societal changes, major local and regional events, or other aspects of their ancestors’ lives.

Societies are also about saving historical records and family stories, and the evolving technologies available for preservation.

A great turnout at the Foley Public Library for the BCGS April 2019 meeting.

Genealogical societies will be an appreciative audience as you develop skills as a historian.


If you’re a student of history, find your local genealogical society. Attend a meeting or two to see how they operate. Ask how speakers are selected. Read through a few copies of their publications. Find out when and where their board meets. Then see how your schedule could mesh with theirs to take advantage of the opportunities.

Jim and Joyce Cauthen perform at a meeting of the Baldwin County Genealogical Society.

Baldwin County Genealogical Society President Tina Graham introduce guests Jim and Joyce Cauthen for a presentation on ol’ time fiddling.

About Taminar

When I grow up, I want to make movies and write books. Now in my 50s, I wonder if I'll ever really accomplish the dreams of my youth. I have made two short films, one for a college film-making class, the other for an MTV-sponsored contest. I have written short plays that have been produced, and a few short stories and reviews that have been published. I also perform and direct for community theatre. My working life has included stints in local TV news, public relations, retail management and cashier, and for a couple of years, I made the rides go at Walt Disney World. I have two cats and a husband.
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