First, there are societies devoted to research itself. You can find many devoted to specific geographic areas. My personal favorite is the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the focus of which is obvious thanks to their name. NEHGS is more of a repository and publisher than a social group. They keep a huge variety of records at their library in Boston, as well as offer scans and transcriptions of those records through their website. They also offer a variety of publications - a magazine, journal, and newsletters. Membership in NEHGS is well worth the price for me, as it costs less than a subscription to a wider-reaching site, such as Ancestry.com, but offers far more value for my specific interests.
So if you're looking for this kind of society in the area specific to your family history/research interests, try Google to locate one.
Facebook is a great place to find much smaller, online groups with a specific research focus. For example, try searching "Italian Genealogy" and you will find a wide variety of groups. It is very easy to join such groups. In the case of closed groups, it's just a matter of waiting for the moderator to approve your request for membership.
You can also find groups dedicated to general research, organizing your research, digitizing your records, and much more.
Most of us are probably very familiar with lineage societies, which concentrate on a particular surname or group of people. Examples of this include the General Society of Mayflower Descendants and the various groups dedicated to researching the pilgrims who came over on that ship, such as the Alden Kindred of America. These are excellent groups to join if you want to focus your research on a specific ancestor or surname.
General and social genealogy groups and forums exist all over the internet. A simple Google search will give you several results. Try using search terms for specific traits you would like to find in a group, such as genealogy writers or genealogists who are also cat lovers (alright - I don't know if the second one exists, but it might!). These are just a few examples.
What do you look for in a genealogy group? What's a genealogical niche you wish was more fulfilled by groups or societies?
Copyright (c) 2015 Wendy L. Callahan