I've been rather lax the last few years going to interesting programs, but when I retire, I'm hoping to do just that, especially the free ones. In January the programs at the Indiana State Library, 140 N. Senate Ave., Indianapolis that are free include the Carnegie Libraries in Indiana (Indiana Author's Room) at 11 a.m. to noon Jan. 5; Researching Family History in the History Reference Room 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 7 and from 11 to noon Jan. 12.

The Crossroads of Indiana is from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Jan. 14 in the History Reference Room, as well. There are more, but the two I'd like to see are the Indiana's Big Top at 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 21, again in the History Reference Room and a Will Hays presentation on Jan. 27 in the Indiana Author's room from noon to 1. Some of the best genealogical programs I've ever been to were free, so take advantage of such. On the same mode, another help is to join genealogical (or historical) societies. Both Montgomery and Fountain counties I belong to and they are very active societies with interesting programs, as well.

Fountain County has more than 200 members, one of the largest groups I've ever been connected to. Although they do not have a program each month, they do have some unique special ones. They are connected to the Cemetery walks. I didn't go last year (I think it was the first) but heard from many people that it was totally awesome! People are dressed as the village blacksmith or the fine lady buried in that plot. Visitors walk around and talk to the "dead," so to speak! Sounds fab and I want to go to the next one on May 1, 2010, at the Prescott Grove and St. Joseph Cemeteries at the north edge of Covington. Betty Dotson, one of the officers of the group, said, "These two cemeteries are side by side and both have some old burial that will be of interest!" The group also maintains a very nice genealogical library in Veedersburg (right beside the public library). West Central Indiana Genealogy Research Library hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday and Friday plus the first and third Saturdays. If you have any Fountain folks, do check this out!

Montgomery County's Genealogy society is not quite that big but has several very active members, and many great projects and programs. You've no doubt seen the amazing work some society members are doing with the cemetery restorations. Dellie at the library is constantly putting up marriage licenses and other items onto their Local History Web site. One of my favorite programs I've ever seen in 40 years of doing genealogy was the man who last year came to the Crawfordsville District Public Library's meeting room and had a replica of Lincoln's home and the famous picture you've all seen at the time of Lincoln's death was the basis for his program. He told us about each of the people. It was awesome! Several Wabash college boys come do programs on things they've researched in local history. I've even been honored to do a few, one on scrapbooking your ancestors and one coming up on the first 13 murders of Montgomery County (I think that's July). Anyway, it might pay you to get involved in some of the local happenings and until then, happy grandcestoring!