June 1, 1997 in Features

Nonprofit Group Serves In Many Ways

Donna Potter Phillips The Spokes
 

By the nature of the beast, much of what genealogists do is done by one’s self. But you’re not alone. Groups galore exist to support genealogists, individually and by societies.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies is one such group. It was founded in 1976 as a nonprofit organization to represent and protect societies, coordinate and facilitate their activities and monitor events critical to the future of genealogy.

Today, FGS includes more than 400 genealogy and historical societies, representing more than 100,000 genealogists. It aims to serve the needs of member societies, provide products and services to improve organization management, and marshal the resources and national efforts of the organizations.

FGS serves genealogists and their societies by offering a series of Strategy Papers, tracts helpful to society officers, management and fund-raising.

Its newsletter, The Forum, is published bi-monthly with timely articles. A recent issue featured an update on the Civil War Soldiers Project, an article on an eighth-grade research project, and tidbits and news from societies. Also, FGS President Curt B. Witcher always writes a challenging editorial.

Witcher’s thoughts in one issue encourages genealogists to 1) revisit, redefine and refocus their society’s mission; 2)attend and become involved with genealogy societies; 3) explore ways to become partners with other state and regional societies; 4) explore ways to work with local libraries; 5) invite others to take action with you; and 6), get political.

“Get political” means if we expect genealogy societies to meet our needs, we had better participate or those needs will be unmet. For instance, society members need to be alert about cuts in a library’s budget; learn about proposed legislation that threatens to close certain state records; and regard the management of your local genealogy society. Our genealogical future is ours to manage, Witcher says.

Among news tidbits from member societies was this announcement from the Illinois State Genealogical Society: “The Illinois Marriage Listing” is a database of nearly 900,000 Illinois marriages from 35 counties, listed by both the bride and groom, on one CD-ROM disk. No price was given (perhaps because the disk is being updated), so contact the society for details. But, isn’t that an exciting piece of genealogy trivia? Their address is P.O. Box 10105, Springfield, IL 62791-0195.

On the Ethnic/International Societies page was the announcement that the Polish Genealogical Society of America maintains a web page: http://members.aol.com/ pgsamerica

Another benefit FGS offers genealogists is its annual national conference. These affairs run Tuesday through Saturday; the entire first day is devoted to sessions beneficial to society organization and management.

The balance of time is filled with presentations by a score of national and local genealogists. These conferences are really “college” for the genealogist. The 1997 conference will be in early September in Dallas, and Marvelene Carney will attend as representative of the Eastern Washington Genealogy Society.

Future conferences are scheduled for August 1998 in Cincinnati, 1999 in St. Louis, and 2000 in Salt Lake City.

FGS society members receive two copies of the Forum, available to read at genealogy libraries. Genealogists whose society is a member can subscribe to the newsletter for $11 a year. Contact FGS at P.O. Box 830220, Richardson, TX 75083-0220.

, DataTimes MEMO: Donna Potter Phillips welcomes letters from readers. Write to her at The Spokesman-Review, Features Department, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210. For a response, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Donna Potter Phillips The Spokesman-Review

Donna Potter Phillips welcomes letters from readers. Write to her at The Spokesman-Review, Features Department, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210. For a response, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Donna Potter Phillips The Spokesman-Review


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