08 September 2014

More Gloomy News -- A Genealogy Society Could Fold -- Maybe it's the weather (it's raining as I write this!)

Source: Flickr

Sorry for more gloomy news.  I’m attributing it to today’s weather – rainy!

Earlier today I posted about a library closing its genealogy room -- Sadly, Another Genealogy Room Has Closed ...

I also read this piece last week, Genealogy society could fold, which states ...

Age and a declining membership could signal the end of Norfolk’s local genealogical society.

The Norfolk chapter of the Ontario Genealogical Society will hold a critical meeting in Delhi Sept. 16 to discuss the future of the organization. A vote is planned on whether the chapter should fold or suspend operations.

I suspect that anyone who is associated with a genealogical society has noticed the same phenomenon.  I know that our own society suffered such a situation a few years ago (I gave a talk at FGS in Birmingham titled 19679 - The Evolution of the Wake County Genealogical Society - Diane L. Richard) and again just this past summer meetings had to be convened to ask -- To continue or not?  Will individuals step forward to take on critical responsibilities? What are the next steps?

After all, most genealogy societies need volunteers to function and people seem to be putting their volunteer time towards other activities and/or do not see the value of belonging to a genealogy society.  Additionally, our world of genealogy research is changing at what seems warp speed sometimes, though the basic premise remains the same, how we access information has changed tremendously.

Genealogy a la carte published the results of a recent survey under the title “Survey results indicate people leave societies because little value offered” which presents the top 10 reasons respondents gave for why they don’t renew their membership.  Do click on the link at the end of the page to go to the 2nd part of the post.

I shared this with a long-time board member of a local genealogy society. We discussed how our society had/has been affected at one time or another by all of these and unfortunately we still feel we are “fighting an uphill battle.” Part of my dialogue [done through instant messenger – hence the lack of proper sentence structure ] included the following ...

Unfortunately, done are the days when a local genealogy society was the only and main game in town -- think of all the choices people face when combined with all the online stuff & webinars & tv shows etc -- it's become a daunting environment on many levels ... and, who knows what the answers are?!?! Can any genealogy society today do it all -- be social, have relevant meetings, great publications and have that be valued by the community?!?! Time will tell ...

Is a local genealogy society at risk in your area?  What might you or others do to keep it going?

What is your society doing to remain vibrant and relevant?  A must-join group?

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