STATE OF THE SOCIETY: LGS 2020
STATUS AND FUTURE OF
THE LOUISVILLE GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY
This report was created with the input from approximately a dozen LGS Board members. Some offered extensive written input and other suggestions were quite brief; sometimes just an oral comment or recommendation. So many had specific thoughts about what we should and could do to improve that a “Suggestions and Opportunity” list has been added to several sections. Please do not fail to read and contemplate the concluding section on “Concerns About the Future”.
The 35th year of the Louisville Genealogical Society opens with a positive outlook and a continuing successful operation. This confident perception is based on a number of factors including membership, operating projects, program quality, member participation and overall improvement. We are now operating at the pinnacle of our group’s history. We are experiencing high achievement in almost every area of operation. We will attempt to review each project and activity in this report.
The increase in membership is impressive. Membership at the close of 2019 was 395 (including seven organizational memberships). Astounding when one considers the first group of students who decided in 1985 to organize a society numbered less than two dozen. That is an increase in the order of 1,654%. (The membership total always drops in January each year because of the failure of many members to pay their dues until later in the first quarter – and sometimes even later than that!)
Other statistical indicators bear testimony to our progress. For example, the average regular program attendance has grown to a number ranging from 45 to 62.
Suggestions / Opportunity
- Find ways to encourage members to be more prompt in renewing their annual membership.
- Target a younger adult age group and youth (scouts for example) to ensure Society longevity
The number of projects has increased and, it could be claimed with confidence, the quality of programs has also improved.
SECOND TUESDAY PROGRAMS
The second Tuesday programs which focus on biography and history (primarily Kentucky history) will occasionally have an unusually large crowd because of special interest in a popular topic. We have seen some minor variations in survey comments regarding the nature of second Tuesday activity. Some expressed appreciation for the contribution to the understanding of the historical circumstances and conditions under which their ancestors lived. Others indicated that they thought too much attention is given to historical content to the detriment of genealogy information.
Some early members of LGS have indicated there was a discussion on this issue that took place a number of years ago and the decision was to continuing including historical and biographical programs along with sessions specifically focused on how biography is enabled by the use of genealogy principles and practice.
Suggestions / Opportunity
- Provide an explanation of the value of balancing historical and biographical programs and the benefits of each; especially at the beginning of a historical focused session.
- Highlight the research opportunities related to each session.
Attendance for the fourth Tuesday activity (genealogical tools, practices
and examples) tends to be more consistent and stable although usually a
slightly lower attendance.
When Jane Hamm initiated the workshop programs, the format was to have two to four content sessions during the same hour. This allowed a member to select the one of greatest interest and enabled more group discussion among the smaller groups. It also provided the opportunity to respond to the many varied requests from members.
Special recognition and appreciation should go to Connie Fry who, mostly operating alone, has set up the fourth Tuesday topics and speakers for many years. Members seem to be especially appreciative of her “share your family history” with picture, family stories and family relics. Connie’s work appears to be universally approved and appreciated.
No Second Tuesday programs are scheduled for November and December due to the proximity of Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
Both second and fourth Tuesday program projects have benefited by the
gradual movement from using only LGS members as leaders or instructors
outside resources will be mentioned later in this report.
Suggestions / Opportunity
- Solicit three or four volunteers to rotate taking a month to assist Connie in planning and setting up Fourth Tuesday programs. This could help alleviate the workload for Connie.
- Consider other medium for making programs accessible and attractive to those not available during the workday; for example; online, Saturdays or perhaps one evening program in each quarter.
- Offer some "how to start doing genealogy" workshops, possibly with small groups each using a different genealogy software. e.g. FamilyTreeMaker, Legacy, etc. and giving out paper examples and descriptions for those who have not yet selected a software program.
THIRD WEDNESDAY WORKSHOP
The most astounding and beneficial development in programming has been the addition of our third Wednesday workshop. This project was conceived, developed, maintained, and occasionally, because of unexpected changes in circumstances, modified or relocated by the creator and coordinator, Nancy Roberson.
The effects resulting from this relatively new project are impressive. First, participants can use their own computers in real time to engage the genealogy tools about which they are learning. (This is made possible with the extensive setup of electric cords and sockets and the technical advisory role of Nancy’s husband, Howard, our new Webmaster). Second, the two-presentation schedule (a morning session with an exact repeat in the evening) has engaged a number of participants who work and are
only able to attend night-time programs. On the other hand, older
members who cannot drive at night do not lose the opportunity to
experience the classes. Third, this practical, active, learning mode has created interest in attending other LGS programs by dozens of Nancy’s participants and many have become members. This impressive achievement has led the LGS Officers to reward Nancy with a life-long membership and certificate of achievement.
One troubling challenge now facing this program is the declining attendance at the evening sessions. Some speakers (who lead the program twice in one day) express dismay at having so few participants at the evening session. Suggestions for dealing with this situation would be appreciated. (The evening sessions have been discontinued for the time being until a solution is developed for the disappointing low attendance.)
Suggestions / Opportunity
- Consider having one evening session a quarter with extensive promotion directed at our still-working members.
- Rotate classes between day and evening sessions
- Instead of an evening class, offer it on Saturday.
DNA SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP
This is another relatively new activity developed and coordinated by Debbie
Renard and Debbie Campisano. One might expect the numbers to be smaller than other LGS meetings because it has particular appeal to those who are specifically interested in in exploring their own DNA results or in expanding their general DNA understanding. However, the instructors report that the average attendance is about 40, a number that approaches that of other regular meetings. The factors which appear to sustain the popularity of this program are the involvement of members in engaging and appealing group activities plus the personal attention and assistance provided by its leaders. Class members show great loyalty through repeated participation and often express bountiful appreciation for the help and guidance they receive. Occasional changes such as the necessary relocation of classes to New Albany Library have not dampened enthusiasm.
The expanding base of available DNA information and improved processes for analysis should make this a growing and increasingly more significant activity.
Suggestions / Opportunity
- Consider planning a class for 16 to 25 year olds with online marketing focused on developing research capability, DNA exploration, etc.
FIFTH TUESDAY RESEARCH TRIPS
This project has presented the greatest challenge of all our
activities. The original focus was to conduct a group trip to a site where
significant research sources were available; especially sources that would relate to and benefit many of our membership. Trips have been conducted both within the Metro Louisville area and sites away from Louisville. Attendees travel either alone or in a group to the selected site.
Usually an orientation is presented by a facility staff member or, in some cases, by the LGS trip coordinator. Following that, the visitors are encouraged to stay and investigate available data and do research among the available resources. This has been especially attractive for LGS members who think they have ancestors or relatives in the area of the site chosen for the visit. It is not as beneficial for those who do not have local Kentucky or Southern Indiana heritage. An additional problem is finding sites that can provide more information than can be found in the Metropolitan Jefferson County area or online. Debbie Renard has effectively dealt with this challenge over the past couple of years.
Suggestions / Opportunity
- Consider a series of library research trips which would focus on sources available for one specific state; with special attention to states adjacent to Kentucky.
- Conduct an occasional session focused on international research sources and methods. (Odesa Archives was a specific recommendation.)
- Solicit suggestions from the membership and information about sites they have visited and found productive.
- It might be advantageous to consider visiting certain sites more than once; perhaps every 2-3 years.
ANNUAL FALL SEMINAR
The hallmark of this major activity has been our ability to secure notable and accomplished speakers over the past dozen or more years. This
has resulted in large crowds of enthusiastic and appreciative participants. We receive very few criticisms or irrational suggestions for improvement in our post-program evaluations.
For many of the early years the annual seminar was organized and directed by two individuals; our founder, Jane Turner Hamm and her loyal, devoted side kick, Katherine Morgan. (Katherine’s husband, Dr. Edgar Morgan, occasionally provided extra financial support when funds were lacking.) Now over three dozen members performing the complex, challenging tasks necessary for a successful operation. The society owes a great deal of gratitude for the dedication of these hard-working current members and for those who maintained the program in the past.
The success of our Fall Seminars has gained the society a positive
reputation among nationally known speakers and members of other
societies who have attended or heard of our repeated successful sessions.
SPRING AND FALL LUNCHEONS
The Celebration Committee plans and organizes a Spring Anniversary Luncheon usually held on the second Tuesday of July. A Holiday Luncheon is scheduled for the second Tuesday of December.
PUBICATIONS AND COMMUNICATIONS
The LGS communication methodology has changed dramatically over the years. In the past our primary means of communication was a monthly, monotone-printed, four-page newsletter and a quarterly, Lines & By-Lines. We are continuing to explore ways to make more information available and accessible for our members and find effective methods for enhancing our on-line communication.
We have for many years used the postal service to deliver the newsletter and issues of the quarterly to our membership. However, the rising cost of mailing led us to distribute an on-line copy of the newsletter to each member’s email address and send a print copy by regular mail only to those who do not have computers or are not technologically ready.
The email newsletter has an attractive face with content in color. Information and announcements are usually complete, well organized and easy to read. There is no (unreasonable) limit to the number of pages we can use for the on-line edition. In addition, we are able to quickly add as many late notices or other information as needed even at the last minute before posting. (The postal edition is still in monochrome.)
Suggestions / Opportunity
- Develop more ways to encourage members to peruse all of the newsletter and be better informed regarding LGS activities and learning opportunities by which they can benefit.
Lines and By-lines
Our quarterly has an excellent format and represents our society in a very positive way. However, our membership is failing short in providing our competent editor with the information, biographies and family stories which will attract interest and stimulate greater participation. We need to help members understand that their linage, family charts, biographies and family tales can possibly live forever on the shelf of the libraries who maintain a collection of our publication – or in a cloud if any or all decide to digitalized their holdings. In any case, it is an excellent way to speak to that future descendant many generations down the road who desires to learn about you and his or her heritage. We can right now be providing ancestry information that will live on throughout the future.
It would also be helpful for our members to be aware that every issue of the quarterly, Lines and By-lines, have been posted on the website for issues published from the very first issue, Spring 1986 to the most recent, Winter 2020.
Suggestions / Opportunity
- Increase encouragement for members to write family stories for publication. consider having a occasional class and/or workshop on how to write and publish one’s family stories.
- Place an essay on the Website explaining “How to Write Your Family Stories”.
- Publish an occasional article in the Quarterly on writing a family anecdote or a family history.
- Encourage every member to write and submit a family essay or even a brief anecdotes to our Quarterly editor, Stephanie Clayton, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Establish a monetary and certificate award for best publications for the past year in our quarterly; perhaps $10 for best essay, $10 for best anecdote, and $10 for best article that contributes to genealogical learning or LGS effectiveness and success.
- Consider having a occasional class and/or workshop on how to write and publish one’s family stories.
- Members could contribute a list of the notable articles, especially biographies, DNA discoveries and family stories, which they have read in various journals or genealogical publications. The recommendations could be listed in the following month’s LGS Newsletter in a “table of contents” format.
- Assemble a cadre of LGS writers who can supply the current journal editor with a selection of professional articles on widely varying subjects to give the editor the opportunity to select and publish items which might be beneficial to our membership. These could serve as models for writing family information or stories.
- Identify members who have demonstrated writing ability, to individually mentor anyone who requests help with a family story for which they are uncomfortable or have difficulty in writing.
We also have a method for letting members know of urgent issues, critical reminders or late-submitted notices by using a “blast” notification which sends the word via the internet to our entire membership simultaneously. The Membership Chair and Webmaster have cooperated in implementing this process several times.
One of the more significant contributions to our information treasury was made by Jack Koppel. Several years ago Jack approached LGS Board members to ask if the Society had any interest in using the thousands of pictures he had personally photographed of graves and tombstones in regional cemeteries. Their positive response led to the production of a DVD, “Tombstones of Jefferson County, Kentucky”. The disk was created with a complete index by which finding a relative’s name would lead to a picture of the target tombstone and indicate the cemetery where it was located. Copies are made available at LGS functions and many have been purchased. Fortunately, Phil Hysell and Jack Koppel have the expertise to reproduce copies as needed so it is not necessary to create and maintain a large number.
LGS has a very small but attractive library. We have invested in a desk, a table, chairs and an all-in-one printer/copier has been contributed. Arguably the three most significant aspects are the collection of recent publications of other societies (mostly in Kentucky and adjoining states), the preservation of LGS records and the fact the library is open each time the LDS Church opens its Family History Center across the hall (and when LGS is in session). The facility has been appropriately designated as the Jane Turner Hamm Library.
Limited space and limited literary resources have constrained its usefulness in the past. In some part this is due to the use of the library as a storage room for both physical materials and documents. It would be worse except for the generous offer of a couple of members to provide space in their homes for storing some LGS items.
Recent donations of significant genealogical reference books from members’ private collections may stimulate the probability of more library visits. Many of these books are seminal references and are now of even more importance considering stronger copyright restrictions have been placed on digitization efforts by the LDS Church and GoogleBooks.
In any case, our one room bibliotheca makes a useful and compatible companion resource for the LDS Family History Library. This arrangement seems to work well for both facilities.
Suggestions / Opportunity
- Consider collecting and digitalizing all the records we can find and place them in a searchable password protected, cloud-based storage based on our LGS Library computer which would make them accessible to Officers and Board Members as review is needed. This collection should include Board minutes, Seminar Committee Minutes, regular meeting minutes and those records already digitalized.
- Evaluate the possibility of using database software LGS purchased years ago which could enable the cataloging of our holdings. This would permit patrons to more efficiently search for subjects about which they wish additional information. This process has not been implemented due to the absence of a committee with a manager and volunteers to take on the project. (Phil Hysell recently stated that we now have a volunteer for the task.)
As the internet became more widely used and understood, our society has been pressed to become more involved in technological applications. About 2002 Amelia Debusman and a friend attended an Iglou program on how to plan a website so they could possibly create one for their church. (Iglou was the primary cable provider in the Louisville area at the time.) After a website was established for the Crescent Hill Baptist Church, Amelia used the same format to create a very basic website for LGS.
In 2012 an LGS member, D. C. Stewart, had access to a RootsWeb program that provided instructions for creating a website. He used it to create a more advanced LGS webpage. The task of maintaining the site was accepted by another member, Delores Eisenbeis. She volunteered to oversee the site and to post any data the Board members wished to preserve there. The site was rarely used in its early days because many of our members were not technically capable. It gradually became more and more significant as membership, programs and data increased while members were becoming more technologically aware and involved. In November of 2014, Delores resigned the position and Phil Hysell stepped in to help.
The National Genealogical Society had a process for evaluating and suggesting improvements for genealogy websites maintained by NGS member chapters. Phil contacted NGS and worked with their technical representative to conduct an analysis of the LGS website in June of 2015. The report indicated LGS checked out very well. There were a few important items missing including no indication of copywrite protection and the absence of a notice for volunteer opportunities. Other imperfections were attributed to the limitations of the RootsWeb program we were using.
We continued making slow but progressive improvements in spite of difficulties with the RootsWeb format. Our champion appeared when Mike Dittoe joined the society. Mike is an IT specialist with extensive experience and capability. He accepted the role of Webmaster and made numerous amazing improvements before accepting a full-time position at the Sons of the American Revolution Library (SAR) which made it necessary for him to resign as LGS Webmaster. Howard Roberson has accepted the Webmaster role and has expressed his appreciation for the improved web page and increased capability Mike developed.
The LGS website is one of the best sources for information, education and motivation we have. Unfortunately, it is underused by our members and some are not aware of its contents. Any visitor can open and read the front page which has information describing the LGS organization, announcing upcoming programs, sharing notices from other genealogical organizations and presents a video “Our Founder’s Story” narrated by Jane Hamm.
There are many other items and data collections that are only accessible by members. For example, members may peruse the membership list; review and change items on their own profile; review the surnames members have submitted to check for relationships; enter additional surnames they are investigating and view other helpful content.
The “How To” tab in the left-hand column is very helpful when exploring the site.
Suggestions / Opportunity
- Publish a list of items available to members (a table of contents) on
the members’ section of the webpage with a full description of each and how to access each document or collection.
- Officers must make sure our new Webmaster, Howard Roberson, has all the resources needed to maintain and continue the enhancement of our website.
Dropbox is a remote, commercial website that houses databanks and other information an organization cannot or prefers not to maintain locally; usually because the organization requires the preservation of a large volume. (Storage sites like this are popularly known as a “cloud”). Typically, a cloud provider will offer a small storage quantity free but charges for larger volume. We have used Dropbox for several years.
LGS has been effectively using Dropbox since it was first engaged during the year of Jenny Dixon’s presidency. We have successfully installed materials such as budget, forms & brochures, by-laws, job descriptions, event photographs, minutes, procedures, legal documents, supply ordering information and history, webpage info and other applications. A tutorial for the use of DropboxTM has been posted there within the “Procedures” folder.
The storage is protected by password, which is changed annually, and intended for use only by LGS Board Members. There is one “Public” folder that is intended for open access by persons other than Board Members.
The free limit of Dropbox is 2GB and we are now approaching that level. The board has recently voted to subscribe for 1T which should serve our needs for the life of the society. Many interesting items can be found on our Dropbox site including:
- Pictures of speakers and activities made during regular programs,
- Pictures from trips to Salt Lake and Fort Wayne and other remote research sites,
- Membership Application (for distribution to potential members),
- Forms and Brochures,
- Request for funds for approved LGS projects and activities,
- Models of Luncheon programs and business cards,
- Templates for the LGS logo,
- List of Board Members.
- By Laws,
- Supply Ordering Information and History
- LGS Legal Documents, etc.
Suggestion / Opportunity
- Find more ways to inform members about Dropbox content and how to access it.
- If you are a LGS member and do not know the password for Dropbox, ask any Officer or Board member.
- Responder’s Question: Are we restricting the use of Dropbox to members only and, if so, should that continue?
ADDITIONAL GENERAL SUGGESTIONS AND OPPORTUNITIES
CONCERNS ABOUT THE FUTURE
Apprehensions about our immediate future are few but planning to ensure a successful outlook is rather urgent. Considerations regarding our not-so-distant future bring to mind several concerns.
LEADERSHIP SELECTION AND DEVELOPMENT
A concern we should address as soon as possible is our over-extended LGS leadership and our leadership selection process. We should also remain cognizant of the possibility of stagnation. Letting our core movers and shakers do the same tasks for years and years without change is hazardous to our society’s health. We know we have good, irreplaceable volunteers with special skills – and knowledge. These skills should always be recognized and fully utilized – i.e. good presentation skills, good technical skills, good writing skills, good advertising and marketing skills, etc. We should definitely not continue to recycle and relegate our “stars” to even more menial tasks just because they respond willingly (and sometimes reluctantly) to do so because we fail to search out ‘new blood’.
It is obvious each fall that we have insufficient planning and lack effective implementation for leadership selection. Typically, we appoint a nominating committee in October ignoring or forgetting the by-laws which indicate the nominating committee should be appointed in August. We then expect them to hold meetings in order to find, persuade and announce officer nominations before our November meeting. Then the new President and Vice President in this busiest season of the year are expected to confirm committee leaders before our first meeting in January. Our saving grace here has been that normally eighty percent or more have been amenable to serving another term, but often the Nominating Committee and others are needed to help with filling the remaining vacant spots.
Several critical positions are occupied by members who have quietly conducted their activity over a number of years and have perfected their role. There are important positions for which many have no one with the experience or knowledge needed; someone who can effectively step into the position when a vacancy occurs.
A respondent to our initial status report draft suggested we may need to consider a new pre-program format that improves our ability to recognize and encourage potential candidates or “interns” among program attendees. We have reduced the Board Meeting and the Seminar Committee sessions by fifteen minutes for the stated purpose of giving board members time to circulate and welcome both guests and members. It is seems obvious that this time is not being used effectively. It appears the time is used to visit among our membership and there is a lack of welcoming visitors and getting to know them. In addition to helping attendees feel welcome, comfortable and essential, the practice of greeting and getting to know newcomers could help us to identify potential candidates who are capable of assisting with various committee opportunities.
Our growth as a society over the past 35 years is indeed dramatic, but without dynamic leadership in place, our level of achievement can decline quickly.
Suggestions / Opportunity
- We need to eliminate the last minute, year-end rush to “just find somebody” to accept a leadership or committee role.
- We could create a list of names of individuals who appear
competent, available and may respond to an invitation to serve. This list should be maintained and reviewed regularly by our Officers. It also should be available for the Nominating Committee to review and consider..
- Encourage Officers, Board Members and experienced LGS members to greet all visitors, speak to all new members and gather “intel” regarding potential recruits for office and committees. These should be added to the list maintained by LGS officers.
INSUFFICIENT BASIC BEGINNING GENERALOGY PROGRAMS
Our leadership has recently brought attention to the absence of enough specific emphasis on how to initiate a research into one’s family history. Several suggestions were submitted including the possibility of having a three-hour session on a Saturday using our own chapter leaders. It is hoped that the new officers and board will follow through on this.
Suggestion and Opportunity
- Offer one-on-one assistance for those who have difficulty getting started with their genealogy. Perhaps require participation or assistance in one or two activities as “payment” for the tutoring.
- Consider setting up a buddy system for blocked or struggling members. This might be especially helpful for working members unable to attend regularly scheduled meetings.
- Consider conducting a “summer camp”.
LACK OF AN ORIENTATION PROGRAM FOR NEW MEMBERS AND INTERESTED VISITORS
All of us have had enough conversations with outsiders or visitors to know there are many who are curious or interested in our organization and genealogical activity. The numerous programs and activities listed in this report can be very confusing for a new member or visitor. It is difficult to fully understand what activities are available and what is the purpose of each effort. Creating an informative orientation could engender greater participation as newcomers (and interested outsiders) come to understand what’s going on; how each activity is helpful and, hopefully, find a special interest in which they might be willing to become involved. An orientation could be planned for once each quarter following the regular program with a brief review of programs (perhaps accompanied by handouts further describing activities) and a Q&A session.
Suggestions and Opportunity
- Conduct a new member orientation for new members on basics; e.g. effective initial genealogical activity, best starting resources, etc.
- Consider creating an orientation video and make it available online to deal with the difficulty of organizing a class when new members are coming on board at various times and for those who cannot attend a class because of work schedules.
- Add a list to the "New Member" packet that explains the purpose and general focus of each of the regular meetings; not the specific topic.
- Provide a “Did You Know” or “Typical Questions” for the following newsletter based on content from recently conducted sessions
ERRONEOUS PERCEPTIONS REGARDING MONETARY ISSUES
Some members have expressed concern about a state law indicating non-profit organizations must not accumulate excessive savings. It is a mistake to consider any excess money obtained through our Fall Seminar as “profit”. This is not the appropriate term or concept. It would be best if we refer to this overage as “Contribution” (to member services).
Our income for the fall session does often exceed the direct costs related to that year’s seminar. However, it does not completely take care of the many expenses not covered by membership fees. Some members do not understand that the annual fee barely covers the cost of producing and distributing our LGS journal, Lines and By-Lines; not to speak of other program and operating costs.
Twelve or fourteen years ago we had Certificate of Deposit savings well in excess of $6,000. This accumulation of savings was obtained from a number of sources including sales of donated books, cash donations, services, and various other means of income. A large portion came from the hard work of past members who researched genealogical information, organize it into book form, printed and sold the books or provided them free to libraries and other genealogical organizations. We have been gradually but consistently eating away at that beneficial monetary resource without any other means of replacing what we are using! Now that amount is in the area of $3,000.
The stated purpose of our Society is to educate, guide and promote sound principles and effective practices related to the research of members’ heritage. As long as we carry out that purpose, we have nothing to fear from a charge of illegal “profits” but we must continue to use and invest our money wisely in that venture.
Suggestions / Opportunity
- The brief financial report we present in the general meeting does not help the membership understand that an individual’s annual fee barely covers the cost of printing the quarterly and newsletter. We need to find ways to help them recognize that monetary reality.
- Perhaps distributing a more detailed “End of the Year” report specifying each income source, total expenses by category will help.
EXPERIENCING INCREASING COSTS OF PROGRAM FEES AND EXPENSES
As we use more and more outside speakers and leaders, we are faced with increasing costs. It is becoming more and more difficult to find outstanding speakers who will come without fee. We are obligated to pay travel expenses for those who come from outside the Metropolitan area. Much of our success has been based on quality speakers who are both qualified and interesting, but the cost seems to be constantly rising.
LGS NEEDS GUARDIANS OF THE FUTURE
Some members have assumed that the role of the elected Genealogical Advisors was to oversee the chapter operations and guide planning for the future. It has been made clear that was not the originally intended role for that position. In fact, when Jane Hamm established this position. her intention was to have competent, experienced individuals available to advise and assist others in researching their ancestry.
This leaves a significant void. Reviewing program effectiveness and considering improvements cannot be left to the president since he/she has their hands full with guiding and overseeing on-going operations. We need elected officials who will be “guardians” of our future by:
- reviewing and publicizing accomplishments of the past year;
- identifying problems and developing solutions;
- conducting occasional surveys to understand the current thinking of the membership;
- preparing a “state of the society” report at least every third year
- and, in general, overseeing the effectiveness of the organization.
This position would be called “Trustee” in some organization. “Conservator” seems a more appropriate designation for LGS. This ‘conservator’ group would also oversee necessary maintenance, such as ensuring that LGS Job Descriptions are updated on a more regular basis. Job functions within LGS change as people, technology and methodologies change. Thus, these descriptions should be updated as needed.
If the by-laws are altered to include such an elected position, it is hoped the “Conservators” would review this status report (and any following) to identify, select and plan an implementation for the most viable suggestions.
Initiating this role, if approved, could begin with electing a group of three with a rotating three-year tenure. “Rotating” means one retirement and one new election each year. (Properly beginning this staggered rotation would require the first three individuals elected would be assigned specifically, by name for one, two, and three years. Thereafter, each new, replacing member would be elected for three years. It is expected that retirement from this important group would not be permanent; thus a former member would be available for nomination in a future election but not in the very next election following retirement.)
In summation, our Society is healthy and effective thanks to the hundreds of hours contributed by our dedicated membership. As expected, we have identified several areas needing improvement. If we were to each year select and implement only two or three of the many ideas put forth here, we would significantly add to the durability and future effectiveness of the Louisville Genealogical Society. If you are not already an active working member, please join in this exciting journey so that we together may make it so.
The most gratifying and satisfactory fact to report is that we still have our beloved founder, Jane Turner Hamm, with us at 95 years of age.