Thursday, September 23, 2010

End of an Era?

The SGS Computer Interest Interest Group (CIG) was the first of its kind in the US, formed in January 1981. Due to our inability to find anyone willing to lead (or co-lead) this group, the CIG missed its regular September meeting and is likely to be discontinued. Ironically, a member has volunteered to do the tasks that previous leaders of the group have found the most tedious--scheduling meeting rooms, maintaining the email and attendance lists, and communicating with SGS Publications and Education directors. What we don't have is anyone willing to find and schedule speakers on topics that combine genealogy and computers.
Several members have suggested that this might be a reasonable time to discontinue the CIG. Unlike 25 to 30 years ago, virtually everyone doing genealogy these days uses a computer in their search for those elusive ancestors. And virtually every SGS presentation includes information on websites or other computer-related resources.
Personally, I already miss the learning that occurred on those second Saturdays. While I probably qualify as a computer nerd myself (having worked with computers since 1968), I learned something new almost every month. There are so many new applications coming out every year that there's no way one person can keep up with all of them. Some of my favorite sessions have been the "holiday sharing" and "new toys" sessions, when I got to see all the cool computer toys other CIG members with larger genealogy budgets had acquired. And I really loved that we had a wide range of computer experience in the audience every month.
So...this month's poll question is simple: is it time to permanently disband SGS's computer interest group? Please take the poll in the upper right corner of this page and share your thoughts by using the comment button below or email me directly at

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Last week SGS sent out two mailings--our fall seminar brochure and our Newsletter. The seminar brochure went to all current and former members (back to 2007) and non-members who have attended one or more of our conferences in the last five years. The Newsletter was only mailed to those who either requested a printed copy or paid the optional $6.00 printing/mailing fee. Since both items went out bulk mail last Thursday afternoon, they could be delivered to your mailbox anytime in the next week. An email was sent to our SGS-Members listserv on Friday letting members know that a digital version of the Newsletter is available on our website.
At the same time, we have been moving all members who did not renew for our 2010-2011 membership year (which started June 1st) to "inactive" status and removing them from our SGS-Members listserv. Unfortunately, our listserv adminstrator erroneously sent a message out to the listserv last week that was meant for our Director of Membership. That message seemed to suggest that everyone who received it was being removed from the listserv. That was certainly not the case, but the erroneous message resulted in many outraged emails. People who were removed from the SGS-Members listserv were then added to our SGS-Announce listserv (for non-members to receive seminar announcements). Everyone removed from the SGS-Members listserv received an email from Rootsweb informing them that they had been unsubscribed.
Unfortunately, it seems that our data entry quality control has not been up to snuff lately, and quite a few members who have renewed were not accurately recorded as such in our database. To be fair, the software we use for our membership and mailing database is not the easiest to use. Membership date information has to be entered correctly in three different places, and another check box marked for Newsletter mailings.
Some of our members have sent some pretty snippy emails to us, complaining about our record-keeping. Please remember that EVERYONE at SGS is a volunteer. We are all doing the best we can and sometimes we're not perfect. Our Membership team is working hard to correct our database. Please be nice to them.