Saving Our Society

Hello from beautiful Knoxville, Tennessee!

Several DGS board members are attending this years Federation of Genealogical Societies conference. I’ll be posting thoughts and observations as time permits and will try to encourage a few of my cohorts to do the same.

The keynote session was titled ‘SOS! SOS! Saving Our Societies: Answering Our Distress Beacons’ by Curt. B. Wicher, manager for the Genealogical section of the Allen County public library in Indiana ( URL: ).

Curt’s talk was many things: a distress call, a motivational speech and a call to action for genealogical societies. He pointed out that genealogy on the internet has attracted tens of thousands of people (and that number is growing) while membership in ‘traditional’ genealogical societies is declining. He then discussed strategies and factors that might help traditional organizations survive and grow.

He stressed the importance of introspection. As an organization, we should constantly be asking ourselves ‘what difference do we make?’ and questioning why we are doing the things we are doing. I also liked his emphasis on the need to structure activities, events and projects so that we all feel a sense of accomplishment and have fun doing it.

More than anything else I was energized by his  encouragement to be a spark for change and to work within the organization and within the community to cooperate, collaborate and network to advance the goals of the society.

Tony Hanson

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