Policy Discussion and New Relationships

Last Saturday, November 2, 2019, Guernsey County Chapter of OGS hosted 5 genealogy societies to lunch and a policy discussion. Alan D., Christy W., and Denise B. attended for Tuscarawas County.  The discussion was a round table format with each society, Guernsey, Noble, Muskingum, Tuscarawas, and Harrison,  sharing and learning.

Each of our “policies” seems to be unique to our society’s physical location. Two societies were very similar in that they are housed in a public library, one is strictly stand alone, another shared with like interest and yet one more housed in county property.

Let’s recap just a bit –

Volunteers & Membership– the back bone of our existence. How to recruit more – at each program be ready with that smiling FUN face with Membership Cards, rack cards/brochure at public places.  Create display boards for “Open Houses” and speak at service club meetings. Each society struggles with gaining more members, as many people feel ‘online’ genealogy has everything. Volunteers are extremely important and needed at every level.

Volunteer Training – Society training for new volunteers – small sections at a time – ensure another seasoned person works alongside letting them gain confidence

Fundraising – No Society had a single plan. All efforts seem to be around the sale of publications, research fee’s and membership.

Research & Library Usage Fee’s – We all find it difficult to take a request over the phone. We ask that patrons be very specific in either email or letter form. Knowing our specific society has different county “collections” really seemed to effect what we are capable of researching. The actual “time” charges vary and each society needs to  make sure “fee” is collected prior to sending off our work. We cannot guarantee the individual will be happy with what is found – just that we have exhausted all avenues of research.

Linage Societies – Each county has at least one lineage society – some four. All accepted work is kept LOCKED.  We all differed with when we induct members into the lineage society, whether yearly or bi-yearly.

Donations – We learned it’s quite acceptable to have a “Release Waiver”. This enables each society to pass along items not of genealogy value or within their county boundary. Duplicates can be sold or passed to other organization.

Catalog & Inventory – Very difficult to change from one system to another way to keep track of.

Meetings & Programs – Programs with Business Meetings after or Single Programs with additional “Executive Board”.

Education / Workshop – Ensure your volunteers have library training. To gain genealogy enthusiast “Education” on very specific topic’s. How can this work for you – is this a single program for the beginner with additional topics as that person becomes enthralled with tracing their family.

This policy discussion was what, I hope, is the beginning of a new and wonderful relationship with our surrounding societies.

And to our members, if you have any suggestions on the above topics or another topic close to your heart, please contact us at and share your thoughts!