Monday, December 27, 2010

Matt Wright Appointed Editor of FGS FORUM

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Selects Family History and Publishing Expert to Head its Electronic Quarterly Magazine

December 27, 2010 – Austin, TX. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) today announces the appointment of Matt Wright as Editor of its electronic quarterly magazine, the FGS FORUM.

For the past 15 years, Wright has worked professionally in the publishing industry producing magazines, journals, books, and electronic newsletters. Matt graduated cum laude from Brigham Young University (BYU) in 1996 with a degree in Communications and currently works at BYU, where he builds online courses in the University’s distance education department.

During his career, Matt has also worked for,, Utah Business magazine, and USATODAY® online, among other organizations and groups. He currently also works as editor of APGQ, the quarterly journal of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

With the helpful encouragement of a genealogist-father, Raymond S. Wright, III, Matt has participated in family history research on his own, and for others, for over 20 years. His more recent involvement has been focused on producing genealogy publications.

Beginning with the Spring 2011 issue of the FGS FORUM, Matt Wright takes over the editor duties from Sandra Hargreaves Luebking who announced her retirement in October 2010 after serving as editor for the past 25 years. During that period, Luebking built FGS FORUM into one of the most popular genealogy-related quarterlies available.

The member genealogical societies of FGS, as well as the entire genealogical community, look forward to working with Matt in his new position as editor of the FGS FORUM.

About the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS)

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) was founded in 1976 and represents the members of hundreds of genealogical societies. FGS links the genealogical community by helping genealogical societies strengthen and grow through resources available online, FGS Forum magazine (filled with articles pertaining to society management and genealogical news), and Society Strategy Series papers, covering topics about effectively operating a genealogical society. FGS also links the genealogical community through its annual conference -- four days of excellent lectures, including one full day devoted to society management topics. To learn more visit

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Great Gift Idea for Your Genealogist Friends!

Are you having a tough time figuring out the perfect gift to give your genealogy friends? It isn't so difficult after all. Give them a gift that they will enjoy all year long. Give them a membership in your local genealogy society.

A genealogy society membership gives your friends access to all of the meetings and educational programs throughout the year. If the society produces newsletters or journals, these publications can keep them up-to-date with happenings in the genealogical community. Your friends can also get involved in society projects. But most of all, they will make new friends with others who share the excitement of genealogy.

Don't worry if they already have a society membership. You can give them an year's extension for their membership. Just talk with your local society's treasurer to make it happen and to obtain a gift notification.

You can locate society contact information at FGS Society Hall at Simply go to the web address, select a state, and click the Search Society Hall button. A list of societies will be displayed in name order. Societies that are FGS members are denoted with the FGS logo at the left. Click on the society and follow the links to either their website or to email their contact person.

You can't go wrong with a gift of a genealogical society membership! And let your family know that it's a great gift for you too!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The TechSoup's On - Do You Have Your Bowl?

Are you familiar with Did you know that as a qualified non-profit organization, your genealogical society can acccess not only low-cost or free software and office equipment through TechSoup, but also donations of free items?

TechSoup partners include most major technology companies and providers including Microsoft, Adobe, Cisco, Symantec and more. Products available include Windows, Office 2010, anti-virus software and even Go-To-Meeting as well as basic office equipment.

Register Your Organization
Before you can begin ordering items and services, your genealogical society must register and be approved through a rigorous process. You will need to create an account at TechSoup with a login and password, provide basic information about your organization, and also provide a copy of your 501(c)(3) qualification letter from the Internal Revenue Service.

Once approved - the process normally takes about two weeks - you will be able to designate one or more persons in your society who can make product and purchasing decisions at TechSoup.

Get Products
Qualifying for TechSoup is the difficult part and shopping is the fun part. If you have ever wanted to bring your society into the 21st century from a technology standpoint, then taking advantage of TechSoup, its community and its services requires your attention. Don't pass up this opportunity!

You can follow TechSoup at its Facebook page and on Twitter.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Data Backups for Genealogical Societies

For many genealogists and family historians, the first day of each month is Data Backup Day as popularized by several genealogy-related websites and even magazines. But how much consideration have you, as a genealogical society leader or member, given to ensuring that your society's data is secure?

Data Backup and Data Succession
A quick review of what we mean when we use the terms Data Backup and Data Succession:
  • Data Backup means taking any digital data, whether it is emails, website files or other items and creating a backup copy.
  • Data Succession means the ability for access to and management of data to be passed on to other society leaders and board members.
Here are some issues that genealogical societies should be confronting in terms of data backup and data succession, and sooner rather than later:
  • Society website administration: is your Webmaster the only person with the password to the society website for purposes of adding new information, making changes, etc.?
  • Society data: if your society is not backing up its data on a regular basis, how will you restore years of work by your members and volunteers? Will you need to scan and re-index documents manually?
  • Society website data: what if your website host were to go belly-up? Would you be able to set up a new website or blog quickly using backed up data?
  • Disaster recovery: If your society's building or space were flooded or hit by fire, how quickly could you get set up at a new location?
Don’t think that one or more of these issues can’t affect your genealogical society. Recently there have been instances of society buildings damaged by leaky roofs, fire and more. One society had their Webmaster leave the group after a disagreement and wouldn’t relinquish access to the website.

The intent of this post is not to scare you as a society leader or board member but to get your group to think of solutions and to put into place a plan of action.
  • Update your society’s policies and procedures. Spell out clearly not only the responsibilities of the Webmaster, but also who is to serve as a backup, where login credentials and passwords are to be stored etc.
  • Create a disaster recovery plan. Just as you would have in a business, your society should prepare a plan in case one or more disasters strike. Consider what it would take to set up a new location, a new website, etc.
  • Backup your data NOW. Don’t delay! If resources are tight, see if a society member can donate an old external hard drive. Also, there are many free resources for data backup including DropBox which provides up to 2GB of free online storage.
Any society can take steps to better manage and back-up all of its data including website data. Most if not all of the resources are free and within reach of every society. Make sure that the topic is discussed with your board and make plans in 2011 to have a data backup plan!
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