Monday, February 27, 2012

A Threat to New York Records - Your Help Needed

[Editor's note: Once again, your access to records as a genealogist and family historian is being threatened. Please read the following information below - your help is needed!]

The following letter is of utmost importance for anyone who wants to access archives in New York City. Please read this and then go to http://www.nycarchivists.org/doris_petition and digitally "sign" the petition.

* * *

At the behest of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the New York City Council has proposed legislation that would eliminate the autonomy of New York City's Department of Records and Information Services (DORIS), the agency that is responsible for the records and archival documents produced by past and present City governments. The proposed legislation (Int. 486-2011) would place the currently independent agency within the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS).

If passed, this legislation would significantly downgrade the authority of DORIS within City government and potentially put at risk its ability to preserve, protect and make accessible the intellectual legacy of one of the world's greatest cities. A full position statement on the proposed legislation is available on the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York's website at http://www.nycarchivists.org.

Please add your name to the sign-on letter to oppose the proposed legislation, and advocate for the preservation of DORIS as an autonomous records agency, with the financial support and professional respect it deserves. The sign-on letter is located at http://www.nycarchivists.org/doris_petition. Every signature matters. Help New York City, as an international cultural and financial leader, and the place with the greatest variety and highest density of archives in the world, set the standard for how a democratic government preserves and makes accessible its documentary heritage.

Sincerely,

The Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York, Inc.

Monday, February 20, 2012

FGS Radio: Society Leadership: Presidents’ Day


Click here to create a reminder to listen to FGS Radio:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mysociety/2012/02/25/society-leadership-presidents-day

Saturday, February 25, 2012
2-3pm Eastern US
1-2pm Central US
12-1pm Mountain US
11am-12pm Pacific US

Join us for the next episode of FGS Radio - My Society, an Internet radio show on Blog talk Radio presented by the Federation of Genealogical Societies.

This week’s episode hosted by Randy Whited is entitled Society Leadership: Presidents’ Day. Our guests will be Sue Kaufman, President of the Texas State Genealogical Society, and Pat Oxley, president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. Together they will discuss this integral role on the board of most genealogical societies and how they overcame challenges to move their organizations forward. In addition, we’ll be featuring FGS member society, Clarke-Oconee Genealogical Society, in our weekly Society Spotlight feature.

Guest: Sue Kaufman

Sue Kaufman is President of the Texas State Genealogical Society and Manager of the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research - Houston Public Library. She has served on many genealogical society boards including as a Director of the Federation of Genealogical Societies; as District Representative for the Texas State Genealogical Society and the Indiana Genealogical Society; as a Director with the Illinois State Genealogical Society; and served on local society boards. She is also a popular speaker at genealogical society meetings and workshops.

Links

Guest: Pat Oxley

Pat is a Past President of the Austin Genealogical Society and began serving FGS by volunteering in the Federation's office in Austin. She has served on the FGS Board since May of 2005, when she was appointed after spending volunteer time serving as the Exhibits Chair at several conferences. In 2006 she was elected to the Board for a three year term. Since that time Pat has served on and chaired the Conference Planning Committee, the Booth Committee, and served on the Exhibits, 30th Anniversary, and Membership Committees. She was the National Co- Chair of the 2010 FGS Conference in Knoxville. In January of 2008 she was appointed to the position of Vice President, Administration. When the elected President stepped down in January of 2009 Pat took over as President and was re-elected to a second term.

Links

Society Spotlight

This week's Society Spotlight features the Clarke-Oconee Genealogical Society.

Purpose: The Clarke-Oconee Genealogical Society (C.O.G.S.) was organized September 1987 in Athens, Georgia (home of the University of Georgia). The goal of the organization is to help further individual genealogical research efforts, knowledge, and techniques by way of our general meetings, roundtables, workshops, special interest groups, field trips, publications, and quarterly newsletter. The Society also promotes the collection and preserving of information relative to Clarke and Oconee Counties and the surrounding areas.

Scope: Research materials and resources are not limited to Clarke and Oconee Counties or to the southeastern states as we realize that many people are researching other parts of the U.S. and the world. Working together, we are able to help these people locate local sources for the information they are seeking.

Mission: 1). Collect, preserve, and disseminate knowledge and information with reference to genealogical and related historical, biographical, and heraldic data; 2). Encourage accurate research in these fields; 3). Adhere to practices of accuracy and thoroughness in research; 4). Champion ethical standards and discourage and oppose incompetent and disreputable practices and researchers; 5). Foster careful documentation and scholarly writing; 6). Issue publications; and 7). Encourage and provide scholarly training for all interested in these endeavors.

Links



Join Us Each Saturday Afternoon at FGS Radio

Tune in to FGS Radio – My Society each week to learn more about genealogy societies and join in a discussion of the issues impacting the genealogical community.

Monday, February 13, 2012

SSDI Call to Action Kit Now Available

The Records Preservation and Access Committee has created a Call to Action Kit to support the Stop ID Theft NOW initiative.

Access the kit at http://www.fgs.org/rpac/sddi-call-to-action-kit/.

If you have questions concerning the Social Security Death Index and its possible loss as a resource for the genealogical community, please check all the resources available in the kit including:

  • Educational videos and FAQ sheets.
  • Form letters that you can use to contact Congress and let them know you do not support removal of the Social Security Death Index.
  • And ways to spread the word to other members of the genealogical community.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

FGS Radio: Strategic Planning for Genealogical Societies


NOTE: This episode was originally scheduled for Saturday, February 4, 2012 but due to technical issues, we were unable to broadcast.

Click here to create a reminder to listen to FGS Radio:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mysociety/2012/02/18/strategic-planning-for-genealogy-societies

Saturday, February 18, 2012
2-3pm Eastern US
1-2pm Central US
12-1pm Mountain US
11am-12pm Pacific US

Join us for the next episode of FGS Radio - My Society, an Internet radio show on Blog talk Radio presented by the Federation of Genealogical Societies.

This week’s episode hosted by Drew Smith is entitled Strategic Planning for Genealogy Societies. Our guest will be Kenyatta D. Berry, President of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG). Kenyatta will discuss APG’s recent strategic planning efforts and how similar efforts can benefit any and all genealogy societies.  In addition, we’ll be featuring FGS member society, Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society, in our weekly Society Spotlight feature.

Guest: Kenyatta D. Berry

Kenyatta D. Berry is the current president of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG). She is an experienced lawyer, genealogist, and researcher with proven analytical abilities, and excellent written and oral communication skills. She focuses on African-American and Virginia genealogical research. For the past two years, she has engaged in numerous family research projects for clients with European, Native American, and African-American ancestry. She lives in Santa Monica, California.

Kenyatta D. Berry will discuss the importance of treating your society as a business and will share an overview of the value of and process of performing a strategic planning review. She also will talk about the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG).

Links
Society Spotlight

This week's Society Spotlight features the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society.

The dream of all "homeless" genealogy societies came true for the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society (SBCGS) in June 1998, when the family of Dr. Melville Sahyun, a local medical pioneer, donated his historic laboratory property to the SBCGS to be used as a non-circulating library for family history research.

In 1972, two women placed an ad in the Santa Barbara newspaper, looking for others searching for roots; the response was the origin of the SBCGS. Since then, the society had met in members' homes, a community center, a public library, and churches. The society's "library" began when members, willing to donate their books, kept the books in their homes and carried them to the meetings.

By early 1998, the SBCGS library had grown to more than 4,500 books and was housed on jury-rigged shelving in two rented rooms of about 600 sq. ft., along with a computer, photocopier, desk, microfiche reader, six filing cabinets, and an 8' reading table! The library was bursting at the seams; and the society, at 475 members, continued to grow.

Links

Join Us Each Saturday Afternoon at FGS Radio

Tune in to FGS Radio – My Society each week to learn more about genealogy societies and join in a discussion of the issues impacting the genealogical community.

Friday, February 10, 2012

RootsTech Resources for Genealogical Societies


Click here to create a reminder to listen to FGS Radio:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mysociety/2012/02/11/rootstech-resources-for-genealogical-societies

Saturday, February 11, 2012
2-3pm Eastern US
1-2pm Central US
12-1pm Mountain US
11am-12pm Pacific US

Join us for the next episode of FGS Radio - My Society, an Internet radio show on Blog talk Radio presented by the Federation of Genealogical Societies.

This week’s episode hosted by Thomas MacEntee is entitled RootsTech Resources for Genealogical Societies. Our guests will include: J. Paul Hawthorne, President of The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego; Tina Lyons, Vice President of the Indiana Genealogical Society; and Tony Hanson, webmaster and leader of the Technology Special Interest Group for the Dallas Genealogical Society. In addition, we’ll be featuring FGS member society, Nebraska State Genealogical Society, in our weekly Society Spotlight feature.

Guests

J. Paul Hawthorne

Paul always had a curiosity for his family ancestors from an early age. Asking questions from his grandparents and taking notes since 6th. grade, he eventually began going to the public library's to do more research. He started corresponding on genealogy message lists in the late 1990's and found many new cousins across the U.S. He has had a public tree online with Ancestry.com since 2001 and now has over 2,500 people with sources. He recently became President of The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego which focuses on computer software and practices combined with genealogy.

Links:



Tina Lyons

Tina Lyons is the current Vice President of the Indiana Genealogical Society. She lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana and researches at the Allen County Public Library frequently. Tina writes about her ancestors and genealogy adventures on her blog GenWishList.

Links:



Tony Hanson

Tony Hanson has been a Genealogist since 1999. He is active in the Dallas Genealogical Society where he serves as the group’s webmaster and as the leader of the Technology Special Interest Group. He received the groups ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award in 2010, and their web site won the Texas State Genealogical Society Website Design award in 2011. He has worked in a variety of technical roles for AT&T for the past 29 years.

Links:



Society Spotlight

This week's Society Spotlight features the Nebraska State Genealogical Society.

  • Organized: 1977
  • Membership Information: Individual $20.00 Family (Husband & Wife) $23.00 Sustaining (for the Philanthropist) $30.00 Institution $17.00 Foreign (non-U.S. residents) $25.00
  • Member: Benefits Surname & Lineage Files (Members are encouraged to file pedigree charts and surname cards. Members may request one free search of the surname file.) Microfilm Rental (Members may rent microfilm from the Society's collection.) Book Rental (Members may rent books and publications from the NSGS Library Collection) Nebraska Ancestree (quarterly) The New Brass Key (quarterly newsletter).
  • Periodical: Nebraska Ancestree. Published quarterly. Accepts advertising. Contains source materials; abstracts; free queries for members, etc. Some past issues are currently online. (see our webpage). The New Brass Key. Published quarterly. Published quarterly as an insert to the Nebraska Ancestree. It contains genealogical hints, aids, news, information on publications and NSGS acquistions.
  • Services: Specialty - Microfilm Rental: Holdings include Nebraska Federal Census, newspaper and marriage microfilm, etc.; Certificate - First Family - settled in Nebraska by 1867 Pioneer Family - settled in Nebr. in 1868-1879 Century Family - settled in Nebr. 100 years prior to application date

Links



Join Us Each Saturday Afternoon at FGS Radio

Tune in to FGS Radio – My Society each week to learn more about genealogy societies and join in a discussion of the issues impacting the genealogical community.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

RPAC Announces Stop ID Theft NOW! Campaign with White House Petition

Instructions for signing up at WhiteHouse.gov and signing the petition can be found at http://fgs.org/pdf/rpac_petition.pdf.

For Immediate Release

February 7, 2012

RPAC ANNOUNCES STOP ID THEFT NOW! CAMPAIGN WITH WHITE HOUSE PETITION

Genealogy Community Responds To Efforts To Remove Access to Social Security Death Index and Other Records
February 7, 2012– Austin, TX: The Records Preservation & Access Committee (RPAC) – a joint coalition of international genealogical societies representing millions of genealogists and family historians – announces the launch of its Stop ID Theft NOW! campaign with its We The People petition posted at WhiteHouse.gov.

Call To Action For IRS To Do Its Job

Each year, fraudulent tax refund claims based upon identity theft from recently deceased infants and adults are filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The current target is the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) or Death Master File since this file, as found on numerous genealogy-oriented websites, could possibly be the source of identity thieves acquiring a deceased person’s Social Security number.

The IRS could close the door to this form of identity theft if, in fact, it were to use the Death Master File for the purpose for which it was created: to reduce fraud. If returns claiming a tax refund were screened against the Master Death File and matching cases identified for special processing, the thief should receive a rejection notice for the filing.

Tax Fraud and Identity Theft: Genealogists Are Not To Blame

The House Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee on Social Security is proposing to completely shut down use of the SSDI by genealogists as well as other industries such as banking and insurance that rely upon its information. Such an attempt is short-sighted and runs counter to the original purpose of the SSDI: to actually combat fraud.

Loss of Access to SSDI Affects More Than Genealogists

The SSDI is accessed by many different companies, non-profits and other entities besides individuals researching their family history. Forensic specialists utilize the SSDI when reuniting remains of military veterans with their next-of-kin and descendants. Law offices, banks and insurance companies utilize the SSDI to resolve probate cases and to locate heirs.

All of these entities would be required to spend more money and more time leveraging other resources of information when the SSDI has served this purpose, uninterrupted, for over a decade.

RPAC Petitions Obama Administration

The We the People petition, now posted at http://wh.gov/khE and accepting signatures, has a simple yet effective mission:
Take immediate steps that would curtail the filing of fraudulent tax refund claims based upon identity theft from recently deceased infants and adults.
[Note: Visitors to the WhiteHouse.gov website must log in to sign the petition, or click Create an Account to register. Once registered, return tohttp://wh.gov/khE to sign the petition.]

No need for lengthy hearings in front of a Congressional committee. No need for filing statements for or against any House action. No need to waste time and effort which could be directed to more pressing national issues. In fact, the National Taxpayer Advocate in 2011 issued suggestions which do not require additional legislation but can be implemented collaboratively between the IRS and Social Security Administration (SSA) almost immediately in time to impact the current tax filing season.

About Records Preservation & Access Committee (RPAC)

The Records Preservation & Access Committee (RPAC) was formed to advise the genealogical community on ensuring proper access to historical records of genealogical value in whatever media they are recorded, on means to affect legislation, and on supporting strong records preservation policies and practices.

The genealogical community works together through The Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC), which today includes The National Genealogical Society (NGS), the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) as voting members. The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), the American Society of Genealogists (ASG), ProQuest and Ancestry.com serve as participating members.

To learn more visit http://www.fgs.org/rpac/.