Saturday, March 28, 2015

1812 Society Matching Campaign Challenge

1812 Society Matching Campaign Challenge via
You've been challenged!
We are challenging each member society of FGS to a society matching campaign! We are asking each of you, as an FGS member society, to engage in at least a $500 matching program to raise funds for the 1812 Preserve the Pensions!

If each society will raise at least $500, we would be able to raise $600,000 in 2015 toward our goal of $800,000 to complete the project. The FGS Board has just approved a $25,000 matching amount.

So, the first societies to let us know that you have committed to do a matching campaign, will have your donations matched by FGS as well as Ancestry. Email us your commitment.

These are some suggestions:
  • You can play the YouTube video with Josh Taylor, entitled Preserve the Pensions and Societies, at the beginning of your society meeting, and collect funds at each meeting. (Link:  

  • Plan a meeting with the program entirely devoted to the War of 1812 and Preserve the Pensions project! There is an 1812 Powerpoint which you can present at your meeting. But there are four videos on YouTube where FGS officers talk about the War of 1812 Preserve the Pensions.
  • A helpful way for societies to raise funds is to establish a society “seed fund” which can then match individual donations turned into your society. A seed fund could be created by holding an event, such as a yard or garage sale just to raise that seed money.
What suggestion do you have? Your society help is needed to raise the funds so that we can make the Preserve the Pensions a reality and reach our goal!!

Elaine Hasleton
Preserve the War of 1812 Pensions Volunteer

For more information about the Preserve the Pensions Project or to donate, please visit

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

WordPress for Your Society Website

Gone are the days when hiring a professional computer programmer to be a "webmaster" was required if a society wanted an online presence.  These days, it's easier than ever to build your own website without having to know all that computer code!

Listen in as WordPress "guru" Taneya Koonce explains how easy it is to get started with WordPress and build your society's website (including a blog).

Many organizations use WordPress as the platform for their websites ... big and small ... from BestBuy and Xerox to the North Carolina GenWeb Project.

Some of the benefits of using WordPress:
  • It's FREE**
  • Allows you to focus on your content rather than spending all your time worrying about your layout
  • Your content is readily searchable on all major search engines
  • It's easily customizable
  • Many (20,000+) plugins can be installed to perform pretty much any task you can think of to automate your site, leaving you more time to create content
Maybe now is a good time for your society to create (or update) its online presence!

Listen to the archived broadcast of "WordPress for Your Society Website" on the blogtalkradio My Society channel by FGS, or you can listen below:

Check Out History Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with mysociety on BlogTalkRadio

For more information, check out these articles from our Society Strategy Series:

** is absolutely free, but you are limited in the plugins you are allowed to use.  With, you may incur some expense in purchasing a domain and a hosting company, but the WordPress platform is free of charge.  Some plugins are also available for a fee.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

FGSCruise2015: Featured Destination Seattle

The FGS 2015 Alaskan Cruise sails from the port of Seattle on August 28 at 4:00pm. But just because Seattle is the starting and ending point for the cruise, doesn’t mean that cruise-goers can’t arrive a few days early or stay a few days after the cruise to explore Seattle and the surrounding areas.

Seattle 4

Seattle is known as the Emerald City because of its omnipresent evergreens.  Its Washington Park Arboretum with Japanese gardens houses over 5,000 plants from around the world.  Seattle is often characterized by its rainy climate, but it also offers the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges.

Seattle Central Library, April 2012

The city is a charming and welcoming metropolis with a small-town feel and laid-back attitude.  Seattle offers one-of-a-kind architecture and a unique urban sophistication. The modern architecture such as the newly designed downtown library create a visual contrast with the turn-of-the-century buildings such as the Historic State Building in Pioneer Square.

Pike Place Fish 0

Pike Place Market is the oldest continuously operating farmers market in the United States for over 100 years and accommodates millions of visitors a year. Sample freshly-baked goods or watch the salmon flying as the market workers put on a show.

Seattle skyline night

And of course, there's Seattle's most famous landmark, the Space Needle, created for the 1962 World's Fair, which changed the city's skyline forever.  Dinner at the SkyCity restaurant atop the Space Needle offers a 360-degree-view of the city in a 47-minute rotation.

Other tourist attractions include the Pacific Science Center, EMP Museum (formerly Experience Music Project | Science Fiction Museum), Seattle Aquarium, Chihuly Garden and Glass galleries, and Woodland Park Zoo.  These attractions, and more, can be visited with discounted rates with a Seattle CityPass.


The cruise disembarks the morning of Friday, September 4, and with Monday, September 7 coinciding with the Labor Day holiday, you’ll have plenty of time to take an extended weekend to fully explore all Seattle has to offer!

The FGS 2015 Alaskan Cruise will offer a full genealogy conference during sea days that does not encroach on time to enjoy mainland excursions.  Register for the cruise at

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

High Touch: Keeping Connected to Your Society Members

As a society, do you spend a lot of time and effort trying to recruit new members?  Have you given any thought to your current members? 

Join guest Pam Treme, Editor of Florida Lines, the newsletter of the Florida State Genealogical Society, as she provides hints on how to keep in touch with your current society members the way(s) they need to be contacted so they don't feel forgotten.

Some older members may not have (or may not be comfortable with) current technology and prefer to be contacted by phone or by "snail mail."  On the other hand, if you have younger members, they may prefer to get their news from a Facebook page or website.  Other members may prefer text messages.

And how about that time before, during, and after your meetings?  Are you connecting with your members as much as you are with potential members?  What about your out-of-town members?  Are you making sure they're kept in the loop?

Listen to the archived broadcast of "High Touch: Keeping Connected to Your Society Members" on the blogtalkradio My Society channel by FGS, or you can listen below:

Check Out History Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with mysociety on BlogTalkRadio

For more information, check out these articles from our Society Strategy Series:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

How Special Interest Groups Can Add to Your Society

How Special Interest Groups Can Add to Your Society via
SIGs for Genealogy Societies
Every society has members who are knowledgeable about a specific research topic - whether a particular ethnic group, record group, geographic area, methodology, or technology.  Is your society tapping into this fantastic resource?

Guest Carol Rooksby-Weidlich (President of the Lee County Genealogical Society in Cape Coral, Florida) explains how important special interest groups are to a genealogy society and how her organization has successfully leveraged this concept.

Special Interest Groups (SIG) are smaller, informal groups that usually meet separately from a society's regular meetings and their discussions are focused on the specific topic of interest.  These specialized groups give your members a chance to focus on a particular research area without taking valuable time away from your regular meetings, and prevent members from feeling like they waste their time listening to topics that don't apply to them (which keeps them coming back!).  SIGs also appeal to potential new members who might be looking for more focused programs.

If your society is quite small, you might consider partnering with one or two other nearby societies to create a few SIGs, which could promote growth for all societies involved while simultaneously creating a relationship between the societies that could lead to future benefits.

Listen to the archived broadcast of "How Special Interest Groups Can Add to Your Society" on the blogtalkradio My Society channel by FGS, or you can listen below:

Check Out History Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with mysociety on BlogTalkRadio

For more information, check out these articles from our Society Strategy Series:

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

FGSCruise2015: On the Ship

So, you’ve never been on a cruise and you’re wondering what it’s all about.  Yep, I had to drag my husband on his first cruise, and now we’ve taken over forty in twenty years, so how bad can it be?  You want to come on the FGS cruise but wonder if your spouse will be bored.  Hmmm.

First of all, it’s really hard to use the word “cruise” and “bored” in the same sentence.  When you wake up in the morning you’re either “at sea”, a great place to be, or in “port” – another great place.  Let’s pretend that today we’re at sea.

Is your spouse or you an exercise person? If so, there is usually a stretch class on the deck.  If not, head to the gym and jump on the machine of your choice, or go to one of the many pools and swim a few laps.  If you’re a walker, you can walk miles on the Promenade deck, or you can jog on the jogging track.  No excuses!

Exercise is not your way to start the day?  You could have breakfast ordered from room service (no extra charge, but a small tip is nice.)  You can sit on your balcony and sip your coffee.  Or, if you want to find your genealogy friends, head up to the Windjammer for a breakfast buffet that will blow you away.  You can even get a “made to order” omelet, or just stick to your fruit and yogurt.  NAH!  Go for the gold – eggs, bacon, waffles, coffee, juice – you know what I mean.  You came on this cruise to be waited on!  Okay, go to the dining room for breakfast and that will happen!  (Meanwhile your room steward is making your bed, cleaning your bathroom, and he’ll be back later in the evening to check on things again.)

In the morning show, the cruise director will tell you all about the ports.  You both can find out what you’ll see and what you can buy.  This is always a fun event to attend.  If you prefer, there is a card room where you can beat your friends at the game of your choice.  They have games on the ship, but I like to bring a few of my own.  Anyone for Five Crowns or Sequence?  How about Canasta or Scrabble?  If you like Trivia, there are three or four trivia games a day on the ship and they give very exotic prizes – like key chains and highlighters – but hey, it’s fun.  Get together your team of six or just go to the game and join someone needing more team members.  It’s a great way to make friends.

You might catch a movie or if you’re into the slots or other gambling, the casino is open when we’re at sea.  This applies to the gift shops, too--we have to be in international waters for them to be open, so they are not open when we’re in port.  SHOPPING – yes, there is shopping!  Have fun!

The spa!  AHHHHHH!  Need I say more?  It’s rather pricey, but oh-so-decadent.

On Port day you’ll be able to see all the beautiful stops in Alaska and how lucky we are to stop in Victoria!  We will soon tell you more about our private excursions we are putting together just for our group.

Amer0101 - Flickr - NOAA Photo Library

But wait – you’re going to genealogy lectures while we’re at sea.  I’m sure your spouse will be very bored.  Be sure to bring him or her a good book! :)

--Pat Oxley, Cruise Coordinator

The FGS 2015 Alaskan Cruise will offer a full genealogy conference during sea days that does not encroach on time to enjoy mainland excursions.  Register for the cruise at

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