Sunday, October 9, 2011

Genealogy - Supporting Your Local Society

We are blessed to have a wonderful local genealogy research facility named the Genealogical Forum of Oregon, which was established in 1946. The change of membership is ongoing and this past month we experienced a unique opportunity for growth. When the local transit authority decided to demolish the building we were using, they assisted our group in locating a new facility and then provided some financial assistance in making the move. The old building was a wood structure and I always had a fear the place would go up in flames and we would loose a very valuable collection. With the move to the old Ford Building, a concrete structure built to withstand any natural disaster, our collection is better protected. It is located at S.E. 11th and Division in Portland, Oregon.

The move took place in August, after many volunteer hours preparing the new space. While the actual space is smaller than the previous space, it is very well laid out and accessible for everyone. To celebrate the move and generate exposure to the facility a month long open house was held from September 10th through October 8th. Each day there was a focus on different groups and presentations. Since I had a fall on September 10th and broke my arm, I was not able to participate in much of the events. This past week I finally returned to the facility and taught a class on German research. There averaged 25 to 30 people in the classes that day. When one considers that we might have had that many people at the monthly membership and program meetings, this is a huge increase in the use of the facility.

The month's events included:
An open house for other building tenants
Illinois Group Meeting
The Writer's Forum
Heritage scrap booking
New Family Search
Understanding DNA
Genealogical and Historical Societies Day
Scandinavian Day
Find Your Irish Family over three days
British Day
Portland Area Family History Centers
Lineage Societies' Day
Cemeteries' Day
Oregon Historical Society Presents
Introduction to Genealogy
British Group Meeting
Adoptions Forum and Search Strategies
Getting the Most From the Internet
Volga Germans
Open House for Librarians
Telling Your Family Stories' Day
Virginia Group Meeting
German Group Meeting
We're Not Your Grandmother's DAR
Old News is Good News
Jewish Genealogical Society of Oregon
German Day
The Grand Opening Ceremony on September 14th.

Yesterday the membership meeting focused on the question, Are We There Yet? Yes, I do believe we are!

It is refreshing to walk into the new facility. The furnishings have been updated. The stacks and research items are in different places, so we have to become acclimated. Our research assistants are dedicated to helping everyone become acquainted with the wonderful resources that are available. The library contains over 32,000 volumes as well as special collections. It is the largest facility between Seattle and San Francisco. There are resources for all 50 states and many countries. The regular hours have expanded with the move. Please see the website for additional information:

Membership is only $40 a year, which includes unlimited access to the library, access to computers and, The Bulletin published quarterly, The Forum Insider published eight times a year, the ability to check out books, reduced fees for spring and fall seminars, and just knowing you are supporting a wonderful community asset. Non-members may use the library for free one Monday a month or pay a visitors fee, attend the monthly membership meeting and presentation and attend any of the special interest group meetings.

I feel honored to work in the facility and with the wonderful fellow genealogists who freely volunteer their time. My volunteer time is spent working on both publications, the Bulletin and the Forum Insider. It is rewarding and further enhances my research abilities.

Think about how you can contribute to the genealogy groups of your community. Consider how you might focus your volunteer contributions either locally, statewide or nationally. Most genealogy groups would not exist were it not for the people who feel a vested interest in donating time, talents, and financial or material assistance. A special note of appreciation for those who step up and take on responsibilities to support the genealogy opportunities for our research. We are deeply indebted to your generous hours of service and support.

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