CORNISH-L ArchivesArchiver > CORNISH > 1998-11 > 0910070601
From: Sandy <>
Subject: Re: CFHS AGM and the Internet
Date: Mon, 2 Nov 1998 21:23:21 -0800 (PST)
You know, all I did was ask some questions (as did others).....I didn't
attack a soul...and yet suddenly some of you SURE do make it feel as if
you're attacking me! *Why* do you react to any questioning as if it's some
form of attack?
Alan....as you say, you *attended* the AGM, as did Alison, who also notes
she uses the CFHS Library (located, of course, IN Truro, where Alison
lives....a bit inconvenient for many of us). Wonderful that you all can do
these things....the internet must not be a particularly necessary tool in
your research of Cornwall.
Please remember that anyone who does not LIVE within proximity of attending
the AGMs has NO vote! (I suspect that pretty well covers the large majority
of those of us on this list.)
You must *attend* the AGM in person in order to vote. Now that's a pretty
significant factor here, especially if your concern is with online
services... which the majority of the voting membership may have no real
need to be concerned with!
Frankly, I can't imagine a better place to discuss the issue of online
services of the Cornwall Family History Society than the ONLINE list of
more than 600 people researching Cornwall!
It provides the perfect opportunity for enabling CFHS to become aware of
the needs and concerns of internet researchers....which I suspect IS a
matter of interest to the society!
David Holman himself tries to peruse our list archives to keep abreast of
the discussions ....he has difficulty remaining subscribed because of the
volume of email. (I can relate <g>).
I've never once indicated anything but support for CFHS....but Alan, your
comment sounds as if you feel the internet is irrelevant to the society!!
If that's the case, why would I, or anyone online, WANT to join? At
present, we have an organization that provides no opportunity for us to
even vote...no online data...no ability to even order *print* publications
online..... Do you not feel it is reasonable to ask what, if any, plans
might be under consideration to address our needs??
I don't think *anyone* has suggested these things be accomplished
overnight! Nor do I think anyone is naive enough to think there aren't
budget matters and other concerns (like copyright) which come into play. I
do think it's reasonable to question what discussions or plans are
ongoing.......or whether the fact that this was NOT a matter on the AGM
agenda reflects there are no discussions or plans ongoing. Is there some
other forum or meeting or other manner of discussion for the membership
about this subject??
Alan, how are you interpreting this increase in membership you
mention...other than "bragging rights" among British Isles FHCs? Certainly
here in the U.S., we've found signicant increases across the board in
memberships in genealogically related societies...but this is more
relfective of the HUGE popularity currently enjoyed by genealogy as a
hobby. In order for the statistics to tell you anything more than this, you
need to analyze them further....how many of your members are "new." What is
your retention rate of members? What percentage of your members are online?
What's the track record for retaining "online" members? The number of
*online* researchers is what's increasing in the world....offline
researchers are DEcreasing in numbers. Somewhere along the line a decision
is made, either actively or by default, to reach out to online researchers
and provide services and encourage their membership in your
organiztion....or to ignore or even shun them.
Yes, David's CFHS web *pageS* (there are multiple, not merely one) ARE
wonderful. I think very highly of David, and of his work. But the site is
designed to serve as a *guide* for research and is not a repository of
data, per se...and I think David would be the first to tell you this.
Meanwhile, people on this list and elsewhere on the net, are busy
transcribing, indexing and uploading data. Suez is doing monument
inscriptions (on her *own* I might add..some of the folks at CFHS have't
been too pleased about this!).....meanwhile, others are uploading parts of
censuses, birth-marriage-death data, STRAYS data, ships passenger lists,
As for me, I'm just *trying* to encourage folks to *also* send their data
to CFHS for inclusion in the society's databases. But increasingly, I'm
hearing "why should I contribute to a database that is not online?"
I simply cannot understand why any of you would consider this topic an
inappropriate thread for this list.....or why you would take such a
knee-jerk defensive position when questions are asked.
Dave Stick, your comment sounded like you've already decided the society
either CANNOT or WILL NOT be concerned with online resarchers! And at the
risk of sounding as rude as you did, yes I am quite prepared to take on
some of this work myself.....although if the society is going to say you
can only help IF you're in Truro, then I'm afraid someone will have to
furnish my plane ticket! (I can arrange accommodations on my own...so
that's no problem).
HOWEVER, if you would like to send me photocopies or even film or fiche of
the Bassett Manorial records, I should be PLEASED to begin transcriptions
for the society *immediately*!;-) I suspect I can even rustle up a few
volunteers to help. And I do not EVEN mind if the society publishes and
sells them...although I think it's only fair I also upload them to the net
if CFHS is not willing or able to do so.
>I was there too, and I think that you'll find that the Cornwall Family
>History Society memebership numbers have increased in the last year to
>an all time record, and they are now the second largest FHS in the
>British Isles. All this, without the Internet, other than an extremely
>good Web page.
>By not joining, I really do think that you may be missing out.
>All the best.
>Well said Alison and thank you for the explanation. I do hope Sandy reads
>this and understands the limitations of such an organization. Perhaps as
>she is so keen, she might like to take on the task herself. It would
>probably involve her doing some traveling "over 'ome" to visit the Society
>in Truro but she surely will not mind this!
>Please take it up with the Committee, Sandy. You've made your points and
>each has been answered by Alison.
>Date: 02 November 1998 15:05
>Subject: CFHS AGM and the Internet
>Dear Sandy and all who have posted regarding the above subject.
>I am a mere member of the CFHS (a new member at that, although as a
>I was able to use their library for £1 per visit) and what gets discussed at
>the meetings is not down to me, although as a member, I would be entitled to
>ask for something to be brought up at a meeting if I wanted it to be (and I
>have to admit, I didn't think of this, as someone who is still overwhelmed
>the wealth of information generally available to family historians on the
>internet). Furthermore, I am not a political creature, and don't propose to
>get into any further discussions with anyone about what the CFHS should or
>shouldn't be doing, so this is my only posting on the subject.
>My comments are as follows:
>1. I have always believed that items discussed at a meeting (any meeting,
>just the CFHS AGM) are per the agenda, which, apart from the standard items,
>is drawn up according to the wishes of the members and the committee, or
>whatever body is in charge. At the end of the Agenda is usually "Any Other
>Business" at which time items from the floor are discussed. The members
>present did not raise the subject, and presumably, when invited to do so
>previously no-one expressed a wish to have the subject put on the agenda.
>Which is probably why it was not discussed.
>2. There was an open forum on Sunday afternoon where those present could
>raise any subject they wished with the President, the Chairman or the
>Committee. Again, the subject was not raised.
>3. The Cornwall Family History Society has just one employee, ie one paid
>member of staff, as far as I know. The rest of the work is done by unpaid
>volunteers, most of whom work for a living and give up the rest of their
>to provided transcriptions of indexes, to man the library and provide help,
>wander around wet burial grounds to record MIs - the list is endless. Most
>them do not have time for their own research, because they are too busy in
>helping the Society to help us. The sixty or so volunteers who make so much
>information available to us were praised and thanked from all quarters over
>the weekend. I myself did not realise just how much is going on behind the
>scenes at the moment, to make the 1871 Census, the MIs, the Ships Passenger
>Lists, the 1813-1837 Marriage Index, the list of Apprentices and Masters,
>Quarter Sessions Index etc etc etc available to us in the future. Virtually
>everything they have done has been, or will be, published in paper form and
>available through the post - I received a catalogue and order form when I
>Some of the projects will be a long time coming to fruition because although
>everyone is working very hard, the job of transcribing, checking,
>and finally publishing them are extremely laborious. All this work is done
>ordinary researchers like ourselves, in their spare time. My mother is a
>double-checker, and I know how long it takes her to go through parish
>registers, entry by entry, and ensure that the first transcription is
>Some of the handwriting is appalling and some of the registers are in poor
>condition. She is one of very many people who are happy to give up their
>valuable spare to time (and I know many of the volunteers, who are all
>ordinary people, all of whose spare time is valuable) to be part of an end
>product which all of us will find extremely useful.
>I suggest that any members who are not happy with the way the Society is
>or the services it provides, take the matter up directly with the Society
>Committee itself. The Society can only provide to its members what it knows
>the members want. If any non-members aren't happy, the only real way to get
>their voices heard is to join the Society. They will not be disappointed
>their membership. There is a wealth of information available through
>traditional methods whose value to the researcher will surely outweigh the
>inconvenience of not being able to find it on the 'net. Anyway, you can
>a booklet by candlelight in a power cut!! (Sorry for the flippancy - I've
>only had the Society library on my doorstep for a few weeks - I managed by
>post before). Overseas people (especially in the US) should also perhaps
>remember that the Internet still hasn't taken off in Britain in the same way
>that the television and the telephone have. It is still a pleasant surprise
>to discover that someone has all their information on the Internet, rather
>than a bitter disappointment to find that they haven't. We don't expect it
>yet. As a nation, we are still a long way behind in that respect, and still
>rely on a letter and a stamped addressed envelope as a way of obtaining
>Alison in Truro