Chapter Management Seminar

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Volunteers Extraordinaire

How many ways can we say THANK YOU!

The Ohio Genealogical Society owes its success to volunteers. Volunteers are the backbone of our structure.  We have a vast network of volunteers who help patrons find their ancestral roots as well as working on numerous projects. All officers and trustees are volunteers. Once a year, the Society honors and recognizes all volunteers with a catered luncheon. Today was the day. A delicious meal was served by V & M Restaurant from Bellville, Ohio. Lovely purple and yellow mums decorated the tables and served as doorprizes. Keith Metcalf entertained with guitar music in the style of Chet Atkins. His easy-listening style is always a big hit. Two of our library volunteers won tickets to next week's Fall Seminar with Thomas MacEntee.

Of course, we can always use more volunteers. If you are willing to spend 4-5 hours a week helping others in their genealogical pursuits, we'd love to have you be a part of our organization. Do you have a talent for digitizing records? Do you like to file things? Do you like taking inventory? We can find plenty for you to do. Come on over and check us out!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Starting Young

One of our OGS members is teaching her 10-year old daughter, Emma, how to do research on her family. Last week Emma and her mom came to the Samuel D. Isaly Library to research. Emma is a member of several OGS lineage societies already and is now working on supplemental ancestors. Emma is enthusiastic and eager to learn.

One of the first things Emma looked for was her mother's high school yearbook. In our vast collection of hundreds of yearbooks, Emma found what she was looking for. What a great way to start her research experience.

Next, Emma looked for a book on one of her ancestor's surnames. She found just what she was looking for. She is well on the road to adding those supplemental ancestors.

Emma, with the help of her mother, had a great time at the library. We're so glad you enjoyed your visit, Emma! I am sure we will be seeing much more of you.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Lolita Thayer Guthrie

Today we honor a long-time member, benefactor, past chair of the OGS Cemetery Committee, and a past Trustee of the Ohio Genealogical Society - Lolita Thayer Guthrie - on her 90th birthday.

Lolita’s involvement with OGS began innocently enough in 1990 when she started riding to Mansfield with a board member friend to do research on days of board meetings. Before the end of that year, she accepted the appointment as OGS Cemetery Committee Chair. It took 13 years but, under Lolita’s leadership, the Cemetery Committee completely overhauled the information in two previous OGS cemetery books and in  2003 published Ohio Cemeteries: 1803-2003 with information on over 14,600 cemeteries and burial sites throughout Ohio. In 1993,
she was elected to her first term on the OGS Board of Trustees and served continuously until she chose to “retire” in April 2005.

Her involvement with the OGS Cemetery Committee led to her appointment, by then Governor George Voinovich, in 1993 as an original member of the board of the Ohio Cemetery Dispute Resolution Commission, a nine member state commission, which met four times yearly to hear complaints filed with the state against the owners or operators of active cemeteries within Ohio. Seven members were owners or operators of cemeteries, while the other two represented the public. Lolita was the member who represented Ohio’s senior  citizens on this commission, even serving as secretary of the commission.

Concern for cemeteries and their preservation led Lolita to work closely with another State Board, the Ohio Historic Preservation Office in Columbus.

Although a tireless advocate for Ohio cemeteries, Lolita herself is a Hoosier native. She met her husband, Mearl Guthrie, of Abilene, Kan., when the U.S. Army sent him for specialized training at Ball State University (formerly Teachers College) early in World War II. The Guthrie’s ended up making their home in Bowling Green, Ohio, where Mearl taught at Bowling Green State University. Lolita started out as an elementary school teacher, but chose an even more demanding and honorable job as a stay-at-home mother, intermixing volunteerism roles in the First Presbyterian Church of Bowling Green, the Maumee Valley Presbytery, the local hospital guild, as well as other local and state organizations. 

Lolita was also very active in the Wood County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society. Lolita developed a phenomenal relationship with the Wood County Commissioners, Clerk of
Courts, Auditor, Probate Court, Engineer’s Office, and Records Center. In fact, she convinced the Wood County Commissioners that they should give the chapter office space in the Old Wood County Jail. After it was decided that the jail would be converted into a records center, the commissioners gave the chapter an office in the Wood County Office Building, and later another office as well. She was the driving force behind the book Doctors on Horseback, which was published in conjunction with the Wood County Hospital anniversary. This book contains information on all the doctors in Wood County.”

And that’s not all. Lolita was active in the Guthrie clan. Among her contributions to Guthrie family history are: The First Annual Guthrie Scrapbook, 1988, Highlighting Allied Families: Cline, Kitterman and Guthrie Genealogy, With Index From the Clan Guthrie News, a publication she produced for  over 23 years.

At the 2006 OGS Annual Conference, OGS honored Lolita by naming her as an OGS Fellow. The Fellow of the Ohio Genealogical Society Award is given to an individual who has provided valuable service to the society and to the field of genealogy over and above the job to which they were elected or appointed through volunteer work, special projects, or their expertise or skill in accomplishing a goal for the society.

Also, in 2006, it was with great pleasure that the Ohio Genealogical Society submitted Lolita as a candidate for the Ruth C. Bishop Family History Living Volunteer Hall of Honor Award through the Federation of Genealogical Societies. At the 2006 FGS Conference held in Boston, Massachusetts, Lolita was honored as the 2006 inductee into the Ruth C. Bishop Volunteer Hall of Honor. 

A very huge thank you to Lolita for all of your contributions not only to the Ohio Genealogical Society, but to the genealogical community as a whole.

A VERY Happy Birthday to you! 

Information for this article was obtained from the October-December 2006 issue of the OGS Genealogy News.

Saturday, September 5, 2015


Thomas MacEntee 

 October 3, 2015 

Fall Seminar

in Celebration of 

Family History Month

Thomas MacEntee is a genealogist specializing in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogical research and as a means of interacting with others in the family history community. Founder of GeneaBloggers and High-Definition Genealogy, Thomas is a popular speaker at conferences and other venues. We are delighted to welcome Thomas to Ohio. 

We are going to try something different this year. We are going to have the "meet and greet the speaker" on Friday evening. The library will stay open until 8 p.m. for those coming early. We hope this may also give you some time to do a little research on your own. The library will maintain regular hours on Saturday, October 3, closing at 5 p.m.. We hope you will be able to join us.
The topics that will be presented on Saturday, October 3, will be:

9:30 a.m. - 15 Habits of Highly Frugal Genealogists

Researching your family history can be fun, but like many hobbies, it can turn into an obsession, and an expensive one at that. There are many ways to save money while you pursue the “hunt” for your roots: some are just common sense while others are, quite frankly, ingenious.

10:45 a.m. - Genealogy Cloud Computing 

Cloud computing is fairly simple when you think about it. Basically, instead of storing your data on your own computer, you agree to upload that data to a server provided by a vendor. You then can access that data from various devices including laptops, tablet computers and mobile phones, depending upon the vendor you select.

1:30 p.m. - US and Canada Newspaper Research Strategies

Often, in the absence of official governmental documents such as vital records,newspapers can help establish and prove basic birth, marriage and death information about our ancestors. In addition, a newspaper listing, such as an obituary, can be a starting point for further research and assist in generating research “to-do” list ideas.

2:45 p.m. - After You've Gone - Future Proofing Your Genealogy Research

When it comes to your years of genealogy research and material, what plans have you made to ensure that it doesn’t die with you? Here’s some advice on creating a realistic plan to get your “genealogy affairs” in order so that the next generation of researchers can benefit from your years of hard work.

This event will be held at the Quality Inn & Suites Conference Center, 1000 Comfort Plaza Dr, Bellville, Ohio 44813. Just off of I-71 and one mile west of the OGS Library. By calling Quality Inn directly at 419-886-7000 and letting them know you are coming for the OGS Seminar, there is a discounted rate of $93 per night for a room with 2 queen beds, and a discounted rate of $101 per night for a room with a king bed, refrigerator, and microwave. There are still a few rooms left for both Friday and Saturday nights.

There are numerous eating establishments in the area within a short distance. Or you may bring your own lunch.Doughnuts and coffee will be provided in the morning.

There is a $40 fee for OGS members and a $45 fee for non-members.

We are saving room just for you! Click here to make your reservation now. You won't want to miss this one!


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Helping Local Chapters Survive

Genealogy and the recording of family history has been around for a very long time. For some reason, in the 1950's it became a popular hobby again. Many genealogical organizations were started to encourage people to follow their hobby. This included the Ohio Genealogical Society.

The Ohio Genealogical Society (OGS) was (and is) unique in that we encouraged chapters throughout the state to become affiliates in order to promote genealogy in general and to give encouragement to those chapters and societies to move forward and grow. The goal was to have at least one local chapter from each county - 88 chapters. We did achieve that number, but it did not include one from every county. Cuyahoga County, for instance, had several chartered groups. We issued charters to out of state chapters in Florida, Arizona and California. This last spring we were one county short of meeting the 88 counties when the Shelby County Genealogical Society was chartered.

This last week we have learned that two of our chapters are disbanding. Both chapters are citing reasons of not enough membership, officers have been in office too long, members are older, and more.

It is not an easy decision to disband your organization. There are many things to be considered. What happens to your treasury? What happens to your publications? What happens to your records?

Let's look at a fictional chapter scenario. What was the original purpose of the group? Was their community aware that such a group existed, or was it only a word of mouth organization for those that might be interested in genealogy? Did they create bylaws and standing rules? Were those bylaws and standing rules enforced? Did they elect responsible officers? Did they set term limits for the officers and board members? What was their programming goal? As the years went by, did they keep up with the changing world of genealogy? Did they create a web page that was maintained on a regular basis and kept up to date? In more recent years, did this group embrace social media? The organization itself must keep in mind that change is good - it cannot go on the premise "we've always done it this way" and thrive. Did they choose interesting program topics with speakers from outside the chapter? Or, did they use only their members as speakers? Did this organization publish any books or data lists? If you were a member of this organization, did you encourage your friends to attend the meetings?

Chapters that maintain the same officers for many years run the very risk of becoming stagnant. A proprietorial air slowly creeps in that can be detrimental to what you are trying to do. Is your chapter encouraging new faces to take responsible positions? Remember, in the world of genealogy change is constantly happening. Your chapter has to change, too. Change can be good!

Now, let's look at you as a member of this organization. Are you involved? Are you an officer or a committee chair? Do you volunteer to work on projects? Or, are you the member that comes for the social hour, the refreshments, and the program? If you are not involved, why aren't you? Being involved with your chapter brings you more insight as to how the organization works. It is a personally fulfilling way to make your contribution.

Today's genealogical chapters and societies need the support from all of their members. Without that support, your organization may be the next to disband. It is not the responsibility of a handful of people to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Does your chapter/society have an up-to-date brochure? Is the website up to date? Does the website include programming information as well as a way to contact the chapter officers by email? Not snail mail, email! Today's world seems to demand instant gratification for those doing their research. Is there a Facebook presence? Do you have a blog? What databases do you have on your website for those researching in your area? Does your organization help youth groups such as scouts or those in 4-H? Do you have individuals in your group willing to speak to community organizations about what you do and what your programs are?

Will your organization survive? The Internet is posing great challenges to chapters and societies today as everyone thinks that everything is on the internet. Networking, conversation, and personal contact are very important elements to the world of genealogical research. Take a friend to your next meeting of your local chapter. Offer to volunteer for something - anything! - get involved! If you don't get involved, don't complain about the way things are done. Make a difference. Make YOUR chapter grow and thrive!