GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday 2020 E-News

THE GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday Evening E-News Edition April 2, 2020
Memberships will not expire during the crisis, and will be extended a month beyond the date of our re-opening. You may renew online with a credit card now; membership materials will be sent later after the closure ends. We are grateful for all your support. | 503-963-1932 | Be sure to check the complete GFO CALENDAR.
Also, don’t miss the current issue of The Forum Insider
GFO Remains Closed
Originally, we announced the GFO Library would be closed until April 1. Unfortunately, that’s not long enough. Medical experts currently say the peak of COVID-19 cases may come in mid- May. It will take several more weeks after that of steady decline before we can safely get together. If they’re wrong and it peaks earlier, we still have to wait for substantial declines, which could take weeks. ▪ Therefore, the only responsible thing to do is to close the GFO Library through May. ▪ Boot Camp is canceled, as are all Special Interest Group meetings. ▪ A few of our Special Interest Groups have expressed an interest in meeting online by video. Read the next article below for the first one!The Forum Insider for May and the Bulletin in June will be available only in electronic format.
We’re Minding Your Donations & Membership Dollars Safety is the first thing we consider in all our decisions during this pandemic. But we’re also trying to find ways to save money. It’s disheartening to pay monthly bills on a library we cannot open. We are fortunate to be all-volunteer. It would be much more complicated – and expensive – if we had employees. We’d like to publicly thank three vendors who have shared the pain with us to help save us money. Pacific Office Automation is giving us three free months on the lease of our copier. That machine is our workhorse, printing the Insider, Bulletin, and scanning thousands of pages in our digitizing project. It’s also our second largest expense. We agreed to an extended lease with them and they lowered our payments too, when we start paying again. Likewise, WAVE Broadband agreed to suspend our internet service while the library is in “hibernation.” AbeBooks, through whom we sell used books, has also refunded us monthly fees while we are unable to fulfill book orders. They all accepted less money knowing we’re bringing in less. Unfortunately, our landlord, NAI Elliott, only offered to delay payments until later, if we accepted a lease extension. They did not offer any actual savings. Since it does not help our bottom line, we declined. Suppliers of our pricey genealogy databases say they’re not able to suspend service. So, how do we stand overall financially? I’m confident we will weather this storm. That’s because previous GFO leadership saw the importance of creating an emergency reserve fund, and an Endowment. Thank you predecessors! We are setting the budget for the new fiscal year which starts in July. We are certain to need to draw from our reserves. The coming year will be one for tight belts. GFO’s Board will consider the budget at its meeting on April 14 (via video link) and I’ll report back to you after that. If you’d like to continue supporting us, we welcome any donations online with a credit card. Also, you may renew your membership (or join) online with a credit card. Your membership materials will be sent after the library reopens. We cannot accept checks at this time. Please don’t mail anything in; no one is there to receive it. Most important, be safe, and stay well. ▪ Vince Patton, GFO President
Italian Group Goes Virtual
GFO Italian Interest Group leader Stephanie Silenti passes on this invitation: It looks like we have a good amount of interest to move the SIG to digital/video next week, so let’s do it! I will figure out those details and get them out to you this week. For now, please hold our USUAL TIME SLOT for Tuesday, April 7, 10am PT, for a digital gathering. The topic, I think, will be twofold:
a. Check in, say hello, remind you that it’s COMPLETELY NORMAL if you’ve struggled to continue your research while we adjust to these new circumstances.
b. Sharing which genealogy resources have opened up for free in the last few weeks. There have been several. I will try to pull a list together but perhaps we can collaborate. Keep a list of any you know of, and we can share them on Tuesday. Also, if video meetings are new technology for you, don’t worry. This is how I earn a living — I do it daily. I’m confident we can get you all up to speed. If you would like to join in on this webinar, please email
ORForum—An Interactive Way to Get Answers to Your Genealogy Questions
Did you know that the GFO has an online community of members who can help answer your genealogy questions and point you to the resources you need? Or help you figure out the handwriting on a census or baptism record? Or even recommend a great place to eat when you visit Salt Lake City? If you would like to join this group or just check out the posts simply click below.
Go to ORForum
Flashback: 1918 Pandemic Shutdown
Here’s how the newspaper in Brownsville, Oregon, covered the 1918 pandemic shutdowns. Thanks to Linda Lewis McCormick from the local historical society there for finding this, and to GFO Members Don & Doxie Cook for passing it along.
GFO Board Election Now Open
We have an official ballot now for this year’s GFO Board election. Vince Patton is running for re-election as president. Alexa Waddle is running for secretary. Joyce Grant-Worley seeks re-election as a Director at Large. And Geoff Smith has offered to serve again on our Endowment Committee. While voting on a GFO election may not seem like a top priority right now, our bylaws require that the election be held. We are attempting to follow our bylaws despite the difficult circumstances. Only active GFO members are eligible to vote. The Forum Insider for April included online voting instructions.
Hall of Fame Nominations Sought
We are still looking for GFO Hall of Fame Nominations! Any GFO member may nominate another member by May 1. Nominees must have a well-documented history of service, leadership, and accomplishment in more than one facet of the GFO, over a long period of time.
Please include:
* Name, list of services, activities, positions, and accomplishments;
* A narrative describing the nature of their work in terms of its importance to the success of the GFO;
* A short biography.
Please send to by May 1.
The board will decide if any merit selection. Winners are awarded in June and receive a free Life Membership and their name on our Hall of Fame plaque.
What’s New in Online Digital Resources
Since we are unable at this time to process new books and new digital content for the GFO Library, we will be temporarily suspending our “What’s New” weekly feature. In this time of physical distancing and responsible sheltering in place, we will instead share online resources so that you can reach out and connect as well as continue to learn and build on your genealogy skills from home. • In a recent GenealogyBank blogpost, Gena Philibert-Ortega describes five ways family historians can use library services even when the building itself is closed. Check out her entry entitled Genealogy during Quarantine: 5 Things to Do When the Library Is Closed. • How many of us wish we had a diary or journal from an ancestor who lived through the 1918 Spanish Influenza Pandemic? The Genealogy Reporter, Amie Bowser Tenant has some suggestions for creating your own journal of memories related to our current Covid-19 experience in her post, Journaling about the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020. • Looking for fun ways to engage kids in finding family history? The National Archives is providing downloadable family trees and charts for kids of all ages. What a great way to spend some of your time with your loved ones in this time of physical distancing. While there, check out some of their other Educator Resources.
Survey Results: Spending Time
Just as we suspected, most of our survey respondents say they’ve been doing more genealogy during the current health crisis. Organization is high on the list. Here’s a sampling of what they’ve been doing:
Writing a family history of one of my ancestral couples. I also wish I had time to organize my files, etc. My room looks like I’m a CPA! Trying to read old French, Spanish and German documents.
Focusing on records I have collected but not put into my data base. Reading newly acquired reference books and preparing for upcoming presentations. Finding people to send old “non-family” photos to. Working on my Ancestry ThruLines, writing to DNA matches. I have been trying to get back to people who have contacted me from my DNA matches. It is hard to maintain ongoing conversations with all these people, but they are so important to moving my research forward. I’ve been researching, organizing, and reading the book “Tracing Your German Roots Online” by James Beidler. Investigating Family Tree webinars through the link the GFO provided (Thanks so much!).
This has given me a chance to catch up on some online classes. I am going through a lot of loose papers to extract information and organize things. I have a new great-grandson, and I have been working on a booklet for him. I am transcribing an old school/cemetery ledger book from 1871 to 1892 for our community. I’m finally taking time to watch some webinars, and I’ve begun to tackle the gargantuan task of organizing my digital images. Pounding my head on brick walls.
New Survey: Acquiring New Skills
Some of you told us you’re reading books, others are watching webinars. We love to hear about any new skills or tips you’ve learned in the last few weeks.
Take our survey now
This week at GFO …
The Week Ahead: The GFO Research Library is closed, and all on-site groups, classes, and work parties are canceled. Tuesday, April 7 10 a.m. – Noon Italian Special Interest Group meets by video conference. (See article above for details.)

One comment on “GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday 2020 E-News

  1. Vince Patton says:

    Hi Charles, Thanks so much for sharing our GFO Enews with your readers.
    We’ve noticed some of our formatting reproduces poorly on the blog, with text rendered in narrow columns.

    While we cannot change the formatting provided by our email service, we think we have a solution for you.
    In the future, look for a link at the bottom of our Enews to a PDF version of it. With luck, you can download that and get one that looks the way it’s supposed to.

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