Respectively submitted by Celia McNay, Eastside Genealogical Society, past president
The 2020 pandemic has been a challenge to all of us, causing many genealogical societies to rethink their mission, and how we can best serve the genealogical community. We’re rising to that challenge in various ways. One of those is the creation of the Western WA Genealogical Society Presidents Council. Out of a need for more networking, sharing, and support through the changes, Liz Osborn, the new president of Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society (TPCGS), reached out to other presidents in the western side of the state. She invited us to a Zoom meeting in late June. At that first online meet-up, there were eight people in attendance: Liz; Jill Morelli, past president of Seattle GS; Jim Secan, new president of SGS; Lorraine Graeber, secretary of Tacoma-Pierce County GS; Kathy Erlandson, Olympia GS; Celia McNay, president of Eastside GS; Jane Wickert, vice-president of Eastside GS; and Karen Van Haagen Campbell, representing both the Jewish GS of WA State and the Black Genealogy Research Group.
We talked for two hours, sharing ideas, events, challenges, and hopes for the future. Some of the future topics for discussion identified at that first meeting included new president training, regional Special Interest Groups (SIGs), the defunct Family History Fair, the State (WSGS) organization, social media use, outreach activities, online general meetings and Board meetings, technology, insurance coverage, places to meet after Covid-19, and more. It was a dynamic and energized group of like-minded people with a focus on making our genealogical societies better in this new restricted, yet freeing atmosphere.
Meeting on the 4th Tuesday of the month, attendance at the July meeting jumped to 15 participants. September included a ‘guest’ speaker Ginny Majewski as both the president of WSGS and her local society. In October, Celia McNay (Eastside GS) presented information for a new president as part of a leadership training segment. Valorie Zimmerman (South King County GS) facilitated the creation of an email exchange through GroupsIO for the presidents. Jill Morelli (Seattle GS) created a chart of each GS’s SIGs with contact information. Small steps but steps forward none the less.
This group is open to any president (or designee) of a genealogical society, genealogical library, research group, etc. who might benefit from the networking. The stated purpose from the first meeting still holds true: To come together to see in what ways we can support each other and work together. As a group, we support the Washington State Genealogical Society and are not trying to re-invent the wheel. But we felt a need for leaders to share ideas and events, successes and bombs, structures and changes. The online world we have been thrust into is new to all of us and we want to succeed together!
The next meeting is 24 Nov 2020 from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. on Zoom. To be added to the distribution list and join this group, contact Jim Secan at firstname.lastname@example.org who will be conducting that meeting.