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08 July 2009

Looking Toward the Future

The best part of the recent Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree (for me) was meeting many of my fellow genea-bloggers face-to-face. We've been reading each others' blogs and getting to know one another on Facebook, but nothing beats real flesh-and-blood contact.

The youngest (by a few decades) of my new friends is Elyse Doerflinger, author of Elyse's Genealogy Blog and The Graveyard Rabbit Student.

Elyse and me.

Elyse has written a wonderful article Genealogy Societies Need To Look Towards the Future, which is full of sage advice and her honest opinions.

Think about what your average genealogist looks like: retired. People do not live forever (or stay in good health forever) and therefore, if societies truly want to survive, they must find ways to reach the next generation. Without reaching for the next generation, then all of their research, all of their hard work, and many of these societies are going to disappear.

Elyse goes on to inform her readers of her membership in the Youth Genealogists Association, an online genealogical "society" whose aim is "to provide opportunities and information to youth interested in their family history." It's heartening to know that there are kids out there who actually like genealogy!

I encourage our members to read Elyse's words of wisdom and let me know how they think CGS is doing. Are we providing opportunities for youth to be involved in our society? Are we reaching out to the next generation?

One thing does concern me. I checked our society website and was disappointed to find that the California Genealogical Society does not offer a student membership rate. You can be sure that I'll be bringing this up to our membership committee!

Update 7/11/09: Elyse has added a follow-up post with more suggestions and feedback. I'm happy to report that the California Genealogical Society and Library is doing several of the things that Elyse mentions!