CGS: another thriving society

Hats off to Colorado

Ho hum, ho hum, genealogical societies are in trouble.

How many times do we hear this?

“Societies are dying, societies can’t attract members, societies don’t do anything.”

Except that they’re not, they can, and they do.

logoCase in point: the Colorado Genealogical Society.

Which, as of May 2014, has been going strong for ninety years.

You read that correctly: the Colorado Genealogical Society was founded in 1924.

And it still meets, every month except July, August and December, on the third Friday of the month at 7:00 PM, at the Christ the King Lutheran Church in Denver, and every meeting offers some meaty program for members. Upcoming sessions planned include:

• May 16: The Birthday Bash! 90th Anniversary of CGS and 75th Anniversary of the Colorado Genealogist, the CGS journal.

• June 20: Twentieth Century Military Records, presented by Sandy Ronayne, CGS President.

And there are all kinds of regularly-scheduled classes:

• For beginners, the second Saturday of every month except July and August, from 10:00 am – 3:30 pm, in the Gates Conference Room on the 5th Floor of the Denver Public Library.

• For more advanced researchers, from 10:00 am – 12:00 or 1:00 pm (depending on the topic and the presenter) on the third Saturday of the month (except June, July, August, and December) in the Gates Conference Room on the 5th Floor of the Denver Public Library, focusing on research skills and methodology necessary for a successful family history project.

The Society has a Computer Interest Group, that focuses on the use of technology, especially software computer programs and emerging resources, in genealogical research — and its programs are also stellar. It meets on the second Monday of the month (except July, August and December) at the Christ the King Lutheran Church, in Denver, and on May 12th the program is “Pitfalls of the Internet” by Scott Henke. Its spring seminar is scheduled for May 17th, and features Richard G. “Rick” Sayre and Pamela Boyer Sayre in a terrific set of lectures on mapping and on researching in Washington, D.C. without ever leaving home.

Membership benefits include subscriptions to the Colorado Genealogist and the Colorado Genealogical Society Newsletter, both published quarterly, and topics covered are wide-ranging. The Colorado Genealogist‘s most recent table of contents is online, and its articles included one on Colorado’s new Confidential Intermediary program and another on a successful adoption search. And past issues of the newsletter can be found online too.

The membership fee is only $25 for an individual or $30 for a family.

There may be societies out there that aren’t doing well.

There surely are some that could do better.

But you can’t help but think there are societies that are doing just fine thank you very much when you see a group like the Colorado Genealogical Society, and you see everything it does, the attendance its meetings have, and the enthusiasm of its members.

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10 Responses to CGS: another thriving society

  1. If you build it they will come. It looks like Colorado is offering a lot of “Value for Membership”, that is the key to a successful organization.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      You have it exactly right, Eric! And I’m sure seeing — and enjoying! — an awful LOT of societies that offer real value for membership!

      • Emma Whaley Compton says:

        I hope that includes the Imperial Polk Genealogical Society, Judy?!

        • Judy G. Russell says:

          Boy does it EVER include the Imperial Polk (Florida) Genealogical Society, Emma (who, folks, happens to be President of that Society). Everything you see about societies like yours convinces me more and more than this whole “societies are in trouble” stuff is only true when the societies themselves allow it to be true. Your efforts at Imperial Polk, your members, your activities, all show what CAN be when things are done right.

  2. Touche to the Colorado Genealogical Society, and yes, Judy, you are right! Not only has this group been diligent about offering value for their membership fees, but they are at the vanguard of a new generation of genealogical societies. The “Bowling Alone” mantra is dead. People are seeking relationship. After all, where else can you go to talk about your favorite obsession without being subjected to the MEGO Syndrome? (“My Eyes Glaze Over”) People are again waking up to the fact that genealogical societies are not only a great resource for training and local source documents, but also a haven for fans of genealogy, who just want to talk about their latest research find with someone who can appreciate the details!

  3. Tina Telesca says:

    Oh, I wish my local Genealogy Society would do more to get new people. For a couple of years I would go to meetings but never felt “included.” Even after helping index. They talked a lot about getting new people and I suggested having meetings in the evenings or weekends to include people who work and was told they tried that and no one showed up. I now work full time and can’t go to any meetings. I have my online genealogy network but would love to be able to go to meetings and feel included with a local group.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      I do understand that not every society does well, Tina — and not meeting at night or on weekends is right up there in my book on the “not doing well” list. I hope in time your society changes but if it doesn’t there’s nothing stopping you and others of like mind from setting up your own group in your own time.

  4. Susan Jones says:

    Just had a thought-does any society go to senior assisted living places to offer their services? If not, we should start. Think of what they’ve lived!

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