Mike Southwick's British and Irish genealogy blog runs an article "Anyone for the Big [Family History] Society?" eluding to the "Big Society" movement promoted by the present British government.
"As a reader of this blog no doubt you have an interest in family history. But are you a member of a local family history society? Most likely the answer is ‘no’, nor would you consider joining one. This is a shame because family history societies (FHSs) have much to offer.Read the complete article by Mike Sharpe here
My own society, the Birmingham & Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldry (BMSGH), celebrates its 50th anniversary next year and I’m currently sorting through their archives for a short publication to mark the event. In doing so I have been reminded all too well about the strengths of FHSs, but also of how these once great institutions have been marginalised over recent years."
His prescription for what ails FHSs is:
- build partnerships with commercial companies;
- partner with local archives and record offices;
- better web platforms, including social media;
- better business skills.
There's an important element missing in the list, the personal factor. Just as people will come out to see a live music performance, even when they can get the same content on a recorded version, so FHSs can attract participation through top rate presentations and face-to-face education.