Thursday, June 17, 2010

President's 2009-2010 Year-End Review

[The following are remarks presented by outgoing President Bob Ward at the Annual Luncheon Meeting, June 16, 2010.]

The Cape Cod Genealogical Society had a very good year in 2010. We enjoyed a host of society activities, well attended and informative. 

Monthly Programs
Our monthly membership meetings attracted many of our members to hear interesting and informative talks by some of the region’s best genealogical speakers. David Dearborn, senior research fellow at the New England Historic Genealogical Society led off in September, speaking on Scottish genealogical research. Ralph Wadleigh from the Falmouth Genealogical Society, followed up several months after with his experiences researching his ancestors in the Orkneys. Donald Sparrow, a life-long resident of Eastham, spoke on growing up Cape Cod.

Our November joint meeting with Falmouth Genealogical Society was a great success with Michael LeClerc, of NEHGS, as our speaker. He will be again be our speaker for another joint meeting with FGS this coming fall. Our own Carolyn Weiss and Dan McConnell presented fascinating and informative talks; Carolyn on Tips for Searching the US Census Online, and Dan on the Congregation of John Lothrop, which emigrated as a body to settle in Barnstable. Marian Pierre-Louis spoke on early African-American communities in New England. This past May, Rev. Gary Marks of the Pilgrim Church in Plymouth spoke to us of the Rev. John Robinson, pastor of the Pilgrim church in Leiden, Holland, and the spiritual mentor of those who sailed on the Mayflower.

Two genealogical workshops were held in October. They were organized and presented by Bebe Brock, Nancy Denise, Judy Terry, Carolyn Weiss, and David Martin. Topics presented in the two-part series included using the internet, land records, Bible records getting started in genealogy, standards of evidence, military and immigration records and death records.

Our Special Interest Groups, three in number, have become more active again. These are the Irish SIG under Pat Concannon, the Computer Users Group which had been under Nancy Daniels, but is now looking for a leader (any volunteers, please, and the Cape Cod Families Group under Bebe Brock). Each of these SIGs meet once a month and provide for those attending a sharing with those of similar research interests.

New this year is a Mentoring Program. The idea is that those who have expertise and experience in a particular aspect of genealogy will meet with others to share that expertise. It has taken off and provided those attending with some great ideas and tips in research techniques and sources.

Research trips to several sites in Boston were again held by the society, one in December, 2009 and another in May, 2010. These were a great success, attracting 27 members and even making a profit for the Society above the cost of transportation.

Seven people traveled to Salt Lake City in October to research at the Family History Center there. The trip was deemed a success by those who were on it. The trip was sponsored and organized by our Educational Committee.

A three-part genealogical course is set for August 2010 under the direction of the Education Committee and will be held at the Jacob Sears Library in Dennis.

A research trip to Washington, D.C is set for October 2010. It will take in several major research facilities found there.

The publicity committee gained two new members, Ed Barr and Anne Stewart. They were off to a flying start and have provided good information on the society’s activities the various media outlets here on the Cape.

Our Society's Genealogical Library at the Dennis Public Library in Dennis Port, continues to attract many patrons who wish to
research their family histories. The hours have been expanded and the purchase of a new computer which replaced one which we have had for quite a few years, has increased the ability of our genealogical library to serve members and patrons.

The Cape Cod Genealogical Society has been active on a state-wide level. We are charter members of the New England Regional Genealogical Conference which puts on a bi-annual genealogical conference. In April, 2009, it was held in Manchester, New Hampshire. Plans are now well underway for the next conference in Springfield, Massachusetts, April 8-11, 2011. Our Society has participated directly in the planning and carrying out of the conferences, and will take our part in this up-coming conference, to which all of our members are encouraged to attend. We are also members of the Massachusetts Genealogical Council, the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and the National Genealogical Society.

The past issues of the Cape Cod Genealogical Society Bulletin were placed on a CD in the spring of 2009 and made available at last year’s annual membership meeting. Issues of the Bulletin published since that time have been placed on new copies of the DVD. For those who purchased copies of the CD last year, a disk will be produced containing the later issues of the Bulletin.

Future readers of the Cape Cod Genealogical Bulletin will soon be in for a change. The Bulletin as it has been published for the last several years will cease this coming year. It will be replaced by a journal of genealogical articles, with information about Society activities to continue here on the website.

In accordance with this significant change, the name of the Bulletin Committee has been changed to the Publications Committee. Arrangements will be made for those who do not possess a computer to continue to receive information about the activities of the Cape Cod Genealogical Society.

Closing Remarks
These past two years during which I have been privileged to be the president of your society have been time of great change in our country and in the society., as well in as the hobby and profession of genealogy. The Board during this past year has focused much of its efforts in making the society of service to our present membership as well as those who will join the society in both the near and distant future.

This is a wonderful place, Cape Cod. It is a place which has attracted many people to vacation and live. Just as many people have left the Cape in past decades for other opportunities elsewhere. They and their descendants have populated much of the country. It is altogether fitting that we, here, should make it a task to preserve and make available the story of those forbears who hailed from this place and whose descendants return to find their roots in our sandy soil.

I am proud to have been part of that process. Many in the genealogical community throughout the state of Massachusetts, people whom I have met at conferences and other genealogical meetings, regard the Cape Cod Genealogical Society to one of the most active and forward-thinking genealogical societies in the state. I plan to continue to take an active part in the society in the coming year.

Robert L. Ward. President
Cape Cod Genealogical Society, Inc., June 16, 2010


  1. An excellent report on the CCGS activites. Thank you for the information.

    I wish that more societies took the time to make a report like this each year. If my local society had done it, we would have a much better archive of the history of the society! We started several years ago, but have lost much information over the years.

    Cheers -- Randy Seaver, Chula Vista Genealogical Society

  2. I agree with Randy. This report is a great model for any society to follow. Congratulations on you accomplishments.