Saturday, November 15, 2008

CGSSD Meeting report

The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) had its monthly meeting today - there were user groups for RootsMagic and Legacy, then an Annual Meeting with officer reports and elections, followed by a nice lunch spread.

I got there late due to another commitment, and went into the Legacy Family Tree user group meeting at about 9:35 a.m.. Louise G was the leader, and she was working her way through the training video "Your 12-Step Checklist to Using Legacy." We watched a series of short video segments from the CDROM and finished the video right at 10:15. It was interesting to see some of the "nuts and bolts" inside Legacy 7 - the program has lots of options! The one that we all cringed at, however, was the advice to back up our database on "floppy disks" - this was made in 2002, apparently. Legacy should revise that, and any other segments, that are out of standard practice in 2008.

After a short break, former President John Kracha presided over the Annual meeting where the officers gave their reports for the past calendar year. The CGSSD membership is now 212, with 19 of them out of the San Diego area. Average attendance was 49 for the programs, with 30 for the user group meetings. They have had about 100 responses to the member survey sent out in email several weeks ago - that's a pretty good return!

The COMPU.GEN quarterly newsletter editor for the past five years has been Joan Lowrey, and she has to relinquish the office due to family issues. There is an assistant editor, but they need an editor to do the planning and layout for each issue. The proof readers are willing to stay on board. The question was raised if the task would be reduced by providing online access behind a membership wall to a PDF of the newsletter, and the answer was "no" - the planning, editing and layout still have to be performed. An online edition would permit more pages per issue, but there are quite a few libraries that subscribe and want the printed copy of the newsletter.

Elections were held, and the following officers were elected:

* President: Corlee Morris (incumbent)
* Vice President- Administration: Al Strohlen
* Vice President - Membership: Dale Nesbit (incumbent)
* Secretary: Joan Dittmer
* Treasurer: Louise Guilbault (incumbent)

After the meeting, I talked to several people about the newsletter, and they asked "what would you recommend?" My answer was to "provide what your customers want" - a printed copy for those that want it, and an online copy for those that want that. This wouldn't reduce the editor's job any, but would reduce the society's cost of printing and mailing to those who want it online in PDF form.

We also discussed the differences between CGSSD and other local societies: CGSSD is focused on computer issues and every presentation is on or near the "cutting edge" of software, database, web site or other technology issues. The majority of SDGS and CVGS programs are more on general or specific genealogy topics, which are usually more "evergreen" like - the information can be used in years to come. This is why I (and other San Diego area genealogists) appreciate and enjoy CGSSD, of course!

It was interesting to see how CGSSD runs its annual meeting - it's completely different from the SDGS meeting and the CVGS meeting! It was informative, efficient and comprehensive.

The venue for the CGSSD meetings are large auditorium-style classrooms (seating for about 100) at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) in La Jolla. There are desktops, plugs and wireless Internet available at the seats (with a guest password) and the presentations are done with the LCD projector from the ceiling hooked to the speaker's podium. It is, by far, the best venue for the San Diego genealogy societies - it's large enough, everything works well, and is fairly central for all of the County (25 miles from Chula Vista, about 20 miles from Carlsbad and El Cajon). CGSSD is fortunate to have this connection with UCSD professors and IT experts.

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