Starting your own computer users
Does anyone out there know how a group of us could create a PAF User group in
our area? I have checked to see if one is here already and the closest one to us
is in Denver which is a two hour - three hour drive for most of us. We are
wondering if there are any guides or specifics needed to do this? Or any
programs we have to follow etc.
Thanks for being motivated to begin a genealogy computer users group in your
area. Here are a few suggestions from Ol' Myrt to get you started:
SELECT A MEETING PLACE
-- Find a meeting place that is free, to keep your costs down.
-- Charge a minimum of $10 annually to pay for expenses, but keep the meeting
"open" to non-members.
-- Consider meeting at the local public library, which will most likely have a
computer projector, microphone and internet access.
SELECT MEETING TIME
-- A 2 or 2.5 hour meeting each month (except the summer?) should suffice.
-- Consider that Saturdays will allow working people to attend.
-- Remember that evening meetings will be impossible for older folks who have
trouble driving in the dark.
SELECT MEETING TOPICS
-- Even though you are calling your group a "PAF" users group, keep an open mind
about the use of other programs.
-- Divide the time as follows: 30% genealogy software, 30% basic genealogy
research topics, 30% internet research topics.
-- Use the other 10% for audience participation (show & tell, usually arranged
-- Some programs, such as PAF and Legacy Family Tree have their own tutorials.
-- See what other genealogy users groups are doing, and emulate their best work.
---- Silicon Valley Computer Genealogy Group
---- Utah Valley PAF Users Group
-- Show 15 minutes of a genealogy video each month, such as Kip Sperry's
"Reading Early American Handwriting" from
-- Schedule 1/2 of each meeting's topic for the next year, and then fill in the
rest of the time based on:
---- new topics that come up in the mean time
---- the evolving needs of your members
ADVERTISE YOUR MEETINGS
-- Obtain free webspace through RootsWeb.com
-- Post meeting dates, times, topics on your website.
-- Provide links to regional genealogy events (classes, seminars, society
-- Send permanent 8.5" x 11" flyers to each Family History Center and public
library in your region.
-- Send info to the local newspaper's "what's happening about town" section.
GET MEMBERS INVOLVED
-- Remember that with most societies, genealogical or otherwise, 10% of the
members do 90% of the work. That is just the way it is, kiddo.
-- Have a hospitality chairperson to manage light (very light) refreshments.
-- Ask RootsWeb for a mailing list to keep members and interested parties
informed of upcoming events.
BE GRATEFUL and happy for the input from members and attendees. I think
back on my days with the Manasota PAF Users Group with great fondness because
the MEMBERS were so wonderful about sharing their knowledge with others at our
meetings. We saw things like displays of Civil War period clothing, descriptions
and discussions about Bob Jones' grandchildren trip to "plant trees in the
family cemetery" and such. I remember that Dorinne and Bud were the first to get
digital cameras and showed us how to digitize old documents. Elsie called a member if they didn't show up at a
meeting, providing a great sense of continuity and belonging. Of course, for the
fun of it, I always picked on Chuck Fitzgerald, until he moved, and Jim Connoly
took his place. You know, have fun with it! OK... I'm going to start to cry just
remembering old friends and great times!
Be open to suggestions, and learn about each member's personal interests and
talents. Each of us have different strengths when it comes to computers,
software, research, obtaining unusual original documents, preparing our work for
publication, etc. Give each member a chance to SHINE.
Happy family tree climbing!