Just a few months into the Guild administrative year and so much has changed; some good changes and some not-so-good. Having made several announcements on the Forum and in the Chairman’s Column in JOONS, I felt that a Newsflash was in order to keep you all up-to-date with recent events.
So, below you will find details of the following:
In May, Bob Cumberbatch joined us as a guest at our Committee meeting in London and was co-opted during the meeting. AGM/Conference delegates at Thame in 2010 will have heard Bob speak about Caribbean Ancestry and many members will have met him over the years when he has assisted Howard Benbrook on the Bookstall and more recently, at the Guild Stand at WDYTYA. Bob also joined the marketing subcommittee, helping the Guild to increase membership both in the UK and overseas, as well as educating the wider genealogical community in surnames and one-name studies.
Many Guild members around the world speak at local, regional and national events to educate other family historians about surnames and the Guild as an organisation. The Guild Secretary often receives requests from local FHSs in the UK for speakers or authors for their local publications. Bob has taken on the role of ‘Education Liaison Officer’, responsible for organising lectures/talks to advance the education of the public. Please contact Bob if you are willing to speak at events (local, regional or national) to promote surnames and the Guild as an organisation – email@example.com.
We also have a guest at our meeting in September who would like to join us on the Committee so watch this space!
Anni Berman reported the sad news of the sudden and tragic death of Pat Lord in the recent edition of JOONS. Shortly after the journal went to print, we lost two other committed Guild members – Geoff Riggs and John Hebden.
Geoff was ‘probably the best known genealogist in Wales’ (to quote Roy Stockdill). He was Vice Chairman of the Guild and Chairman of the Federation of Family History Societies as well as holding a vast number of other voluntary posts within the realms of family history. A leading light in the Association of Family History Societies of Wales, we and they – along with many thousands of others – will miss him enormously.
John Hebden was Chairman of the Guild from 1988-1990 and was elected as Vice President from 2003 to 2010. He consistently supported the Guild throughout the years and despite his ailing health, helped on the stand in Harrogate in June this year. He has handed over the Hebden study to Stuart Hebden to continue his fantastic work and will be missed by the Guild and all who knew him.
These losses really highlight the need to put steps in place to ‘preserve your one-name study’. In the Members Room, under Self Service – check your study details, there is a page which allows you to indicate what you want to happen to the data that the Guild holds for you, should you leave the Guild, and to all your study material in the event of your death.
Don’t forget the forthcoming Guild Seminar on "The Art of ONS", taking place at Alwalton just off the A1 near Peterborough, PE7 3UU on 13th Aug 2011. Supported by the Halsted Trust, this is designed to be of interest to both new and experienced Members – further details are available on the Guild website here.
There are also several superb events ‘down under’ in the next few months. Unlock the Past have a ‘Victorian Expo’ in Geelong where Helen Smith will be flying the Guild flag; and a History and Genealogy cruise with a Scottish and Irish Theme, taking place in November 2011. Places are still available on the cruise and it would be fantastic if someone attending were able to offer a lecture about the Guild!
Bookings should be made through Unlock the Past and anyone willing to speak may well be offered a discount on their fare – if you are able to educate others in surnames and/or one-name studies, please contact me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Coldwell is speaking on ‘Surnames’ at the prestigious Australian Federation of Family History Societies Congress in March 2012. We also hope to have a Guild Stand at the event. Registration for the event is open.….. get booking!
You may be aware of a recent forum message relating to spam and the inconvenience it causes. Wendy, as Forum Manager, moderated the responses so that they did not appear on the Forum list, since this topic is one that is not allowed on the Forum, see here.
The ban on discussion of viruses, spam and other ‘malware’ has been in place since 2003 and there may well be a generation of Guild members unaware of why this is. Firstly, it is an issue that can generate a lot of list traffic and as it is not directly relevant to one-name studies, can clog up the list with material that many would not find useful.
Secondly, this is a topic which can create a good deal of misinformation. Some members simply may not realise that a warning about some dangerous new virus which they have been told to copy to all their contacts is nothing more than an electronic chain letter – these are always hoaxes. Furthermore, many who respond to such messages have been known to give incorrect and misleading advice. An example is the suggestion that putting a fake e-mail address in your address book stops the spread of viruses. It doesn’t, it is an ‘urban myth’.
However, having decided to ban discussion of such topics, many members said that the Guild was their main source of information and that they didn’t want to sign up to specialist lists that focus on such computer security issues. The Guild therefore decided to set up a Warning, Advice and Reporting Point (WARP), a concept which was just emerging at that time as a Government led initiative to provide support to users within organisations that needed a cost effective solution to providing advice as compared to the more structured CERTs (Computer Emergency Response Teams) used by governments themselves. WARP was chosen as an acronym in much the same spirit as we adopted GOONS.
The Guild WARP was the first WARP in the voluntary sector and was formally recognised by the government in 2004, see here.
The WARP service comprises two parts. Firstly, if you want personal advice on a problem related to viruses, spam, phishing and other threats, then an e-mail to email@example.com will provide a response. Secondly, members are encouraged to sign up to the Guild WARP list, which is a Yahoo group for distribution of warnings and advice on current issues. More information on the WARP can be found here, while general advice on computer security issues can be found here. If you have any further queries about the list or its benefits, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The WARP is run by the WARP administrator, Peter Walker, ably assisted by our Data Manager, Ken Mycock, who helps in particular by managing the membership list of the Yahoo group. If you are not currently a WARP member, we would ask ‘why not?’ Everyone’s computer is at risk from malware and even if you think you understand the subject, surely advice on newly emerging issues must be of value?