Indiana - Crossroads To Your Past! Indiana Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 10507, Ft. Wayne IN 46852-0507
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Indiana Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 10507, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46852-0507


IGS Receives FGS Award
for Raising $64,000+

FGS service award
IGS Recording Secretary Dawne Slater accepts the award from FGS President Josh Taylor (photo courtesy Fred Moss)

The Indiana Genealogical Society recently received a Distinguished Service Award from the Federation of Genealogical Societies "in recognition of exemplary and outstanding fundraising" for the Preserve The Pensions Project. With the help of matching donations, IGS has contributed over $64,000 to help digitize War of 1812 pension files.

New Databases for Members

An Open Letter from Curt Witcher
IGS Founding President

In comparison to most state genealogical societies, the Indiana Genealogical Society is rather young. Yet we certainly can take tremendous pride in what we have accomplished to make us one of the most active state genealogical societies in the country.

We have so very much to be proud of!

  • We support a dynamic web site with a growing number of searchable databases.
  • We are responsible for two very fine serial publications for members, with a third publication free to anyone who is interested in Indiana genealogy and local history — all three are of great consequence.
  • We support two lineage endeavors to encourage individuals to engage in more research and get recognized for significant achievements.
  • We engage in preservation and access projects, large and small, with one of the marquee endeavors being the Hendricks County Probate Project.
  • We provide amazing support for national access projects such as the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ War of 1812 “Preserve the Pensions” project. (It’s a very short list of state societies that are Platinum, and even fewer that are Diamond!)
  • We contributed and continue to contribute many thousands of dollars to support the worthwhile endeavors of Indiana societies and IGS chapters. No other genealogical society does this at this level; they can’t budget those kinds of resources because they’re so laser-focused on their own works and needs. We can devote those kinds of resources, and do!
  • We have made prudent and wise decisions about not funding bricks-‘n’-mortar in a state with so many consequential research facilities, but rather, offering top-shelf educational experiences each year through our seminars and conferences. We certainly don’t have the largest attendance at our annual events, but those events are among the very best educational proceedings one will find anywhere.

I am sure each of you could add even more consequential activities to the above list. We have diligently labored over the years to build an amazing society—and we have every reason to be proud!

There is one significant area of our society’s life, though, to which we have paid precious little attention, and that is succession planning. Who will take the place of the current board and committee members when those people are no longer serving? Most societies fall into the same “trap” we have - that of believing that succession planning will just take care of itself or that we’ll get around to it someday. Succession planning is an absolutely critical part of any successful organization, and those that don’t skillfully engage in it put their respective organizations in great peril.

Not intending to be alarmist, but I believe the Indiana Genealogical Society is currently in great peril. All of those amazing and substantial activities we engage in and all the successes we have had in remaining well capitalized while funding consequential endeavors are in jeopardy if we cannot find good, qualified individuals to fill key leadership roles in the IGS. We need good committee chairs, active committee members, good board members, and good officers. And we need to begin making this happen now. This board needs to set the example for all future boards in doing a good job with succession planning.

At the present time, numerous committee chairs, board positions, and officer positions are vacant or soon to be vacant. It is our responsibility, individually or collectively, to recruit good people for these positions. I am asking each of you to use your extensive networks of contacts to find qualified people to serve. I would suggest that your networks include more than your local genealogical society. Your network of contacts should include your work contacts, your church contacts, your neighborhood association contacts, your personal & family contacts, and your contacts in other areas of activities in your life. Please use your wide networks of contacts to look for individuals who could serve in the following capacities:

  • Officers
  • Directors
  • Committee Chairs
  • Committee Members
  • County Genealogists

Keep in mind that one does not have to be an expert genealogist to serve in a number of these positions; rather, one needs to have a passion for furthering the work of a very successful historical organization in the family history space.

We have done so well in so many areas; however, that could all come to a screeching halt if we don’t grow new generations of leadership. Please give this serious consideration, and send your list of candidates for the various open positions to our society president, Michael Maben. This is an extremely urgent matter, and one of great consequence.


© 2015 Indiana Genealogical Society

Indiana Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 10507, Fort Wayne, IN 46852-0507