Saturday, 29 November 2008


Report from Lucas Rinken (left), chairman of the Gauteng Branch of the GSSA:

The branch committee today (Saturday, 29 November 2008) at length discussed the decline of the branch membership from 83 to 64 last year. It was more disturbing when Richard Ford (right), National Executive Member and editor of Familia, gave a report back of the NEC meeting in Cape Town on 22 November 2008 indicating that the national membership had risen.

Questions now asked are:
  • How can we attract more members?
  • How can we ensure that annual membership is renewed?
  • Are we providing our members with value for money in terms of monthly meetings/support?
I was particularly pleased when, in a discussion after our meeting, Danie Jacobs suggested that we should introduce a system of mentors for each member. So often members come to our meeting and do not hear what they hoped to hear. However, being new members, they don't ask questions and we never see them again. Others join up at events like Hobby-X and that's the last we see or hear of them.

If each new member could be assigned to a "mentor" in order to:
  • retain contact,
  • encourage them to attend meetings and
  • try to assist in genealogical matters,
it could be greatly beneficial to members and the branch.

Details would have to be worked out and members need to be carefully allocated to the right mentor. A structured system where experienced members take a maximum of five members under their wings is forseen. Such allocation will be based on common interests or whatever criteria will be considered.

Methods of assistance need to be worked out.

I look forward to comments and suggestions from members at your earliest convenience. E-mail me at
  • I am happy to announce that Gerard Marloth has agreed to join our committee next year as membership secretary.
  • Furthermore, Penny Evens (left) has agreed to join the committee to be a spokesman for beginners and to keep the committee focused on what members need.

1 comment:

  1. I think this is a great idea, and I blogged about it on our own genealogical society blog. Good for you!


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