The Guild of One-Name Studies is one of the most progressive genealogical organisations that I know, certainly in the UK at least. Firstly, full disclaimer, I am a Trustee and an Officer, so I am bound think positive things. Do we always get it right, no we don’t and I say that as a Trustee with integrity and a realist. We try and always seek to improve and give members value for money.
I also belong to a substantial genealogical group in the UK whose membership fees are more than the Guild’s. They, in my personal view give me less value for money than the Guild and the question of. is that important is perhaps a topic for another day and fair warning, that day may never come! It comes down to what is important to us as individual genealogists.
So why is H for Help? The Guild is one of the most helpful and knowledgeable group of people that I know. There is always a member who knows the answer to any question asked, whether that is asked via the Members only Facebook group, the members only email mailing list or via the Web Forum which is in the members room. We also have a Facebook page and non-members can use that ask questions. There too, is more than knowledge.
There are the Guild services, such as those folks who are part of the infrastructure of the Members’ Website Project or those members who keep the website going and remain migrating the material from the old part of the site to the shiny new one. Members who operate what is called a Marriage Challenge and I promise to write more about that in the future. (For those of you who have been reading along, I have kept a list of my future promised posts! – the challenge is not loosing the list!). Members who do the Webinars offered by the Guild or the seminars which are held quarterly. Members who work on the journal, those who write the articles, the editor or the proof readers.
The Guild offers all those services and member benefits totally on the work of volunteers – there is NO paid staff, and that is what I find remarkable – Members helping Members.
Of course those shown in the above image are just the volunteer run member benefits, that does not include all the other volunteers who work behind the scenes making sure the wheels turn and don’t fall off! Anyone who has contacted the Guild telephone help desk by telephone would have likely to have spoken to Roy in England who answers the calls made to the UK or US free (toll) number or Karen who answers the Australian free (toll) number and that is just one example.
So whatever the question, there is a chance that one of our almost 3,000 members knows the answer or knows someone who does! And that is before we even consider what each member with a registered surname knows about the individuals in their respective studies. How could H have been for anything else but Help?