This is the Committee's Annual Report that appeared in the March 2012 journal:
The Committee would like to thank all who have put so much effort into the running of the Society. The Committee has met regularly to ensure the effective running of the Society and also continues to be represented at various fairs and at the meetings of the Federation of Family History Societies.
The Committee continues to review and consider the future income and expenditure for all aspects of the Society as required by good practice and the Charity Commission. By the careful use of income and resources the Society can continue to remain secure in the future. With this in mind the Committee and the Projects Co-ordinator have entered into discussion with the Federation of Family History Societies and findMypast with a view to place Indexes and transcriptions on findMypast (See Projects and Publications report). This will not affect the selling of CDs or the ability of Members to use Indexes etc at the library.
The vacancies for Society Secretary have been filled by co-opting Vera Bailey until the AGM. Tony Codling was also co-opted as a Trustee and it is hoped that both will stand for election at the AGM. However, it is very important that a successor to the Treasurer is found as soon as possible as well as other positions within the Committee. Ron Anthony, a long standing Trustee, is standing down this year and on behalf of the Committee and Society I would like to thank Ron for his many years actively helping the Society. The new research service started in January 2011 continues to operate successfully with steady number of requests coming in.
Last year, despite showing a deficit in the accounts for 2010, I was able to report that the underlying finances of the Society remained sound. I am pleased to report at the end of 2011 that this is still the case. Considerable savings made on the Bromley room hire costs and the increased benefits from the Library Resource activities have both helped to combat the effects of the economic downturn on our income from membership and publications sales.
The Society Committee have made a conscious effort to spend carefully this year and we are grateful to our many task-holders who have worked so hard to support us in this exercise which means that for the present we can allow the membership subscription to remain at its current level.
Despite the downturn, as a Society we are still committed to putting resources into the conservation of records and archived documents and educational activities.
The Society Committee are now taking steps to increase income from subscriptions and existing members can help by introducing new members and ensuring that you have opted into our Gift Aid Scheme if you are a UK tax payer.
The Vacant posts of Society Secretary and Minute Secretary were widely advertised. Despite the numerous requests and advertisements the vacancies were not filled and for most of the year the Committee had to operate without a Society Secretary. Fortunately the former Secretary, Vera Bailey, continued to offer support for some of the activities. The Minute Secretary role was taken up by Angela Bevan and at the December 2011 meeting the duties of the Secretary were streamlined and Vera Bailey agreed to resume as the Society Secretary. The Committee would like to thank both Vera and Angela for their help in this matter.
During 2011 the number of members and visitors attending the library/research centre increased dramatically. The instigation of monthly workshops has proved successful and a limit of 10 members per workshop has had to be introduced. Bookings can be made at Branches or via the web page, where details of future workshops can also be found. Thanks to David Turner for organising them. Suggestions for subjects members would like to be included in the 2012/2013 schedule would be welcomed.
12 new members have been enrolled during the year and the number of helpers has increased, allowing one to one help with family history research. The 3 KCC computers in the main library are often busy but Society laptops are always available in our research room. Negotiations are on-going to activate the Internet access in our room to reduce waiting time for the KCC computers. The history of Swanley Parkwood School buildings exhibition has proven very successful and is to be exhibited in libraries at Swanley and Dartford in 2012. Facilitated by David Cufley and at the Library a family bible found in Hextable was reunited with the family living in East Grinstead and Portugal.
Cataloguing books, CDs, DVDs, maps, church guides etc. at by the Library continues. The Project Group meets on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month; projects include 10 Bexley Hospital minute books dating from 1901 to 1935; Parish registers; Brent School (Stone) registers; Gravesend and Milton Gas Light Minute book for 1845. I would like to thank all the members who attend the library and help to create the friendly atmosphere for all. A Research Service is also operated from the Library and volunteers have helped many members with their research.
Projects and Publications
Work has continued on our Project for the filming, digital scanning, writing to disc and publishing the original registers for the parishes that lie in our area. We were able to publish a number of the records held by the Bromley Archives together with a few miscellaneous items. We are hopeful that work on some of the remaining holdings of the Bromley Archives can commence in 2012, this dependant on permission to publish from the Parishes and funding being made available. During 2011, transcription of various records continued and some were published. This is a work in progress and we will publish more in 2012.
Notwithstanding the rather harsh economic conditions & competition from the pay-to-view online sites, our sales of parish register discs held up reasonably well. Other parish records also sold reasonably well. Fortunately most of our publications deal with data that is not available online. Following the precept of - if you canít beat them-join them - we are currently negotiating the placement some of our data online through a commercial provider. If we are successful, that will happen in 2012 and provide a useful additional revenue stream for the Society.
Sales of publications at Events and by Post & Online amounted to £6850 - £2600 of bought in publications, both books & discs; together with £4250 of Society publications. This is roughly the same as our 2010 sales. It is estimated that these sales provide approximately £4000 of gross profit and assist greatly in offsetting the investment into project & publication work by the Society.
After 33 years of holding the Branch Meetings in the evening it was with some trepidation that we moved to Saturday mornings at the Bromley Methodist Church. David Cufley was the first speaker at the new venue and 43 members attended-we were in business!
We have gained new members and welcomed back those who for various reasons could not attend the evening meetings. The numbers attending peaked at the March meeting when Peter Christian talked about using computers to an audience of 78. Other interesting subjects this year have included Passports, Emigration, The National Archives and some basics for beginners.
We run a bookstall, Exchange Journals, help with genealogical problems and provide refreshments (drinks) for members. One problem brought about by the move is that there is no caretaker to prepare the chairs and tables for the meeting. However, we are gradually training our members to help.
2011 was another successful year for Dartford Branch with attendances of over 100 at most Saturday morning meetings. Thanks to our regular stallholders, members have plenty to interest them before they settle down to listen to the dayís speakers, which have been many and varied.
Thanks are also due to Barbara Phillips who arranges the programme and to Jeanette Carter who has once again organised minibus trips to the National Archives at Kew, which have been a great help to members. Our monthly raffles have raised over £530, a big increase on last yearís total. Thanks to everyone who has donated prizes for the raffle and please continue to do so.
The Dartford Committee and helpers look forward to meeting present and future members in 2012 and hope that they will be able to attend the Society library in Summerhouse Drive, Wilmington to further their Family history research.
This was a very busy and successful year, although very bad weather in the latter end of 2010 meant our December meeting and Christmas buffet was cancelled. Despite the weather the February meeting took place and 28 local regular attendees and 6 visitors managed to make it. Attendance has risen again this year to around 40 members plus visitors at most meetings. At the branch General Meeting, in April, there were some changes to the committee following the resignation of Christine Geer. Geoff Webb and Karina Jackson were elected as new members and the remainder of the original committee were re-elected.
We have again been actively involved with the Sevenoaks Library in manning their Local and Family History workshops which have proven to be very successful in bringing the Society new members this past year. We have been asked to take part again this coming year. We have some very experienced researchers at the branch who are always very happy to give their time and advice to any of our other members and visitors who are in need of it.
The branch hosted the Society AGM in May and it proved to be a very full and enjoyable day with many members saying how nice the venue was and perhaps we could have it here it again. In September we celebrated our 25th anniversary with a buffet supper, various displays and an excellent speaker. 52 members and 4 visitors attended the evening including some of the original-founding members of the branch.
My thanks go to all the committee but in particular Chris Barnett for producing a great mixture of serious and light hearted speakers for us. My thanks also go to two or three non-committee members who are always a great help at meetings and we couldnít manage so well without them.