P.O. Box 3040
Pueblo, CO 81005
Dear GSHA Members:
I am very proud to be President of GSHA and look forward to working with the GSHA Board of Directors and all our members. We are 400 strong and growing. The 2015 GSHA Annual Meeting & Genealogical Conference looks to be as successful, or more successful than past conferences.
Your leaders hope we are providing our members the information and resources you need to do your genealogical research. With the addition of our GSHA Facebook page, we have another avenue for both members and non-members to exchange information and connect with other researchers. It also serves as a great recruiting tool, not only for GSHA, but also for our two chapters, FACC of Pueblo and GSHA-Southern California. Our publications, Nuestras Raices and Noticias de Nuestras Raices continue to be a source of pride while delivering information for our members and reflecting the professionalism of our organization. The chapter newsletters provide our members with news about chapter and community sponsored events of interest to the Hispanic community. Our website ties this all together and promotes us to the world while connecting us to other genealogical groups and researchers.
Congratulations on our accomplishments, but there is still more to do. Social media technology continues to advance and allow us to locate information and far-flung familial connections ever faster. DNA testing keeps the identification of the human gnome and the demographics of the Hispanic community constantly in motion, while revealing information not available in archives. It is important that we adapt to this increasing pace and I welcome all suggestions to keep us relevant in our changing universe.
My vision of GSHA is to see us continue to show growth membership and genealogical resources (publications, DNA testing, library collaborations, outreach), but we must look at the wider world and reach out to our primos and primas in the wider Hispanic community in the American Southwest (Arizona, California, Nevada and Texas) as well as Mexico, Central and South America. We are not 400 strong, but millions strong and we need to take advantage of that. Here is what I would like to accomplish during my term:
1. Increase membership among our younger generation, the average age of a GSHA member is 65 years old, and it grows older with each passing month. The recently launched GSHA Duran Youth Initiative Program is a great start, but I will be working with local chapters to explore other means of recruitment.
2. Money is always a sensitive subject, how do we get it and how do we spend it? Our biggest revenue generators are the membership dues and producing a conference that meets or comes in under budget. Donations from members are a great help and I encourage your financial support. Large donations such as the one received at the 2014 genealogical conference are greatly appreciated, but are rare. Therefore, I hope to enlist the help of those members who have grant writing experience.
3. We also need more volunteers for our conferences, so that we can continue to improve the professionalism of the conference, while maintaining registration fees accessible to the majority of our members. Popular conferences increase our membership base, allowing us to offer other services and benefits to our members.
4, Though bylaws of any organization are vital and required by state law, the real effectiveness of any organization is its policies and procedures. Policies and procedures help to effectively run the day-to-day operations so that there is little or no confusion as to how to get things done. Though they cannot anticipate every situation, a good policy and procedure manual can cover those situations that are of a reoccurring nature. That is why I have asked Mr. Abel Santistevan to take on this task, he has been involved with this process before and has been with GSHA for many years and knows its history. More on this after the 2015 conference.
5. I spoke earlier of reaching out to other communities of the Hispanic world, I believe in this and therefore am looking for a person to take on this task, to be, for a lack of a better word, a research group coordinator. Someone who will be the eyes and ears of GSHA, to not only help grow our membership, but also to bring in the greater Hispanic community to our “family”.
I believe we can accomplish these goals, but not without the help of you, the members. A ship may have a captain, but without a crew, it is only a metal container and nothing else. Please join me and your GSHA Board in achieving these goals. Be a vital part of our future, with your support GSHA can be an organization that will be sought after when the words Hispanic genealogy are spoken.
GSHA President, 2015&2016