Thursday 2 July 2015

Questions, questions, questions

The Genealogical Society of Ireland (GSI) prides itself on its campaigning spirit. You can see this on its website's home page, where 'Campaigning' heads up a list of other roles the Society cherishes.

But the campaign-veterans at the GSI may have become a bit too enthusiastic.

On page 2 of the June 2015 issue of the Genealogical Society of Ireland's Ireland's Genealogical Gazette (incorporating Genie Gazette), the newsletter writer asks that its 'friends at AGI' (meaning Accredited Genealogists Ireland) publicly clarify something it (AGI) has already clarified to the ever-inquisitive Genealogical Society of Ireland: namely that it (AGI) is not incorporated – ie it is not a limited company. In case anyone does not know, AGI is an association of (mainly) self-employed professional genealogists.

Now you have to ask (at least, I did), why is the Genealogical Society of Ireland asking this through its newsletter?

Whatever the reason, it seems to have cast some doubt on the legitimacy of AGI. I saw a forum post along those lines within days of the Gazette being published. It read: '...[Genealogical Society of Ireland] questions their [AGI’s] name... Is the AGI a good organisation to be associated with?’

I have been quietly asked by two other people in the past month whether or not AGI is legit?

Reluctantly, AGI has put a statement on its website: it is an unincorporated entity.

I'll spell this out: As Accredited Genealogists Ireland (AGI) is an unincorporated entity, it is clearly not the incorporated (limited) company named elsewhere in the newsletter story.

The subject of corporate status is dull and I'm sorry to inflict it on readers of Irish Genealogy News but this story is here for a reason. It looks like another example of bullying.

The Genealogical Society of Ireland's newsletter has been published since 1996, so you can imagine it has a good sized readership. Its Facebook page has 5,488 followers/friends/likes and its Twitter account 1269 followers.

Accredited Genealogists Ireland (AGI)’s Facebook page has 825 followers/friends and it has no Twitter account, no blog and no newsletter.

Given its much stronger voice, is this a fair way for the Genealogical Society of Ireland to pose questions?

Levelling up the balance somewhat, I'd like to ask the Genealogical Society of Ireland's Board why it is happy to send off letters and throw out questions to other parties but doesn't like to respond to them itself?

Sean J Murphy's Open Letter to the Genealogical Society of Ireland is still awaiting a reply after more than 12 months.

I am sure the Genealogical Society of Ireland's members would like an explanation for how the GSI Board came to reward its Board member John Hamrock with the position of Chairman after he had been censured by the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) for plagiarism. How many of the Board knew about this? When were they told? How many were aware of the Open Letter's publication just one month after their new chairman took up his position? If not then, when did they become aware of it?

And having now become aware of it, when are they going to clarify their position on plagiarism publicly?