OCGS Constitution & Bylaws


This society was formed to:

a.       Promote individual and community awareness in genealogy, family history and allied fields of study.  

b.      Encourage original genealogical research and publication/sharing of findings.

c.       Publish a high-quality newsletter on a regular basis.

d.      Promote genealogical education within the Society and the community.

e.       Conduct genealogical workshops and seminars.

f.        Organize field trips for Society members to research centers.

g.       Sponsor projects to promote and preserve genealogical knowledge.

h.       Support worthwhile genealogical activities of other organizations. 

i.        Collect and archive books, family histories, genealogies, historical documents, photographs and archival materials pertinent to the residents of Orleans County, New York and their ancestors  wherever they may have come from, or moved on to. 

Any person with an interest in genealogy, family history or allied fields of study may become a member of the Society upon
payment of dues.  


Each member of the Society shall pay annual dues at a rate determined by a majority vote of the group membership. 


The membership year shall run from October 10th to October 9th, to correspond with the Society’s founding date.  Members paying dues by the close of business on November 10th, 2000 will be considered Charter Members. New members may join at any time by completing an application and payment of dues. OCGS allows for joint membership for couples, the couple is allowed one vote. 


Only members in good standing shall be eligible to receive the Society’s newsletter, participate in Society business meetings or special activities of the Society or hold elective or appointive office. 


Each member in good standing, except as indicated herein, of the Society shall be entitled to one vote on each matter submitted to a vote of the membership.  Joint members are entitled to only one vote.  


The group from time to time may elect honorary members of the Society.  Those so honored shall have all the privileges of membership, except they may not hold elective office, and shall be exempt from payment of dues for life.  A Roll of Honor shall be maintained by the Membership Secretary and published in the first issue of our newsletter of each year.  Members nominating someone for honorary membership will provide a biographical sketch of the nominee.  This sketch should include, but is not limited to, full name, address, names of parents, spouses, achievements, contributions to the Society, and reasons for nomination.  


Regular meetings of the members of the Society shall be held in the County of Orleans, State of NY on the second Sunday of each month unless such Sunday falls on a Legal Holiday.  The group will vote on whether to skip the meeting falling on a holiday or reschedule for a different Sunday in that month.  Notice of a meeting change shall be e-mailed to online members and local members with e-mail.  Telephone notice will be made to local members not online.  


The annual meeting of the Society shall be the regular meeting, on or before the 9th of  October of each year.  


Six (6) attending members of the local members shall constitute a quorum for purposes of transacting business at any meeting of the society.  The Membership Secretary or a designated representative shall notify the President and the Recording Secretary that a quorum is present before any vote is taken.  The act of the majority, of the Members present at a meeting, at which a quorum exists, shall be the act of the Membership.


The Society President shall determine the agenda for each business meeting of the Society.  A copy of the agenda will be provided to the Recording Secretary, the Program Chairman and others as needed at the beginning of the meeting.  The President or a designated representative shall preside at each meeting.


The officers of the Society shall be President, Vice President (Program), Treasurer, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, Membership Secretary, Historian/Genealogist.


The officers shall be elected by the members of the Society at the annual meeting for a term of two (2) years, or until their successors are duly elected and installed.  In even-numbered years the President, Recording Secretary, Assistant Treasurer,  and Corresponding Secretary will stand for election.  In odd –numbered years the remaining officers of the Society will stand for election.


To stand for election to any office or to be appointed to any position in the Society, a candidate must:

a.       be a member in good standing

b.      be at least eighteen (18)  years of age

c.       demonstrate an active interest in genealogy

d.      be capable of being bonded


Officers shall be elected by a vote of the members at the annual meeting of the Society.  Each officer shall hold office until his successor has been elected and installed.  The term of each officer commences on October 10th following the election and terminates on October 9th two (2) years after the election.  


Any officer or director may be dismissed or suspended, for cause, by a majority vote of the members present.


A vacancy in any elected office, due to death, resignation, and removal or otherwise, shall be filled temporarily upon the recommendation of the President, followed by an affirming vote at the next monthly meeting of the membership.  The incumbent shall serve the unexplored term of his predecessor.  


Whenever an officer has a financial or personal interest in any matter coming before the board of officers, the affected person
shall a.) fully disclose the nature of the interest and b). withdraw from discussion, lobbying, and voting on the matter, as described in the Conflict of Interest Policy. Any transaction or vote involving a potential conflict of interest shall be approved only when a majority of disinterested officers determine that it is in the best interest of the corporation to do so. The minutes of the meetings at which such votes are taken shall record such disclosure, abstention and rationale for approval.


a.       Officials of the Society shall turn over to their successors all Society funds, stains, materials, documents, records, correspondence, etc. pertaining to their office within seven (7) days of taking office.   Upon resignation or dismissal an officer shall immediately turn over all materials and records to the President.


As our Society grows we should expect to require bonding of some or all officers of the Society.  Such bonding is usually renewed annually and shall be at the sole expense of the Society.  Officers designated by the membership to be bonded are required to cooperate with the insurance carrier.


a.       President.

The President shall preside at all meetings of the membership, assigns and coordinates work of the officers and committees of the Society.  Is the alternate signer on all Society financial accounts, is the officer authorized to negotiate and execute contracts for the Society; approves all non-budgeted expenditures up to $200.  And periodically reports on the state of the Society to the members. The President shall appoint members and chair of the Collections Committee.  

b.      Vice-President.

The Vice-President  develops, plans, schedules and manages the program for monthly, special and joint meetings of the Society; insures that the program plan receives the prior approval of membership and appoints members to the program planning committee; prepares and administers the program portion of the Society budget; performs such other duties as may be assigned from time to time by the President.  Serves as chairman of membership meetings in the temporary absence of the President and serves as Acting President upon the resignation, dismissal, death or long-term disability of the President until the membership appoints an Interim President/a new President is elected.

c.       Treasurer. 

The Treasurer manages and administers all funds and securities of the Society; prepares and administers the Society’s annual budget; insures that the budget is approved by the membership prior to expanding funds; personally approves all budgeted expenses for payment and all non-budgeted expenses up to $100; is responsible for insuring that the President is an alternate signer on all Society accounts.  The Treasurer  is the alternate signing authority for contracts with the approval of the President; maintains official file of current contracts, agreements, licenses, and insurance policies for the Society; maintains an updated inventory of material and equipment owned and leased  by the Society, including donations; annually submits all Society accounts to audit, usually during the month of November, although accounts may be audited at any time as required by the President or Vice-President.  The Treasurer maintains an historical file of Society financial records and the membership on the state of the Society’s finances and performs such other duties as may be assigned from time to time by the President or Vice-President.

d.      Assistant  Treasurer

The Assistant Treasurer’s responsibilities shall be the same as the Treasurer’s, but serving only when needed in the event the Treasurer is incapacitated.  The Assistant Treasurer shall have the alternate signing authority as does the Treasurer. 

e.      Recording Secretary 

The Recording Secretary takes the minutes of each meeting of the members.  A copy of the minutes for each meeting is provided to each officer within fourteen (14) days.  The Recording Secretary reads the minutes of the last meeting of the members when requested by the President; records the official results of the vote at the Society’s Annual Meeting; maintains the historical file of minutes, resolutions, and other documents and performs such other duties as may be assigned from time to time by the President or Vice-President.

f.       Corresponding Secretary

The Corresponding Secretary receives, sorts, edits, files and answers all general correspondence addressed to the Society; manages genealogical queries for the Society; administers the Society’s post office box and voice mail; prepares and manages that portion of the Society’s budget dealing with correspondence; and performs such other duties as may be assigned from time to time by the President or Vice-President.

g.       Membership Secretary 

The Membership Secretary prepares and maintains the Society’s membership records; collects dues, delivers funds and reports activity promptly to the Treasurer; prepares and administers the Membership portion of the Society’s budget; and performs such other duties as may be assigned from time to time by the President or Vice President.  The Membership Secretary shall prepare, maintain and distribute the Society’s Surname List.

h.        Historian/Genealogist 

The Historian/Genealogist maintains the official historical records of the Society; prepares, maintains and distributes the Orleans County File; assists the Corresponding Secretary with the processing of genealogical queries. The Historian prepares and administers the Historian’s portion of the Society’s budget and performs such other duties as may be assigned from time to time by the President or Vice President.  


a.       The President shall designate formation of Other Standing or Special Committees.

b.      The President shall appoint a chairman of the committee and fill any vacancies therein, with the approval of the membership.  The President is an ex officio member all standing, special and ad hoc committees, except a nominating committee should there be one.

c.       The President shall appoint the members and chair of the Collections Committee.

d.      Anticipated Standing Committees (as we grow) are:  Education Committee, Hospitality Committee, Liaison Committee, Publications Committee, Publicity Committee and Reception Committee.


The President may, from time to time, appoint chairmen and/or members to ad-hoc committees.  These committees are usually organized to perform a single, specific function, after which they are disbanded.


Any member may request the formation of a Special Interest Group (SIG) at any time and for any purpose that would help our Society.  All members of the SIG must be members in good standing of the Society.  The President and Vice-President must approve this request for the group to proceed.  The President and Vice-President must provide approval or rejection stating their reasons for their decision. 


Fiscal Year.  The fiscal year of the Society shall begin on the tenth (10th) Day of October and end on the ninth (9th) day of October of the following year.  

Amendment, Repeal and Replacement of these Bylaws.

These bylaws may be amended or repealed, or new bylaws may be adopted by the vote of the members present at any regular or special meeting of the members.  Any proposed change to these bylaws shall be published and made available to each member at least fourteen (14) days before the meeting at which the change is to be considered.


a.       Chairman.  A term used for the leader of a group without regard to gender.

b.      Vote.  Implies a preference indicated by a simple majority, unless otherwise stated.

c.       All terms within this document are used without regard to gender.  


Upon approval of the membership present of the Society these Bylaws are immediately in force and supersede all previous bylaws, constitution, rules and regulations.

Last Item.


These bylaws were submitted for review at a Special Meeting on 18 May 2001.  A quorum being present these bylaws, with revisions, were passed by unanimous vote.

Hollis Ricci-Canham (Holly)

Founding President

Revised July 13, 2014 by unanimous vote, adding section CONFLICTS OF INTEREST.