Berrien County Genealogical Society
Amelia Island Genealogical Society
Berrien County Genealogical Society
By Laws
September 22, 2016
Article I
Section 1
Society Name
The name of the society is Berrien County Genealogical Society, hereafter referred to as BCGS. BCGS is organized on a Non-Profit basis.
Article II
Section 1
The mission of BCGS is to promote interest, education, and good research practices in genealogy, as well as to gather, house and publish related materials, inclusive of original records.
Section 2
Pursuit of the BCGS mission is through programming, educational classes, website content development, publishing a newsletter, and other means as appropriate.
Section 3
Association with Other Societies, Associations, or Cooperatives
BCGS will cooperate with societies, associations or cooperatives engaged in genealogical activities that are consistent with the mission of BCGS.
Section 4
Fiscal Year
The Fiscal year of the BCGS is January 1 to December 31.
Article III
Section 1
Membership in BCGS is available to any person in agreement with the BCGS stated mission, with payment of annual dues (see Section 2).
Section 2
Membership Dues
Annual membership dues are determined by the Board. Payment of dues affords a member full benefits for one (1) year beginning January 1, ending December 31. Applicants joining after January 1 in any year have the option of a retroactive start date or may wait for the upcoming January 1 to begin membership. Membership dues received October 1 or later will be credited to the next calendar year.  Membership dues are not prorated.
Section 3
Removal from Membership
A BCGS member who disregards the BCGS’s stated mission and best interests, as determined by the Board, may, by a majority vote of the Board, be removed from membership, without refund of dues, and will be denied any subsequent membership.
Article IV Section 1 Programs and Meetings
Programs are scheduled and announced in the BCGS newsletter, via separate mailing, and on our website.  Other special meetings or programs may be scheduled by the Board and announced by email, mail, or via our website.
Article V
Section 1
BCGS publishes a newsletter at least four (4) times a year. Newsletter is named the PastFinder. The PastFinder is distributed to members and other organizations under agreement of exchange. Members may post queries in the PastFinder free of charge. Queries must make reference to Berrien County ancestry. In the event the Newsletter Editor resigns, the PastFinder may be suspended until a new Editor can be found.
Article VI
Section 1
The Officers, the immediate Past President, and four (4) additional Directors shall constitute the Board.
Section 2
Officers and Terms
Officers of BCGS consist of a President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Parliamentarian/Sergeant at Arms. Term of office for the Board is three (3) years.
Section 3
Nomination of Board
The President shall appoint a Nomination Committee of two members by July 15 of election year.  The Committee shall be instructed to present a slate of candidates to members via email by November 1 of election year.  Additional nominations by email will be accepted.
Section 4
Annual Election
Election of Board Members shall be by a majority of votes received from BCGS members by email response.  All members in good standing, (those members whose dues are currently paid in full) may vote by email response.
Section 5
Board Vacancies
Vacant Board positions may be filled by recommendation of the President, followed by a majority vote of the Board, at a regular or special meeting of the Board.
Article VII
Section 1
Board Meeting Quorum
A quorum is necessary to conduct board meetings. A quorum shall consist of a majority of the Board positions filled at that time, at least three (3) of whom are Officers. BCGS members are welcome to attend Board meetings. To secure speaking time on the agenda, contact the President within five (5) business days prior to the meeting date.
  Section 2 Business Meeting Quorum
A quorum at a business meeting shall consist of a majority of BCGS members in good standing who are in attendance at the meeting.
Article VIII Section 1 Duties of President
  1. Preside over all meetings.
  2. Appoint Chairpersons to Standing and/or Special Committees.
  3. Recommend appointments to the Board when vacancies occur.
  4. Prepare and maintain a current inventory of all legal documents, records and equipment belonging to the BCGS.
  5. Keep all signed contracts.
  Section 2 Duties of Vice-President
  1. Assume the duties of the President in the absence of the President.
  2. Chair Membership Committee.
  3. Promote BCGS to attract new members.
  4. Prepare the Year-End Membership Report.
  5. Email members notice of upcoming events.
  Section 3 Duties of Secretary
  1. Obtain, respond to or distribute for response, incoming BCGS mail.
  2. Maintain a file of BCGS correspondence, as needed.
  3. Send “Thank You” notes to speakers.
  4. Prepare, distribute, and post to website BCGS meeting minutes.
  5. Keep and have available for reference at all meetings, the BCGS By-Laws.
  6. Responsible for all Attendance Records at all meetings and programs.
  7. Prepare Year-End Attendance Report.
  8. Maintain listing of Society library holdings.  All library holdings are kept accessible and current.
  Section 4 Duties of Treasurer
  1. Custodian of all funds of the BCGS. Responsible to deposit them in insured financial institutions, or invest them pursuant to instructions of the Board.
  2. Sign checks with the President for authorized disbursements on behalf of the BCGS.
  3. Make all financial records available for audit. Keep record of all monies.
  4. Prepare and present a Financial Statement at each meeting of the Board and post to BCGS website.
  5. Prepare the Year-End Treasury Report.
Section 5
Duties of Parliamentarian/Sergeant at Arms
  1. The Parliamentarian shall advise the BCGS Board on matters of Parliamentary procedure.
  2. The Parliamentarian is responsible to bring ‘Roberts Rules of Order’ and ‘A Guide for the Organization and Management of Genealogical Societies’ to all meetings of the BCGS. 
  3. The Sergeant At Arms is to be responsible for maintaining order at BCGS Programs and Meetings.
  Section 6 Duties of Directors
  1. The responsibility of the Directors is to jointly oversee the activities of the BCGS. 
  2. All Directors will be responsible for attending and participating in Board Meetings and participating in committees as assigned. 
  Section 7 Liabilities of Board Members
  1. Members of the BCGS Board can be held liable in accordance with the laws of the State of Michigan. Actions taken by an individual Board Member shall not create liability for the entire Board. BCGS should carry liability insurance.
Article IX
Section 1
Committees and Councils
  1. Chairpersons of Standing and Special committees shall be appointed by the Board.
  2. An Advisory Council may be created. This Council shall consist of persons appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Board.
  3. It is required that all committee members shall sign a contract that they will not profit from any work performed for BCGS.
  4. The Board may appoint special committees as necessary for the normal and special functioning of BCGS.
Section 2
Standing Committees
A.  Membership Committee
  1. Chair of this committee is the Vice President with the Treasurer as a standing member. 
  2. Promote membership, collect dues, maintain a membership list, and notify members of dues renewal or delinquent dues.
B.  Publicity Committee
  1. Foster a relationship with the news media in order to provide the BCGS with appropriate and timely publicity.
  2. Subcommittees for Publicity:
a.  Website
b.  Blog Page
c.  Printed BCGS Announcements
d.  Newspaper Announcements
  1. Announcements to neighboring Societies, radio stations and TV stations.
C.  Program Committee
  1. Arrange for speakers, papers, exhibits, visual and oral presentations, problem solving clinics, special interest sessions, and other endeavors in support of genealogy.
  2. Send “Thank You for Accepting” invitation to the speaker and confirm date and time of event.
  3. Responsible for planning the next year’s programs.  These programs should be scheduled far enough in advance for publicity to promote the event.
  4. Set up a “Resource File” of speakers and subjects for future reference and use.
D.  Hospitality Committee
  1. Ensure that the meeting place has proper seating.
  2. Responsible for assigning “Greeters” at the programs.
  3. Responsible for refreshments at programs as requested.
E.  Research Committee
  1. Research and respond to queries received by email and mail.
  2. If possible, set up committee with a representative from all township and municipalities in Berrien County.
  3. Search the Internet for reliable sources that can be linked to the BCGS website for research in Berrien County.
  4. Build a “Research List” for members to use when searching queries.
F.  Publication Committee
  1. Publish and distribute the PastFinder newsletter.
  2. Develop ideas for newsletter content.
  3. Recruit newsletter editor.  In the event an editor cannot be found, the newsletter may temporarily be suspended until a new editor can be recruited.
  4. Issue brochures that promote genealogy and the BCGS.
G.  Website Committee
  1. Update and add information to the BCGS website.
  2. Scan donated documents and photos.
  3. Index and file donated records
  4. Develop ideas for additional website content.
  5. Manage and implement new project ideas.
H.  Cemetery Committee
  1. Record tombstone inscriptions.
  2. Collate and check tombstone information.
  3. Publish and distribute records of Berrien County, Michigan tombstone inscriptions.
 I.  Pioneer Certificates Committee
  1. Verify Pioneer Certificate applications.
  2. Organize Event for presentation of Certificates.
  3. Assist applicants with questions concerning documentation.
Article X
Section 1
By – Law Amendments, Revisions, Supplements
Amendments, revisions, or supplements to these by-laws may be made by a majority of votes received from BCGS members by email response.  All members in good standing must be notified a minimum of ten days before such vote can take place.
Article XI
Section 1
The latest editions of ‘Roberts Rules of Order’ and ‘A Guide for the Organization and Management of Genealogical Societies’ shall be the authority governing meetings of the BCGS.
Article XII
Section 1
In the event that the BCGS is forced to discontinue activities because of lack of membership, leadership, or finances, the records and properties of the BCGS shall be entrusted to a genealogical or historical society or association or library within the boundaries of Berrien County, MI until the BCGS may be reorganized and again become actively engaged in genealogy.