On June 25, 2015, the Palatines to America national board of directors took a step that has the potential to create new and profitable relationships in the world of German genealogical research. This action will hopefully prove to be beneficial to both our society as well as to individual members. At this meeting the board approved becoming a partner in the recently formed International German Genealogical Partnership (IGGP), see update. Kent Robinson, past president of the Indiana chapter, was appointed the liaison to IGGP. Garry Finkell, vice-president of the New York chapter has participated in the initial two meetings of IGGP and Richard Hartle, publicity chair of the Ohio chapter, and Gina Moore, president of the Colorado chapter, have also previously expressed an interest in being involved to some degree. This extensive interest by various Pal-Am officers bodes well for our involvement.
The founding members of this partnership are Germanic Genealogy Society, The Pommern Regional Group of MN, and Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft genealogischer Verbaende (DAGV) and they hosted an initial online meeting on May 28, 2015 in which 14 individuals from 8 different U.S. states, Germany and Poland participated. The overall intent is to establish a closer network of societies that share the common goal of researching our Germanic heritage wherever it is found.
At the initial meeting those participating told a bit about their individual societies and resources. Dirk Weissleder, chairman of DAGV (a society in Germany very similar to the Federation of Genealogical Societies in the U.S.) which is composed of 83 genealogy societies, initiated a discussion of what we would like to see from their organization. Later there was a brainstorming session to list potential benefits or goals of IGGP with regard to individual societies. From this meeting as part of the IGGP development process, it was indicated that partners should discuss and decide on some short-term goals that can begin now, begin to exchange information and share with others over a mid-term range, and develop a common project as a long-term goal.
At the follow-up meeting on July 9, 2015, it was reported that the Sacramento German Genealogical Society (in addition to PalAm) had officially signed the IGGP partnership agreement. There are other societies that currently intend to join but have not had board meetings to formally agree. During this meeting, there was further discussion of goals of the partnership that would be beneficial to each society. Those initial goals were determined to be:
Share lists of speakers and topics
Share information about German resources that already exist
Exchange periodicals between groups in Germany and groups in America
Plan a national conference that would include a leadership exchange and training day (projected date of 2017 or 2018)
Additional future goals were determined to be:
Create a list of professional genealogists within North America and in Europe with their specialties
Arrange for local societies to help visitors from another society
Create finding aids for each region in Germany
Have a unified calendar of partner events
As a point of historical interest, the concept of a similar interaction between existing German genealogical societies in the U.S. was pursued by past PalAm national president Kenny Burck in 2010. As a result of his contacts with a number of groups, only one—Germanic Genealogy Society in Minnesota—expressed an interest in exploring possibilities, which at the time seemed like an insufficient response to meet the desired goal for the idea. We urge you to stay tuned for updates in the progress of this new partnership and how it will hopefully benefit not only PalAm and the other partnership societies, but ultimately also the individual members of each society. The next meetings of the IGGP partnership were set for August 13, 2015 and October 22, 2015. At future meetings it is expected that goals will be determined with respect to what we would like to see from our German society counterparts.
In addition to Palatines to America, members of the IGGP are:
More groups are expected to join in the future.