Village Agreement
and Statement of Purpose

From materials written by the original founders of AHSGR, we know that the group of people who got together in the late 1960s to form what was to later become AHSGR had as the primary goal to provide a mechanism to share their research and provide a depository for their research materials and hard work after they were gone.  This goal remains the primary purpose of AHSGR yet today.

 As the Society grew from a small group, it became important to divide up the work and provide an organizational structure.  The Village Coordinator network was developed so the more experienced researchers could work together with the newer researchers for the common good.  All of those involved were volunteers who agreed to donate their time and talent with the thought that the group’s work would later be shared with AHSGR to be protected and provided to future generations.  This remains the primary goal of the Village Coordinator network.                     

  • Role and Responsibilities of an AHSGR Village Coordinator (VC) to Researchers and to AHSGR
    • Serve as focal point for research, information and knowledge about the village.
    • Coordinate research for the village among interested persons.
    • Respond to inquiries, for AHSGR members and non-members, from researchers interested in the village.
      • Share available requested information for a family group or families from the village (fees for costs the VC incurs may be charged)
    • Develop a ‘succession’ plan for the work that has been done and the data that has been accumulated for the village – in other words, who will receive your data when you retire the position or die? (Your family should be aware of your plan and if no follow on VC is named, the information should be forwarded to AHSGR (at AHSGR expense) to help the next person who volunteers to take your position).
    • Serve as a representative for AHSGR when contacted by a non-member. Answer their questions to the extent you can but also inform them about the Society and encourage them to consider becoming a member. For example, give them the address of the Society web site and where to find membership information from the Home page, and also the address for the on-line store.
      • If you feel it is appropriate, forward the name and address of a perspective new member to the Headquarters Office Manager who can send the person a prospective member packet.  The Office Manager will check the Membership database for you to see if the contact is currently a member.  It is recommended you ask if the person is interested in AHSGR Membership before forwarding their name.
    • Share information with AHSGR about information you have in your files and database. Because VC often expend a considerable amount of their own funds to obtain village related data, merely giving a copy to AHSGR may not be accepted as a solution.  Your files should eventually end up in the AHSGR files for safe keeping or be transferred to a replacement coordinator for you once you no longer have use for them.  One method to let AHSGR and persons who are interested in your village know what is in your files is to send an annotated list or bibliography, including your contact information, of information you have to AHSGR for placement in your Village File. This information is copied to the Village File Inventory that can be searched from the AHSGR web site.
    • Remember you are often the first contact for the Society a non-member has. Do you best to make a good first impression..
    • Share your ideas that have worked for you with the VC community. The VC Mail List is a useful tool to do this and learn new methods and share successes.
    • Prepare and submit a yearly report to the VC Reports Editor, Mike Mesinger at mrm1970@aol.comdescribing what occurred for the village or new information that has been learned or obtained. A ‘call’ for submittal of the yearly report will be made by the VC Report Editor, typically in October, with a request that reports are to be submitted prior to the end of November.
    • Prepare and submit your family history information, preferably in a GEDCOM file but paper records are OK.
    • Remember to submit your yearly AHSGR dues if you are not a Life Member. Your membership must remain active in order to be a village coordinator for the Society.
    • Try to attend the annual convention as often as possible as many of the new members are anxious to meet you.  You might be surprised to find the high degree of esteem in which you are held.
    • Developing and maintaining a village website is encouraged but not required. You may enlist others to develop and maintain the site if time limitations or assistance for those skills are a limitation.
    • Assist in identifying and establishing a chair (or co-chair) for the Village Coordinators.
  • Role and Responsibilities of the AHSGR Society

The Headquarters and Board of Directors are to provide resources for Village Coordinator support.  Staffing levels and budget constraints limit the amount of research and records maintenance that Headquarters can actually perform.  In these areas, the contribution of the Village Coordinator is invaluable.

The Board, with assistance from Headquarters staff, has the responsibility to maintain several support activities for the Village Coordinators. Names of the Board members and how to contact them may be found HERE.  

o       Village Coordinator Program oversight and support is assigned to the Genealogy Committee.

·        The committee is charged with the responsibility of maintaining an active program. 

·        The Village Coordinator chair or chairs report administratively to the Genealogy Committee and if not a member of the Board of Directors, are considered to be non-board members of that committee.

o       Appoint a Village Coordinator Liaison from the Board membership to serve as the primary contact between the Board and the VC community. The name of the Liaison person and contact information may be found HERE.

o       Establish policies and procedures for the Village Coordinator program and to keep them current as conditions change.

o       The Archives Committee’s sole responsibility is the identification and acquisition of records within the former Russian Republic.  They are to share record availability information with the Village Coordinators during the annual VC Convention meeting and by using the VC mail list during the period between conventions.

o       Maintain electronic databases to support Village Coordinator activities.  Including:

·        The AHSGR Genealogy database of known family information

·        An annual report will be provided, if requested, for information of persons born, married or died in a particular village

·        SOAR, initially a searchable database for the extensive obituary files and is being expanded into other areas

·        Membership database that includes search capabilities for surnames and village data that can be provided to the Village Coordinators. An annual report will be provided, if requested, identifying members and their surname interests for a village.  (NOTE: this report may not be possible with the present structure of the membership database. TBD if it can be done and may not be possible.))

·        A website

·        Village Coordinator mail list

    • Send the name and address to the appropriate VC of any non-member who makes an inquiry about a village.
    • Send a copy of new member data that includes a reference to a village to the appropriate VC.
      • The Newsletter may be used to notify the VC about a new member, but if the member sends family history data to AHSGR a copy will be sent to the VC.
    • Maintain the Village Files in the Library and ensure the contents are described when a search is performed on the AHSGR web site 
    • Inform all VC about additions made to the Village Files
    • Encourage members to donate family research data, stories and genealogies to be included in the already extensive surname collection in the library. 
    • Maintain a lending program through Interlibrary Loan to make materials available to Village Coordinators and membership at large.
    • Respond to requests made by VC for copies of material using the guidelines established by the Genealogy Committee and Board of Directors.  Village Coordinators are provided materials at reduced rates.
    • Retain village files obtained from retired VC when a replacement VC is not immediately available. Make this information available, at AHSGR expense, to the replacement VC.
    • Pay for copy costs and shipping/postage of the material from a retired or deceased VC data when there is no replacement VC immediately available.
    • Offer to pay shipping costs of the data from a retired or deceased VC when a replacement VC has been identified but there is a question about how the material will be shipped to the replacement VC.
    • Maintain an active “Requests from Abroad” program to correspond with those contacting AHSGR from countries outside of North America.  All requests and related correspondence are kept on permanent file.
    • Publish CLUES on a periodic basis to share surnames and village information.  New member’s surnames and village information will be published in the Newsletter between issues of CLUES.
    • Publish materials to support the overall initiatives of the Genealogy Committee and Village Coordinators, including:

·        Census lists

·        Indexes

·        Books of historical and genealogical interest

·        Surname charts (Most of the charts in the Library are from the Volga region but the Society welcomes Surname charts from any and all regions for our heritage.)

o       Use the Convention to support the activities of the Village Coordinators in a number of areas:

·        The Genealogy Symposium

·        The annual Village Coordinators Meeting

·        Village Night or individual area meetings

·        Village or village group displays prepared by the VC

·        Library and research materials

·        Access to the AHSGR Genealogy Database of known family information

The concept of the VC program has grown and has proven to be a significant benefit to the Society. In order to retain and foster this splendid momentum, new and existing VC are asked to sign this as a symbol of their commitment to continue to help the program to the extent they can.

To become a new or continue in the role of an AHSGR Village Coordinator, this form must be printed, signed and mailed to AHSGR, 631 D Street, Lincoln NE 68502. This form supersedes and replaces the prior agreement form village coordinators signed. Failure to sign and return the Statement of Purpose to AHSGR will indicate you do not care to be a Village Coordinator for AHSGR.

Download Agreement HERE