24th April 2010

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held at Clayton House,  59  Piccadilly, Manchester on the 24th April 2010

The President, Thomas Woodcock Esq LVO FSA, Garter King of Arms, took the chair to commence the meeting at 1 p.m.

Present: Council members Richard Bond, John Dalton, Alan Kenwright (Hon General Editor), Tom O’Brien, Simon Oliver, Dr John Perkins, Jackie Roberts (Hon Treasurer and Membership Secretary), Colin Rogers, Rev Thomas Steel, Phil Stringer, Ken Taylor, Douglas Wilson (Acting Minute Secretary) and other members Jill Drabble, Jennifer Holt, Leo Turner

1. Apologies: Tony Fowler, Paul Gaskell, John Gilbody, Neil Hudson, Lynne Klein, Marnie Mason

2. The Minutes of the AGM held 25 April 2009 were approved after the correction of two typographical errors in Minute 6 and one in Minute 13 b, the addition of duplicate before library copies in Minute 6 and the deletion of the last seven words of Minute 7

3. Matter arising: The additional Aughton material is not yet available. The Bolton information is available already on the website and on CD.

4. Membership report: Total membership increased during the year to 31 December 2009 from 448 to 463. Of 29 who had not renewed, some referring to financial constraints, 11 had joined only in 2008. This could be a regular feature, members joining only for short term benefits. In 2009 new members totalled 34, mainly from the Family History Fair and the Conference.
Four members had died, including Anne Leech, daughter of Dr Bosdin Leech. During 2010 we have received from her estate a legacy of £5000

5. Treasurer’s report: The accounts for the year to 31 December 2009 were presented. They had after internal audit been scrutinized by the Independent Examiner who had again suggested further fine tuning of the accounts as now incorporated and presented to the Charity Commissioners. In adding detail to the accounts the Treasurer pointed out that we had £2000 more at Bank by the year end; that Lancashire County Council have in 2010 been unable to make a further grant because of budget constraint; that the purchase and resale of the Radcliffe library books had brought a profit of £1000; that the printer of Volume 170 (Ormskirk) had remitted an account because of the mix up; that the value of the CAF Fund had revived during the year; and that particular thanks are due to Tom Dolan and Alan Powell for their work on CD production and sales. The Leech legacy received £5000 is held in the CAF Gold account pending use for possible specific purposes (say Manchester Collegiate 1667-1700). The Treasurer, though conscious of increased postage costs, does not propose any increase in subscriptions.
The accounts were accepted and the thanks of the meeting were expressed by the President for the hard work involved and the careful exposition.

6. The General Editor presented his report in writing. Members have received in 2009 two volumes 170 and 171 and two CDs. Of the volumes now ready for publication the transcriber of Newchurch in Rossendale 1606-1723, which incorporates much new BT material and is in effect a replacement for the Society’s Volume 45, requests that it be issued in book form. The merits were discussed and it was agreed that in this instance, without creating a precedent, the work should proceed to publication as a Volume, perhaps to be numbered 45A and bound in green, these matters to be at the General Editor’s discretion. Wigan 1711-1754 will be a large volume, agreed that this is acceptable since there is no logical way of dividing the material.
After debate on the geographical spread of publications and on the desire to complete publication for certain parishes it was agreed that Lowton, Melling and Salford are the preferred three volumes for 2010.
Newchurch in Rossendale, Wigan and Hindley (with Haigh and Abram) would be preferred candidates of 2011. Alan ended with a plea for him to be notified by transcribers of work nearing readiness for publication in any form.
Alan was thanked for his great efforts on our behalf. There followed discussion the Society moving to obtaining CDs of unpublished registers and BTs for transcription purposes, agreed that this is the way forward.

Richard Bond issued a plea for requests for copies of material at the Central Library to reach him swiftly as during refurbishment the master copy films may be locked away for some time. Alan called for a volunteer to coordinate orders for CDs for transcription purposes but there being no takers he will continue to process for the time being

7. Alan Kenwright reported on consultation/negotiations with Stephen Rigden of ‘Find My Past’ and Manchester Cathedral on further publication of the Cathedral Registers. A memorandum was circulated at the meeting. Stephen Rigden forecasts an accuracy rate of their transcriptions of “80% plus”. We hold the transcript prepared by Dr Bosdin Leech 1667-1710 and could be ready to publish.

‘Find My Past’ wish to take on board all the registers, including pre 1667 as already published by us. They would offer us a percentage as yet unspecified from their charge for public access to entries from our publications. The potential loss to us on CD sales is large. John Perkins proposed and Tom O’Brien seconded that we make no deal with ‘Find My Past’ at present but following any further discussions will reconsider at the next AGM. This proposal was accepted unanimously

8. Election of Officers: Marnie Mason resigns from the post of Minute Secretary. Neil Hudson offers to take on the role in addition to his other roles for the Society. Proposed by John Perkins, seconded by Jennifer Jolt and agreed unanimously that the existing officers with the addition of Neil Hudson as Minute Secretary be re-elected en bloc

9. Election of Council Members: The elevation of Neil leaves a vacancy on Council, as Minute Secretary is an automatic appointment to Council. After discussion, agreed not to fill for the time being. It was proposed by Jill Drabble, seconded by Leo Turner and agreed unanimously that the existing Council Members be re-elected en bloc

10. Nomination of Independent Examiner: The Treasurer says that Peter Higgins is both meticulous and helpful and also willing to act again. Agreed by all that he be again nominated and that we are grateful for his surveillance

11. Any other business:
(a) John Dalton raised his concern that data kept electronically can degrade and become unreadable, as several CDs (not ours) bought by him. There was general concern; however if the best quality disc/programme is utilised the risk should be small. Phil Stringer offered to draw up suggested guidelines for management in this area. Already we do back up all material produced electronically

(b) Phil Stringer forewarns us that in the event he retires from work this year there may be email/website matters for the Society to face. He believes our connection to the genuki listing/ website can remain and he will consult as needs arise with Council Officers

(c) There was discussion on subscription rates and the cost of postage particularly overseas. When the subscription are next revised then a possible additional rate for overseas members will be considered

(d) Richard Bond informed us that from June the Manchester Central Library facilities would operate for the next three years from two sites, archives at the Lancashire Record office and otherwise from the new City Library, Deansgate.

12. The President proposed and the meeting endorsed a vote of thanks to the Manchester & Lancashire FHS for the free use of their central room and facilities which are again available to us for our 2011 AGM but their lease expires December 2011 and will not be renewed

13. Date of next meeting: Saturday 9th April 2011 at 1 p m to be held in the Library of the M&L FHS, Clayton House, 59 Piccadilly, Manchester M1 2AQ.

Douglas Wilson Acting Minute Secretary