9th April 2011

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held at Clayton House, 59 Piccadilly, Manchester, on the 9th April 2011

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

Present: Council members John Dalton, Alan Kenwright (Hon General Editor), Tom O’Brien, Dr John Perkins, Jackie Roberts (Hon Treasurer and Membership Secretary), Colin Rogers, Rev Thomas Steel,
Phil Stringer, Ken Taylor, Neil Hudson (Minute Secretary) and other members Jill Drabble, Alan Powell.

The President opened the Meeting by offering Council’s sincere sympathy and condolences to
Dr Perkins, whose wife had died a few weeks earlier.

1. Apologies: Douglas Wilson, Tony Fowler, Leo Turner, Jennifer Holt, Richard Bond.

2. The Minutes of the AGM held 24 April 2010 were approved after the correction of Minute 11 d, where ‘Greater Manchester County Record Office’ should replace ‘Lancashire Record Office’.

3. Matter arising: There were no matters arising.

4. Honorary Treasurer and Membership Secretary’s report: Membership had decreased during the year ending 31 December 2010 by 30, from 463 to 433.There were 9 resignations and a further 22 who were removed from membership in February 2010 for non-payment of subscriptions.
By the end of 2010 we had 433 members, thirty fewer than at the end of 2009. The number was made up of 345 private members and 88 institutional members (7 overseas genealogical societies, 13 American libraries, 3 other overseas libraries, 53 British libraries, 12 family history societies.) From the start of 2011, a further 32 members had yet to renew their subscriptions, but two new individuals had been welcomed into membership.

The accounts for the year to 31 December 2010 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. At the end of 2010 our account with Santander had £14,678.41 in it. Ann Leech’s legacy was put into the CAF Gold Account, standing at £11,163.48 at the end of 2010. Some changes to the CAF Equity Growth Fund have been announced by the Charities Aid Foundation; the funds will in future be managed in a ‘multi-manager approach’ so that decisions about investment are not made by one single manager.
It is hoped that this will ‘improve potential performance’. The bond was purchased in 2001 for £25,000 and income is re-invested each year. The value has fluctuated greatly over the last ten years, but at the end of December 2010 it was worth only slightly less than its real cost to us: i.e. valued a t £33,280.80 against a cost to us of £33,825.49 (initial cost + 10 years’ interest). After a short discussion, it was agreed not to seek an improved interest rate on our investments. Income from subscriptions declines each year, and is currently (£11,646) only sufficient to fund the production of two volumes. The rest of our expenditure is funded by sales, especially of CDs which continue to be a very important part of our income. Lancashire County Council’s grant has been discontinued.

Expenditure of £17,335.97 was incurred during 2010, with two volumes and two new CDs accounting for the main expenditure. £480 was spent purchasing LPRS volumes from the William Salt Library in Stafford and £414 purchasing LPRS volumes from members Geoffrey Lightbown and Emmeline Garnett.

Profit on the year £7,992.85 included £5000 from Miss Leech’s legacy.

We assumed that at the 2011 AGM we would have to consider raising the subscriptions to £30 (private) and £40 (corporate) in 2012 and for this reason offered a deal for the year 2011 of 3 year’s subscriptions for £75. Nine private members accepted this offer. Given our current level of funds the Hon Treasurer remained ambivalent about raising subscriptions. The subscription went up from £15 to £18 in 1997; it remained at £18 until 2007, when it increased to £25. The main argument for raising the subscriptions has so far been the increased cost of postage, with Neil Hudson stating that we cannot continue to go on absorbing the swingeing increases of recent years. There was discussion around the costs of production and the merits of increasing subscriptions based on the Discussion Document.

The meeting confirmed that there was no need to increase subscriptions this year, but that the matter be reviewed at the 2012 AGM (Action: Neil Hudson).
The accounts were accepted and the thanks of the meeting were expressed by the President for the Hon. Treasurer’s hard work and the careful exposition.

5. The General Editor presented his report in writing (Appended).
Members have received in 2009 two volumes 172 and 45A and one CD. The agreed publication programme for 2010 had been modified due to technical difficulties. Of the volumes now ready for publication, it was noted that Lowton was at the printers, and it was agreed that Salford and Wigan would be the other preferred volumes for publication during 2011, with Leigh 1754-90 being issued as a CD – all of which were to be subject to the Editor’s discretion. During the ensuing discussion, Billinge and Upholland were unlikely to provide a full volume even if combined; John Perkins volunteered to check the Manchester Cathedral transcripts against the BTs; a volume of Wigan would be produced annually for the next three years; and Tom Steele noted that Aughton had been omitted from the Hon. General Editors list.

6. Plagiarism: Neil Hudson reported that English Parish Registers (EPR) were offering copies of our volumes by email, at a reduced price (£2.00) compared to our CDs. Of the 35 registers offered during March, he believed that all were likely to be out of copyright except three, Kirkham (99), Tottington (116) and Urswick (132), which were definitely in copyright. It was agreed that we would obtain copies of these three registers from EPR (Action: Jackie Roberts) and, having confirmed LPRS as the source, would write to EPR pointing out the breach of copyright and seek out their intentions (Action Neil Hudson). Also, Neil Hudson agreed to contact both Genfair and Parish Chest regarding the activities of EPR and establish how they would proceed in future when handling EPR sales.

7. Sales: Neil Hudson reported that sales of microfiche had become miniscule in relation to other publications and he suggested that these be phased out.
This was agreed by the meeting. Neil Hudson suggested to the meeting that the Society had to be vigilant in protecting its income streams, and expressed concern about the plagiarism of our volumes which threatened sales of our out of copyright volumes. After much discussion, it was agreed to re-open discussions with ‘Find my Past’ (FmP), with a view to offering our volume transcriptions to them for use on a pay per parish register item for a fee. FmP, along with other commercial organizations are currently digitalising original PRs held by Record Offices in many (if not most) counties. (Action: Alan Kenright & Neil Hudson) Jackie Roberts agreed to talk to ‘The Genealogist’. It was also suggested that we explore the possibility of providing a link to our digitalised registers to facilitate pay per download transactions.

8. Lancashire Record Office Nominee: Neil Hudson reported that Simon Jelf, Lancashire Record Office nominee had left the Record Office some time ago. Although he had invited Mrs Crosby, or her nominee to join Council, Neil had been unable to contact Jaqui Crosby, Archivist, by telephone or email. He suggested that Simon Jelf be removed from membership of Council, but that the position be held over pending a nomination being made by Bow Lane.
This was agreed.

9. Election of Officers: It was proposed John Perkins, seconded by Colin Rogers, that the present Officers be re-elected en bloc.
Agreed unanimously.

10. Election of Council Members: It was proposed by Neil Hudson, seconded by Alan Kenwright, and agreed unanimously that the existing Council Members be re-elected en bloc.

11. Nomination of Independent Examiner: The Hon. Treasurer reported that Peter Higgins, the Independent Examiner was in the process of moving to Somerset, and would no longer be able to act in this capacity after scrutinising the 2010 year end accounts. It was agreed by the meeting that Jackie Roberts would seek a replacement (Action: Jackie Roberts).
The meeting expressed their sincere thanks for Peter Higgins’s meticulous and helpful contributions which had made his surveillance of our accounts so valuable.

12. Any Other Business:

  • Council joined Neil Hudson in heartily congratulating Douglas Wilson on him being made a Freeman of the Borough of Calderdale for his involvement with numerous voluntary organisations, especially in the Todmorden area.
  • Neil Hudson reported that Malcolm Parr had taken on the responsibility for volume sales.
  • Jill Drabble asked that future Newsletter should be clearer when telling members how to order publications.
    (Action: Neil Hudson)
  • Phil Stringer circulated copies of his ‘Guidelines for managing the preservation of electronic data’ which were well received.13. The meeting gave a qualified vote of thanks to the Committee of M&LFHS for the use of the premises.14. Date and time of the next meeting was agreed as Saturday 21 April at 1pm, venue to be confirmed. Jackie Roberts agreed to enquire about room availability in the Elliot library.

    Neil Hudson

    Minute Secretary