Membership Recorder's Annual Report for 2008:
The function of the Membership Recorder is to record membership information for the Monthly Meeting and to serve as a conduit for that information to the Yearly Meeting. Although the titles are similar, the Recorder has a different function from that of the Recording Clerk, who keeps minutes of our business meetings.
The information we keep track of is straightforward: names, birthdates and places, spouse's and children's names, birthdates and birthplaces; marriage information; when the individual joined our meeting and via what path (transfer, application, birth). We also record when and how an individual leaves membership: death, resignation, or release by the Meeting. The main vehicle for keeping this information is the Membership Records book, which uses a standard format for all PYM meetings. The records are kept on acid-free paper for archival purposes, and periodically forwarded to the Maryland Hall of Records in Annapolis . All other PYM meetings archive their records at Swarthmore, PA, where they are kept for use by historians and genealogists.
The Membership Records Book was given to me in early 2008, with the request to bring it up to date and in synch with PYM's records. This is a painstaking task. Although records are not automated and integrated with one another, an improvement was made over the summer when a PYM staff member created a computer template, which makes it possible to create individual forms on the computer. The product is cleaner, easier-to-read documents, and enables us to store a copy of our records on computer so there is backup to the main book. With the help of Marsie Hawkinson, we are reviewing each and every file. Our goal is to complete this task by summer.
We began 2008 with 133 members, including 16 minors. Over the course of the year, we added 8 new members (including one reinstatement) and lost one through resignation, for a net gain of 7 members. New total: 140 members. This is an unusually large gain, a very encouraging sign.
To put our meeting in context, at year-end 2007 (the most recent year we have available) the Southern Quarter, by far the smallest of PYM's 13 quarters, had 244 members. Third Haven accounted for over half the Quarter's members, with Camden and Chester River each adding 18% (44 and 45 members, respectively) and Wicomico 9% (23 members).
While the overall decline in membership in recent years and the high proportion of older members remain a concern, we are experiencing welcome signs of healthy growth.
With thanks to all members for your help, Candace Shattuck, Membership Records Recorder