Annual General Meeting

This year we met again for our AGM at Bliss Charity School on 22 April 2012. Only 9 members were able to attend. Six members sent their apologies including our Treasurer/Reunion Secretary, John Bliss and our Chairman, Michael Bliss presented the treasurer’s report and later in the meeting, the proposals for our 2012 reunion.

John had produced an excellent set of accounts, which revealed a slight excess of expenditure over income. This was planned to reduce the large balance on hand which had built up over the years and it was hoped that in the future additional benefits to members would be available from funds.

The 2011 Reunion had been very much enjoyed by those who attended and a huge thank you was expressed to John and Sue for arranging the weekend.

Tom Bliss, our Record’s Secretary reported that the 1911 census entries were complete and he was continuing to add other entries as details became available on the internet. New information does become available quite often and Tom had made a discovery regarding his own GGGGrand parents recently. Hazel Crane had produced a detailed tree of the descendents of John Bliss and Elizabeth Matthew who married in 1696 at Reigate . Tom hoped to commission Hazel to do further research work for the Society. Thanks were expressed to Tom for all of his research efforts and the last two Bliss Magazines.

In the Chairman’s Report, Michael focussed on ideas for retaining and attracting new members.

Debbie Bliss had produced a proposal last year for greater participation by members and a flyer had been sent out with the June Magazine. Although no response had been received, Michael felt that members “would have got the message” and he wished to follow this with the inclusion of a questionnaire to gain feedback from existing members on various aspects of the Society’s services.

Note: A copy of this questionnaire is enclosed together with an envelope to return to me when completed. If you have e-mail, I can send you a form to complete and return, so saving postage.

Our webmaster, Andy Bliss had commented on the fact that the website was old fashioned and lacked appeal to younger net surfers. We need to find someone with the appropriate skills to have a go at this.

Note: Do you know someone who might be able to help us out here? We would even consider a fee for this work.

Debbie highlighted the growing importance of Social Media for attracting and communicating with younger potential members. We do not know of any members who can advise on this.

Note: If you know anyone who might be able to help us please let me know a.s.a.p.

John Bliss had proposed that existing members could offer their families a 50% discounted first year, if they thought that this would lead to the membership being renewed subsequently.

Note: If you think this could be a way of increasing membership in your family, please contact our Treasurer.

Tom Bliss suggested that we send letters to Blisses on mailing lists, but Michael mentioned that his parents had been put of responding to such a letter as it mentioned “Charity.” It was agreed to try this approach quoting the “ Bliss School ”

It was agreed that this year’s reunion would be at Blists Hill, Shropshire . This is detailed elsewhere in this Magazine.

Finally, the officers and committee were re-appointed, except for Tony Bliss, who did not wish to stand for re-election this year.

Next year’s AGM will be held at the Bliss Charity School, Nether Heyford on Sunday 21 April at 2.30 pm.

Family Tree Project

Currently the Society has a database of over 30,000 Bliss events - mainly of events in England - going back some 500 years.  It includes births, baptisms, marriages, deaths, burials, probate details, census entries, armed service details and many other happenings.  We know that within this list, there are many relationships to be explored - sibling to sibling, parents/ children, etc..

We would like to start compiling a new series of Bliss Family Trees, which will show the known family relationships between Blisses around the world.  There will probably be three main collections of trees, for the UK, USA and Australia.  But clearly, many new connections will become apparent between them as the collections grow.

If any Society members are interested in contributing their own family tree information to this project, please contact the Chairman, Vice-Chairman or Records Secretary.

Before we can properly embark on this project we need to agree on a standard genealogical software package to store and present the information.  Legacy appears to be a suitable package but there are others in the marketplace.

If anyone has comments or suggestions on this point, please also contact us.