Reflections From the Registrar General

Written by: Mary Frisch, Registrar General
March 26, 2019

It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve as Registrar General in the Dillon Administration.  I have enjoyed working with the chapter registrars as they endeavored to move forward in service to DAR by expanding their chapter membership numbers. Many thanks to all of you for your support and friendship. It is very much appreciated.

It was very exciting in April of 2018 to welcome the new Director of Genealogy, Sara Sukol. Sara was not new to DAR, having been a staff member for years previously. Many of you knew Sara from the genealogy classes she taught at headquarters and in the states. The department is thriving under her kind and capable leadership.

Some important things have been accomplished by this office with the help and guidance of the Executive Committee, the staff, the National Chairs and the general membership. Among them:

  • Chapter Registrar Survey-the first of its kind was illuminating and let the department and this officer know where we were and where we needed to be. I hope you feel we made some headway in answering your questions and addressing your concerns
  • America250! Membership Task Force-this crazy idea proved to be a huge success and met the needs of chapter registrars who were struggling with AIR letters and problem applications. The National Vice Chair, Christina Bannon, and the 300+ talented and tenacious volunteers have helped verify over 850 problem applications. Sometimes, you need “boots on the ground” to solve an application issue. If you live in Tennessee and have an application centered in New York, you need someone on site in New York to help find those proof documents. I can never thank these volunteers enough for the service they have done for DAR. And, I am grateful to the chapter registrars who took a leap of faith in joining us in this radical experiment. Teamwork made it possible! I am inspired by all of you. As I tell my husband after every DAR meeting, “There is nothing we can’t do.”     
  • America250! Application Help Desk-this was a natural accompaniment to the Task Force. The App Help Desk National Vice Chair, Denise Burja, and her team are on hand to answer application question regarding formatting, abbreviations and all questions about filling out a successful PDF application form.
  •  State Application Team (SAT)-This initiative mirrors the national Task Force at the local level. Many thanks to Diane Schrift, Michigan State Regent and Nancy Wright, Ohio State Regent for conducting the Pilot Program. The SAT initiative was implemented in July and is proving to be successful in the states that have tried it. This program could not have worked without the excellent planning and implementation by National Chair Membership, Susan Thomas.
  • Kiosk-the Dillon administration decided to conduct an experiment to see if we could turn tourists into members! A Kiosk was placed in the foyer of Memorial Continental Hall. The Kiosk is linked to our GRS site. Visitors can type in a name to see if they are eligible to join the DAR. The Kiosk includes a membership interest form that links the prospective member to the Prospective Member Database. Time will tell! We are moving forward with faith and optimism!
  • Style Sheet-this simple solution to a big problem was the bright idea of Janet McFarland, Honorary State Regent, DC.  The idea was to create a document for pages two and three of the PDF membership application form that would be commonly used by the genealogy staff and the chapter registrars, thereby eliminating some of the AIR letters associated with incorrect abbreviations. Many thanks to Gail Terry, Honorary State Regent of Massachusetts for creating this helpful document.
  • Genealogy Guidelines-this guide to all things involving the successful completion of an application has been revised and updated and will be available prior to Continental Congress 2019. The staff worked very hard to get this done.
  • Genealogical Education Courses-the revision and update of these courses is complete. These fee-based courses are exceptional and are highly recommended.
  • Application PDF Form-this newly revised form was introduced late January 2019.  It replaces the former PDF application form dated October 2016.  There is a three month grace period for the October 2016 form so chapter registrars can finish up and submit applications that are in-progress. Beginning April 30th, 2019, all applications must be on the new form. Thank you for your compliance. While the changes are small, they are important. So is the deadline! Applications received after the April 30 date that are not on the new form will be returned.
  • News You Can Use-this is a Continental Congress event that debuted in 2018. It is a mini-forum held in the O’Byrne Gallery on Tuesday afternoon from 1:00-3:00 pm. Three guest speakers present programs on topics that pertain to genealogy research. It is open to all and I hope to see you there this year. Get there early for assured seating. Check the online Congress schedule for more information.
  • Office of the Registrar General-new carpet and drapes were installed in my office compliments of the very gracious and generous Kansas Society, Kathryn Walker West, State Regent. A much-needed floor lamp was the generous donation of the Kansas Society State Chairs Club, Sherrie Smith, President.   
  • Genealogy Department-new chairs for the genealogists were purchased. Not a minute too soon since many of the chairs were being held together with duct tape.

I want to thank the National Chairs, National Vice Chairs, State and Chapter Registrars and volunteers for their support and leadership in these endeavors. Thank you for all you do and have done Moving Forward in Service to DAR. And, very special thanks and appreciation to President General, Ann Turner Dillon, for including me on this amazing journey. 

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