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Society Electronic News Website

by Larry M. Nichols

Presented to the council of the Clan Graham Society during their meeting at the 2007 AGM. Concerning the establishment of a Clan Graham Society News Letter web site.

Presented by Larry M. Nichols

The timely distribution of internal news, information and other events is vitally important to any organization, especially so for an international group that gathers in convention only once a year. The most common method of keeping members of such a group informed during these times is most often fulfilled by a printed newsletter of some type. In the Clan Graham Society experience, such a newsletter has historically been a printed publication published four times a year. Delivery has been through the U.S. Postal Service with the cost of postage appended to the production costs of the newsletter. The cost of producing and delivering a newsletter to an international membership has and is expected to continue to rise.

While this system of delivering news and other information to it’s membership has served the Clan Graham Society well in the past, we believe that time and technology has overcome this delivery method and a proactive approach is necessary to put the Society ahead of the information distribution curve for the foreseeable future. Therefore, as we travel deeper into the information age, it is more and more apparent that printed material and four times a year delivery of news and information is more and more passé. In fact, studies have shown that younger people (age 20-30) are too impatient (or saddled with attention-span deficit) to accept only this form of news and information delivery. They simply tune out. News and information to them must be quick, relevant and eye catching. (Quite frankly, we are competing with video games.)

This does not mean we advocate the demise of the printed Clan Graham News. To many of us, the feel of a printed page in our hands is very reassuring while an image on a computer is suspect. We believe we need to honor that perspective and avow that as long as one member of the Society desires a printed publication; every effort should be made to provide it. However, we also acknowledge that printed material as a mode of mass communication has a limited future.

We do not mean this as a dire prediction of the immediate demise of the printed page as we know it. We see this time as an opportunity to get onto or ahead of the technological wave and explore other options and possibilities for Society news and information distribution through the use of the Internet and an electronic newsletter. This exploration would not only include more cost effective methods of information delivery, but more timely delivery of information as well. For instance, the concept of a deadline is eliminated by the Web were information can be posted as it happens. Members need only have a regular habit of checking with a Web page to keep up to date. They would no longer have to wait for the arrival of the Clan Graham News each quarter.

Committee member Larry M. Nichols answers some questions about the proposed electronic newsletter.

Q: We are right in calling this an electronic newsletter?
A: Yes, you are. But my guess is that it won’t look like a newsletter like the Clan Graham News.
The idea would be to make Society news available as soon as it happens, at least within a day or two, rather than waiting three months for the printed Clan Graham News. If readers want an idea of what I am talking about. I would ask them to log on to the website of their hometown newspaper.

Q: Does this mean the printed Clan Graham News will cease to exist?
A: No, not by any means. I can’t envision anytime in the foreseeable future not having a printed Clan Graham News available to members who want it. What we are talking about exploring is a website dedicated to Society news that is available for viewing within a day or two of the event. We might have streaming video downloads, advertisements for the Mugdock Fund or the Quartermaster. I believe we could build in a feature to alert members when a new item is posted or when their dues are due or overdue. Really, what we put on a website is only limited by our imagination.

Q: So, how will this website create better communication in the Society?
A: I don’t like to say better. I like to say different. In many ways we are an organization in transition. We have older members such as myself who grew up expecting our news to be a bit delayed and to arrive in a printed format. On the other hand, we have, and are trying to recruit, younger members who have grown up in an era where immediate news is a given. We need, as much as practical, to satisfy both groups.

Q: Won’t a news website be expensive?
A: It will be an added expense, no doubt. As I understand it, the cost of a website will depend on how much room on the web we require. That could be a little to begin with and more later. We don’t know the cost right now because we don’t know what we want. That is certainly one of the areas the committee needs to explore.

Q: Do you have someone in mind to manage the site, or will it be Bob Howard?
A: I can almost say with certainly that it won’t be Bob. He is very busy now maintaining the Society website. There is no question that in many areas, we are at sea and looking for someone who has answers for our questions of “how do we do this?” We have some leads, but we haven’t settled on THE person yet. We are still looking.

Q: If someone wants to help, or has ideas about this new site, what should they do?
A: Please have them contact Norris, Bob or myself. We are open to all ideas, especially from someone who is willing to help us with our investigation. We would especially be happy if someone came forward to manage the site.

A Tribute to Shirley Graham Fraser

by Sheila & Bill Richardson

After many years of dedicated service to Clan Graham Society, Shirley Graham Fraser has made the decision to retire from her position as Canadian Genealogist for Clan Graham Society.

Shirley is the daughter of a Hudson's Bay Company manager in Canada's North and proud of her Graham roots; perhaps it is her northern upbringing that gave her the stamina to help in the Graham tent in all kinds of weather. She is a well known teacher and genealogist in the Burlington, Ontario area.

Shirley is also an active member of the Scottish Studies Foundation at the University of Guelph, Ontario and has been very involved in helping the foundation establish an extensive collection of Scottish resource material in the MacLaughlan Library at the university. She is a Member-at-Large for Clan Graham Society and has contributed many articles to the Clan Graham Society Newsletter, such as detailed reports of the procedings of the AGMs at home and abroad, and genealogical news and advise.

She is the alternate delegate for Clan Graham Society in Canada to Clans and Scottish Societies of Canada.

Shirley is a Life member of Clan Graham Society, well known by all who have met her. It is our hope that she will continue to participate in Clan Graham events as her time permits.

With Shirley's retirement as Canadian Genealogist, there is an opportunity for someone with a keen interest in genealogy to take a more active role in Clan Graham Society in Canada. If you are interested in following in Shirley's footsteps and becoming the next Canadian Genealogist or would like to know more about that position, contact --- Bill Richardson at

Many thanks, Shirley !


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