By Rotary Service & Engagement Staff
Rotary Fellowships are a fun way to make new friends, enhance your Rotary experience, and find service opportunities through the topics you’re interested in. Fellowships are international, independently organized groups who have a common interest, passion, or profession. We asked Bill Harvey, President of the Fellowship of Rotarian Genealogists, to share his experience as a member of the Fellowship.
Why are you a member of the Fellowship of Rotarian Genealogists?
Harvey: I am fascinated by the intersection of Rotary and genealogy. We have a wonderful organization of members and friends from around the world who are interested in the study of genealogy and family history. Rotary connects people through service. Genealogy connects people through research. In the end, both are about making connections.
How has this fellowship changed your Rotary experience or perspective?
Harvey: The Fellowship has made my perspective on Rotary far more global than it already was. Having regular meetings with members from five or six continents covering the world’s various time zones, makes one realize just what a wonderful global organization Rotary really is.
My most memorable experience of the fellowship was our breakout session at the Hamburg Convention where we brought in noted German genealogy expert Dirk Weissleder to speak with us about the connections that can be made through genealogy.
How has your fellowship remained active during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Harvey: Our fellowship has definitely become more active as a result of the pandemic. We are now in our sixth year, and we used to meet only at International Convention. Now we have quarterly meetings via Zoom, sometimes just for a fellowship discussion and often to have a presentation by a speaker on a subject pertaining to genealogy. Also, our newsletter is now issued quarterly and includes content about our fellowship and content provided by our members on subjects related to genealogy.
Why should other Rotary members or participants join your group?
Harvey: Every Rotary and Rotaract member has a family, consequently every member has family history. By studying our family history, we can learn more about ourselves and our connections to the global community. Everyone should be a member of our fellowship! We also welcome non-Rotarians interested in genealogy and family history, and we have a few non-Rotarian members.
In the coming year we plan to continue our quarterly Zoom meetings, and we are also excited to get together again in person at the International Convention in Houston. We plan to have a booth and are currently planning our convention activities. Make sure to stop by and see us!
Read more about the Fellowship of Rotarian Genealogists on their website, including recent newsletters, frequently asked questions about genealogy, and leadership contact information.
Are you involved with a Rotary Fellowship? Let us know how connecting with a Rotary Fellowship has enhanced your Rotary experience. Email your story to Rotary.Service@rotary.org or post in the comments below.