Officers for 2023

President: Diane Holden

Vice President: Gray Stabley

Secretary: Lois Knight

Treasurer: Margaret Perkins

Publicity: Linda McLoon

MGS Representative: Diane Holden

Standing Committees for 2023

Membership, Margaret Perkins

Webmaster, Stephen Pelsue

Friendship, Nancy Mason and Lois Knight 

Program Committee; Star Pelsue, Stephen Pelsue, Margaret Perkins 

The purpose of this Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society is to collect, exchange, preserve and publish genealogical records, related documents and information, and to promote and to encourage interest and scholarship in genealogy and family history in the Greater Portland area.

Membership is open to anyone interested in genealogical research. Our yearly dues are $10.00. If you would like to join, please contact us at gpcmgs@gmail.com with the following information; Name, Address, Phone and Email address.

To subscribe to the Google Group of the Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society (membership required), send an email to gpcmgs+subscribe@googlegroups.com

To Join the GPCMGS Facebook (open to anyone), log into Facebook and search for Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society and click “Join”

Bylaws of The Greater Portland Chapter

of The Maine Genealogical Society

Last updated on 12/6/2014



The name shall be The Greater Portland Chapter (Chapter) of the Maine Genealogical Society (MGS).



The purposes of this Chapter are to collect, exchange, preserve and publish genealogical records, related documents and information, and to promote and to encourage interest and scholarship in genealogy and family history.



Section 1. Any interested person may become a member by submitting a written application for membership and paying dues as prescribed by the Chapter.

Section 2. Annual dues and special fees shall be determined by the Executive Committee and approved by the membership at a regular meeting and will not take effect until the following January.

Section 2. Dues entitle members to all rights and privileges for the period of one calendar year beginning January 1st and ending December 31st. Dues must be paid by February 7th. Members, whose dues have not been paid by February 7th, shall be delinquent and shall be removed from the membership list March 7th.

Section 3. A member in good standing shall have the right to vote on Chapter business, to vote for officers, and to serve as an officer.

Section 4. The Chapter and membership year is from January 1 through December 31.



Section 1. The elected officers shall be a President, a Vice-president, a Secretary, a Treasurer and a Program Chairman. The duties shall be those prescribed in these bylaws and the parliamentary authority of the Chapter.

Section 2. At a meeting in March, a Nominating Committee of three members shall be elected. It shall be the duty of the committee to nominate candidates for the officers. Additional nominations from the floor shall be permitted. The officers shall be elected at the December meeting of each year, and will take office as of January 1. The nominating committee shall nominate a member to fill any vacancies during the year.

Section 3. Vacancies, other than the President, shall be filled by election at the next regular meeting.

Section 4. The President shall (1) preside at all meetings of the Chapter, Executive Committee, and the Board of Directors (2) appoint new special committees as needed, with the approval of the Chapter (3) and may appoint a Parliamentarian, as needed.

Section 5. The Vice-president shall (1) perform the duties of the President in the absence of the President or in the event of a vacancy occurring in the office of the President, shall automatically become President and (2) perform other duties designated by the President or the Chapter.

Section 6. The Secretary shall (1) record the minutes of all regular, Executive Committee, and Board of Director meetings, and provide a copy to the president within ten days (2) conduct general correspondence (3) be responsible for sending news items to MGS (P. O. Box 221, Farmington, Maine 04938) for its newsletter before the quarterly due dates, and (4) perform other duties designated by the President or the Chapter.

Section 7. The Treasurer shall: (1) be custodian of all funds of the Chapter (2) be responsible for collecting dues/fees (3) keep an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements (4) disburse funds as ordered by the Chapter (5) provide a monthly report at each meeting (6) keep an accurate list of paid members (7) be responsible for the Welcome Table at each meeting including the name tags and sign in book. Pass around the donation envelope and sign-in book and (8) perform other duties designated by the President or the Chapter.

Section 8. The Program Chair shall (1) arrange for a program at each meeting (2) send notice of upcoming monthly meeting to local newspapers (3) send Meeting Notice via email to Chapter members (4) notify treasurer of speaker’s fee so a check will be ready to give to the speaker at the meeting and (5) introduce the speaker at each meeting.



Section 1. Regular meetings shall be held on the first Saturday of each month unless otherwise ordered by the members or Executive Committee.

Section 2. The regular meeting in January shall be the annual meeting. Business at the annual meeting shall include annual reports in writing of officers and committee chairmen for the year ending the previous December.

Section 3. Special meetings may be called by the President or by four members of the Chapter to include at least two officers. All members shall receive a written/telephone notice not less than five days prior to the meeting.

Section 4. The quorum shall consist of ten members.


Executive Committee

Section 1. There shall be an executive committee composed of the officers. The Executive Committee shall meet at the call of the President and shall have general supervision of Chapter affairs between regular meetings of the Chapter.

Section 2. The quorum shall consist of three members.


Board of Directors

Section 1. There shall be a Board of Directors composed of the officers, the chairman and members of all standing committees, and the Webmaster. This board shall meet at the call of the President to discuss Chapter concerns and make recommendations. None of their decisions or recommendations shall be binding on the Chapter until brought to a vote of the membership.

Section 2. The quorum shall consist of four members.



Section 1. Standing committees, appointed to serve one year may be (1) Membership, (2) Refreshments.

Section 2. The standing committees shall consist of a chairman and at least one member.

Section 3. Duties of Committees shall be outlined in the Standing Rules.

Section 4. The Chapter may create other committees when deemed necessary to carry on the work of the Chapter.

Section 5. The President shall be an ex-officio member of all committees except the nominating committee.


Delegate Representative

The Chapter president or an officially designated representative shall be a member of the Maine Genealogical Society’s Executive Committee, if a member of MGS.



In the event of the dissolution of the Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society, after all bills have been paid, the total assets shall be liquidated and allotted tin accordance with current governmental regulations under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. No funds shall inure to benefit of any individual chapter member.


Parliamentary Authority

ROBERT’S RULES OF ORDER NEWLY REVISED shall govern in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with those bylaws and any special rules of order the Chapter may adopt, or with those of MGS.



These bylaws may be amended at any regular meeting by a two-thirds vote provided that a notice has been given at the previous meeting or has been sent to each member at least fifteen (15) days prior to the meeting at which it will be considered.


STANDING RULES may be adopted by a majority vote at any regular meeting of the membership without previous notice. Standing Rules may be amended by either (a) a majority vote of members present and voting with previous notice or (b) a two-thirds (2/3) vote of members present and voting without previous notice.

1. Dues shall be ten dollars ($10.00) per year.

2. A box or envelope will be available for members and guests to put in a donation.

3. 3. Meetings will be held monthly, except July, at the First Congregational Church, 301 Cottage Road, South Portland at 1 p.m. unless otherwise stated.

4. Officers and committee chairmen shall turn over all records to their successors on January 1, in preparation for the annual meeting in January.

5. The agenda of each meeting may include the following:

1. Approval of minutes of previous meeting.

2. Treasurer’s Report

3. Correspondence

4. Committee reports

5. Announcements

6. Special orders

7. Unfinished business & general orders

8. New business

9. Program

10. Adjournment

6. Duties of Committees:

a. The Membership Committee shall be responsible for membership drives and introduction of new members and shall help the treasurer in regard to dues and members information.

b. The Refreshments Committee shall be in charge of refreshments at all regular meetings. The Committee will ask members to bring sweets for a meeting, take care of supplies and meeting room cleanup.

7. An Auditing committee shall be appointed at the November meeting to audit the Treasurer records and report at the annual meeting in January.

8. A notice of dues shall be sent to members whose dues remain unpaid by March 7.

9. The President, after consultation with the Program Chairman, may reschedule any meeting, which must be cancelled for any reason. Any rescheduled meeting will be held on another Saturday of that month and the members will be so notified.

10. The GPCMGS Google Group is for members only and only members whose dues are current; and upon request the President of the Maine Genealogical Society shall participate. Discussing or conducting GPCMGS member business is the primary purpose of the Google Group and inappropriate use of this site may result in removal from the Google Group at the discretion of the GPC Executive Committee.

11. The GPCMGS Facebook Group is open to anyone on Facebook and inappropriate use of the GPCMGS Group may result in removal from the Facebook Group at the sole discretion of the GPC Executive Committee.

The Greater Portland Chapter: The Early Years

The Maine Genealogical Society originated in 1976 after four people met in a Franklin County living room and made plans. That sounds easy, and you might think that our local chapter was formed without complications soon afterwards, but it took a lot of energy and dedication over almost a full year before twelve MGS members were found who were willing to come to a first meeting and discuss the situation.

Kathy Ingham and Mary Young went to their first MGS meeting in Portland in 1978. They signed up for membership and sat back to enjoy themselves. Chairman Dennis Stires, MGS vice president, asked in the course of the meeting, “How many of you would like to have a chapter of MGS in the Portland area?” Three women, including Kathy and Mary innocently raised their hands. “All right,” said Dennis with a grin, “you are the committee. Go out and form a chapter!”

Kathy and Mary, brand-new members and new to genealogy, were overwhelmed by the assignment, so overwhelmed, in fact, that they never did get the name of the third person. It was fortunate that Edna Will, an experienced amateur genealogist, was the first person Kathy called. Edna was not only enthusiastic about a local chapter, she was also willing to help. She offered the use of her living room for the first meeting.

On March 31, 1979, twelve MGS members met in Edna Will’s Cape Elizabeth apartment to form a local chapter. With the help of MGS representative Joyce Giradi, they took the steps necessary to apply for a charter. Chapter #3 was awarded to the Greater Portland Area Chapter on April 21, 1979 by A. Foster Sanborn, MGS President and accepted by Mary Young, Local Chapter President. The word “Area” was soon dropped from the name.

The New Chapter in 1979

It was decided not to meet in the months when MGS held its meetings, so the chapter's first official meeting held 12 May 1979 at the Cummings Center in Portland. After the business meeting, an adult version of the children's game called "Bring and Brag" was presented with seventeen members displaying such ancestral artifacts as old tintypes, old military items, old letters etc., which they tied in with their own genealogies.

21 July 1979 found them at a combination picnic and workshop at Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth. The Park Ranger, checking picnic sites in the afternoon, was pleased to find that the rubbish had been properly disposed of and probably amused at the sight industriously filling out 3xS cards for their ancestor research project.

18 August 1979 brought twenty members to the LDS Church in Cape Elizabeth where Elinor and Clarence Oearborn instructed them in the use of the microfiche readers and the files at the Stake Library -an interesting and valuable experience for all.

12 October 1979 brought out a record twenty-four members for a guided tour of the newly opened Portland Public Library, including a special visit to the Portland Room. A business meeting followed.

8 December 1979 saw a return visit to the Cummings Center with a business meeting, a general discussion and a workshop for nineteen members

By the end of the year, the chapter membership had almost tripled. Some people came and never returned, but others either came at least a few times or came regularly to our meetings.

Inflation and the high cost of heating oil were to take their toll shortly when both the Cummings Center and the Portland Public Library announced that in 1980 they would have to charge for the use of their meeting rooms. This would drive our chapter into a still more nomadic existence in finding places which were large enough but which cost nothing. For some years the group continued to have outdoor meetings in the summertime. They began holding some meetings in the Community Room at the Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth and later had many meetings in the meeting room at CEFD's Engine 2 Station at Pond Cove, Cape Elizabeth. The chapter tried to reciprocate the generosity of the firefighters, at least in part, by bringing a can of coffee for them each meeting and by baking cookies for the annual “Christmas for Kids” party at the station. We also donated towards a new fire truck with a collection from chapter members.

The chapter moved back to the Community Room at the Thomas Memorial Library until 2004 when the meetings were moved to the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints on Rt. 77 in Cape Elizabeth. In 2016, the chapter moved to First Congregational Church, 301 Cottage Road, South Portland, where we met until COVID-19 made it unsafe to meet in person in April 2020.