British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa
British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa

Volunteering at BIFHSGO

If you are looking for a volunteer opportunity, we may have just the right one for you. This page contains descriptions of some of our many volunteer positions. For more information, please contact,  
On this page:

Board of Directors
  • President
  • Past President
  • Recording Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Communications Director 
  • Programs and Education Director 
  • Membership Director 
  • Research and Projects Director 
  • Marketing and Publicity Director
  • Director at Large 
The Board meets on the Monday evening that precedes the monthly membership meeting, from September through to June. Board members submit short activity reports in advance of the meetings, so other members may review them before the meeting. The President or a designate chairs the meeting. Meetings generally run for two hours and follow an agenda that includes minutes from the previous meeting, old and new business, and a quick round table to wrap up. The Board follows Roberts Rules of Order ( Minutes and action items are recorded for each meeting and circulated within a week of the meeting for review by board members. Currently the Board meets at 7 p.m. at St. Thomas the Apostle Anglican Church, 345 Alta Vista Dr, Ottawa, Ontario. All BIFHSGO members are welcome to attend board meetings. 
  • Initiates and supports Society activities to achieve the objectives of the Society, and supports the initiatives of the Board;
  • Convenes all Board meetings;
  • Presides at all meetings of the Board and at Society meetings of the general membership;
  • Provides advice and support to Directors and ensures that any activities undertaken on behalf of the Board are accomplished;
  • Is one of the designated signing authorities for the Society;
  • Ensures that the Board has active, committed and informed members, as well as related succession plans and recruiting efforts;
  • Reports on the activities, results and plans on behalf of the Board at the Annual General Meeting.
Recording Secretary
  • Prepares agendas, records all votes and distributes minutes of all board meetings;
  • maintains the Bylaws, policies and procedures;
  • deals with the federal authority administering the Canada not-for-profit Corporations Act regarding the BIFHSGO Bylaws;
  • Is the custodian of legal documents, records and archives belonging to BIFHSGO and holds of the Seal of the Society;
  • provides notice of all meetings to the members of the Board and Society members;
  • performs other duties as directed by the Board, such managing as the “Hall of Fame” award  and the “Best Member Talk of the Season” award.
  • Is the custodian of the funds and securities of the Society;
  • Maintains accurate records of all assets, liabilities, receipts and disbursements of the Society and for all sales of items offered for sale by the Society;
  • Deposits all financial assets in the name of the Society in the financial institution as directed by the Board;
  • Disburses the funds of the Society in accordance with appropriate financial procedures;
  • Prepares the draft annual budget for the Society for the Board;
  • Reports on the financial position of the Society to the Board;
  • Prepares the financial statements of the Society and makes them available, with all supporting documentation, to the Society’s auditor;
  • Reports the audited financial position of the Society to the Annual General Meeting.
Communications Director
  • Initiates and supports Society activities to achieve Society objectives;
  • Provides budget data related to all publishing and website activities to the Treasurer;
  • Encourages and facilitates members’ writings for Society publications;
  • Ensures publication standards and quality are maintained in all communications and approves printing services;
  • Gives counsel and supports the three Associate Directors who are responsible for Anglo-Celtic Roots, the website and the e-newsletter;
  • Maintains a reference archive of the Anglo-Celtic Roots and other publications;
  • Supports the recruitment of volunteers for the above responsibilities and provides for succession planning.
Programs and Education Director
  • In accordance with BIFHSGO Bylaws, is the First Vice-President of the Society and chairs all meetings in the absence of the President.
  • Plans and organizes the monthly meeting of the Society, including choosing the topic, arranging for speakers, meeting venue and logistics;
  • Arranges for appropriate publicity;
  • Performs other related duties as prescribed by the Board of Directors.
  • Initiates and supports Society activities to achieve Society objectives;
  • Is responsible for Society educational activities;
  • Provides information regarding educational activities to the Directors of Programs, Communications and Public Relations;
  • Attends Board meetings and reports on education plans and progress;
  • Counsels and supports Society members by identifying external educational opportunities;
  • Provides data for the Society’s annual budget for all educational activities to the Treasurer;
  • Supports the recruitment of volunteers for the above responsibilities and provides for succession planning.
Membership Director
  • Is responsible for Society membership activities;
  • Liaises with the Treasurer on issues related to membership fees and donations;
  • Maintains and provides data on membership activities to the Treasurer for the Society’s annual budget;
  • Provides support at meetings and conferences related to audio/visual equipment and internet communications, name badge distribution, etc. where possible;
  • Supports the recruitment of volunteers for the above responsibilities and provides for succession planning. 
Marketing and Publicity Director
  • Provides advice and counsel to other Board members and associates on the role and practice of good publicity;
  • Is responsible for all Society publicity, including announcements of regular meetings and special events, and publicity for the annual conference;
  • Is responsible for Society display and information booths, including public posters and the BIFHSGO booth at chosen events;
  • Maintains awareness of opportunities to build interest and support for the Society in the Greater Ottawa area through positive publicity and participation in special events;
  • Attends regular Board meetings to discuss publicity plans and progress, and to participate in the operation and direction of the Society;
  • Establishes an Annual Publicity and Plan Budget;
  • Maintains contact with the representatives of local papers and other publications catering to those potentially interested in BIFHSGO activities and events to discuss the goals of the Society;
  • Develops materials appropriate for BIFHSGO publicity and guidelines for other members planning publicity on behalf of their events;
  • Maintains a reference archive of achievements, including an Annual Report.
Research and Projects Director
  • Is responsible for the Society’s research activities; initiates and coordinates research projects;
  • Is responsible for the Home Children projects, and for assisting the Society to become a Centre of Specialization for Home Children;
  • Cooperates closely with Library and Archives Canada;
  • Regularly informs the Society’s members of the progress on the various projects;
  • Provides results from the Society’s indexing project(s) to the Webmaster for publication;
  • Cooperates with the Director, Education to counsel and support Society members requiring help with their research or seeking educational opportunities connected with their research;
  • Recruits,trains and coordinates volunteers in support of the research projects' leaders;
  • Attends regular Board meetings to report on plans and progress of research and projects;
  • Provides Research and Project data to the Treasurer for the Society’s annual budget.

Fall Conference Committee
  • Co-Chairs
  • Conference / Event Volunteer
  • Conference Welcome Desk Coordinator
  • Conference Catering Coordinator
  • Assistant Conference Program Marketplace Coordinators
  • Conference Technical Assistant
Welcome Desk Coordinator
  • Responsible for organizing the Welcome Desk for Fall Conference;
  • Seeks volunteers to operate the Welcome Desk;
  • Assigns tasks to volunteers and ensures volunteers are trained;
  • Prepares schedule roster for volunteers;
  • Prepares the conference registration packages;
  • Responsible for cash collected at the Welcome Desk and provides to the Treasurer with appropriate accounting;
    Supervises Welcome Desk volunteers during the conference;
  • Attends monthly Conference Planning Meetings, and attends as required during the week before and during the conference.
Catering Coordinator
  • Is responsible for the catering needs of the Fall Conference;
  • Selects the catering contractor in conjunction with the Conference Planning Committee;
  • Negotiates the menus, cost and other contract details;
  • Provides the caterer with the final numbers of lunches, etc. at the appropriate time;
  • Monitors the performance of catering staff during the conference and liaises with the supervisor;
  • Attends monthly Conference Planning Meetings and attends as required during the conference.
Assistant Conference Program Marketplace Coordinator(s)
  • Helps organize the Marketplace program for the Fall Conference;
  • Helps solicit potential marketplace exhibitors and Conference Program Book advertisers;
  • Helps coordinate the publicity for the marketplace exhibitors and advertisers with the Director of Publicity and Conference Program Book editor;
  • Helps plan and coordinate the table layout for the marketplace exhibitors, arrange appropriate table rentals and organize the table set-up and take-down;
  • Requires good organizational skills, attention to detail and a home computer.
Technical Assistant‚Äč
  • Help setup and take down audio/video and computer equipment at sessions and meetings; 
  • Mostly physical work but a person with some technical expertise would be preferable;
  • Tasks include positioning and cabling a video projector, testing microphones and establishing power for various pieces of equipment;
  • Would be working with the Technical Coordinator who would provide any training necessary.
Other positions
  • Volunteer Coordinator
  • Web Assistant
  • Anglo-Celtic Roots (ACR) Editor
  • ACR Layout
  • ACR Proofreader
  • E-Newsletter Editor
  • Photographer
  • Name Badge Organizer
  • Voice Mail responses
  • Publicity Assistants
  • Research Project Leaders
  • Research Project Volunteer
  • Research & Query Assistants
  • Home Children Research Assistants
  • Discovery Program Coordinator
Volunteer Coordinator
  • Maintains an inventory of volunteer assistants needed by the various BIFHSGO Directors, Event Coordinators and other functions;
  • Develops publicity to encourage members to volunteer;
  • Coordinates Volunteer Desk at the Saturday meetings and on the BIFHSGO website to provide prospective volunteers with information;
  • Liaises with Board Directors, Event coordinators, Anglo-Celtic Roots and other publications managers to establish volunteer needs.
Web Assistant
  • Requires a person with an eye for detail who takes pleasure in fixing things
  • Regularly reviews BIFHSGO web content for broken links and outdated information
  • Plan on setting aside 1–3 hours a week to find and fix these issues
  • Organize the work to suit your schedule
  • For more details about the position, contact Susan Davis
Anglo-Celtic Roots (ACR) Editor
  • Assures the quality and appropriateness of ACR content, and makes the final decision with respect to content;
  • Solicits articles from potential authors;
  • Prepares regular content, including cover material, columns and listings;
  • Administers the copyright requirements;
  • Edits manuscripts to respect space requirements;
  • Provides the layout specialist with final formatted copy for layout;
  • forwards laid-out version in pdf to the proofreaders for review;
  • obtains delivery address lists from the Director, Membership;
  • sends final pdf file and address lists to printer;
  • proofreads envelopes and journal proof sample;
  • delivers printed copies to post office and mails international copies.
Proofreader, ACR
  • Reviews layout pdf for conformity with grammar, spelling, punctuation and Anglo-Celtic Roots style policies;
  • Brings discrepancies to the Editor’s attention for final decision and correction.
Layout, ACR
  • Receives the final edited copy from the Editor;
  • Researches and/or formats images to illustrate articles;
  • Formats the material in accordance with the ACR template;
  • In cooperation with the Editor, adjusts the material to meet the requirements of the final printed copy.
  • Takes photographs of speakers at monthly meetings and the annual conference;
  • Takes photos showing activities at the annual conference;
  • Obtains photographs of Hall of Fame inductees and other Society officers, as required;
  • Maintains an organized database of existing and new Society photos.
Publicity Assistant
  • Prepares publicity posters and draft event announcements for local newspapers, magazines and e-newsletters;
  • Assists with preparation of up to 10 publicity posters and event announcements for monthly meetings, the Fall Conference and up to 3 other events each year;
  • May replace Publicity Director at Board meetings.
Name Badge Organizer
  • organizes, distributes and maintains the BIFHSGO name badges
  • welcomes members and guests at monthly meetings, distributes name badges, makes temporary visitor badges
  • collects and files name badges after meetings
  • coordinates volunteers to distribute badges at monthly meetings
  • Reports number of members and visitors at each meeting to Board of Directors.  
  • Knowledge of the alphabet is essential!
Research Project Leader(s)
  • Plans and coordinates a specific research project as approved by the Board;
  • Defines, in concert with the Director of Research, the research required to meet the objectives of the project;
  • Recruits volunteers and coordinates their work on defined research;
  • Provides status and progress reports to the Director of Research as required;
  • Provides the Director of Research with financial data for project activities for inclusion in the Society's annual budget;
  • Requires the ability to plan and coordinate a research project, initiative to propose new research projects.
Research and Query Assistant(s)
  • Responds to questions and queries from BIFHSGO members (and non-members) regarding family history and places of research in the Ottawa–Gatineau area;
  • Provides general information, rather than detail or specific personal research, either written (email) or verbal;
  • Refers the query or request to another Research/Query Assistant if unable to assist;
  • Requires general knowledge of genealogy in general and research facilities in the Ottawa–Gatineau area and good knowledge of a specific area of genealogy (eg. any one of the countries in the United Kingdom; time in history, or important event in genealogical history;)
  • Requires good knowledge of genealogical research techniques and practices.
Home Children Research Assistant(s)
  • Extracts Home Children information from the Department of Agriculture's immigration files, RG17 (1869-1893) at Library and Archives;
  • Orders pre-defined sets of RG17 files and reviews for relevant information;
  • Photocopies relevant pages from the files (BIFHSGO cost) and transcribes data into a pre-defined Excel spreadsheet;
  • Requires ability to handle and read fragile archival documents, basic computer skills and knowledge of Excel;
  • Requires about one day per week at LAC and at home.
Discovery Program Coordinator
  • Coodinates the three parts of the Discovery Program: Discover Your Genealogy, Discover Your Library and Discover Your Country;
  • Click here to view the entire job description for this position.