There were several reasons for increasing the fees. In the past Preliminary Reviews were performed by volunteers. For a variety of reasons (including the increasing volume and complexity of the work) we no longer have willing volunteers capable of doing the tasks. GSMD has hired new staff to accomplish these reviews, but with an increased expense to us.
The good news is that the volume of work continues to expand, partly because of increased interest spurred by the approaching 400th Anniversary. While it’s nice to be popular, the extra volume has caused our staff to fall behind in their work. Rather than reassign our hard-working application verifiers to do the Preliminary Reviews, we will hire and train additional people to catch up and stay ahead of the incoming volume.
Of course, bringing in additional staff will cost extra funds, and it makes most sense to increase the fees for this particular service. The charges for new membership and supplemental applications will not be affected by this change. We are conducting a thorough review of the application process to find efficiencies that will allow our professional verifiers to do those jobs more effectively. Applications now require several weeks to be approved, and we are committed to speeding that process.
These Preliminary Reviews and the Application verification process are at the heart of our gold-standard genealogical reputation. In addition to accuracy, it is important that they be performed quickly enough so that potential members do not lose their interest in our organization while they await their results. We believe that doing these reviews more quickly will result in greater engagement by new members when they do join us.
Thanks for your understanding of how this change will benefit the General Society and our Member Societies, now and in the future.
George P. Garmany, Jr. MD
Governor General, GSMD