Good morning to one and all,
Welcome to this 30th meeting of the General Assembly of the Demers Families Association Inc. It is with great pleasure that I submit an account of our activities for the year 2019-2020 as well as the projects and/or transformations we intend to implement for the year 2020-2021.
We are keeping pace with the transition that began in 2013. I wish to thank all the people who give us generously of their time, whether as administrators or volunteers. These individuals constitute a rejuvenated and dynamic team and contribute with their generosity and determination in making our Association unique.
So, here's what we've accomplished over the past year:
- Two Board meetings were held in:
- Drummondville: September 21, 2019
- Video conference: March 29, 2020
- Two Executive Board meetings:
- Video conferences: June 11, 2019 and November 11, 2019
- A special and unofficial board meeting that we have referred to as a Think Tank
- Drummondville : November 23, 2019
This meeting, also including two young non-members of the Board, was organized following the mention in our winter newsletter of a new survey to our members. We wish to attract attention from members of the next generation who spend much of their time on social media while sustaining the interest of those who have continued to follow us from the beginning. Many ideas, pertaining to: communications, gatherings, genealogy, membership renewals by email, electronic payments, etc., were discussed.
- In addition, we also had many exchanges via the internet or the telephone.
In charge: Alain Demers & Andrée Demers
Since May 2014, I’ve been responsible for the preparation of the newsletter but in 2018 Andrée Demers joined the committee and with her involvement in the project took over the task of editing the elements we have prepared, texts composed and pictures submitted. I wish to thank everyone who contributed to the newsletter by providing texts and photos, translating, proofreading the upcoming publication and finding sponsors.
Increasingly, many of our members who wish to decrease waste of paper, now prefer to receive their newsletters via PDF. If you wish to receive your copy of the newsletter via PDF, please notify us directly or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS
In charge: Alain Demers
Marketing, promotional products: We have an interesting inventory of items with the effigy of our coat of arms.
To mark the 375th anniversary of our arrival in Nouvelle-France I wrote a book named "From St. Jacques de Dieppe to La Nouvelle-France" in bilingual format where our ancestor Jehan Dumay tells the story of how he came to settle his three sons in this country. The project was carried out with the help of many persons who generously contributed in different ways. I truly appreciate their help. Copies remain available for sale.
All of our promotional items are listed on our website and are available with an interactive order form. Please refer to it, these items are all very reasonably priced. You could use them as gifts to your family members.
Our maxim "Think Demers" meant to stimulate interest in all things Demers should be part of our daily life and seems to be making its way. Think about it!!
Communications: I am in charge of publishing articles highlighting exploits or other facts of interest concerning Demers’ on our Facebook page. We try to vary the topics in these publications. The number of members is steadily increasing and allows me to interact frequently with descendants of Demers throughout North America.
If you wish to be notified of our publications, visit our Facebook page and click the "like" under the picture of our Board members. If you are aware of an event of interest featuring a Demers let us know at: email@example.com
Our website is also online and generates significant interest. In fact, since its opening, we have received nearly 6,000 visits, some of them from our Facebook page linked to the website. Considering its configuration, I was able to make some minor updates but asked our Webmaster to make more "technical" changes. Recently, our supplier AB6 sold to Webilio. The cost for hosting the site remains the same but we had to pay for some updates. We are now fortunate that Philippe Demers (son of Raymond) has offered to provide software and content updates.
MEETINGS AND GATHERINGS
In charge: Alain Demers and all the members of the Board
To mark the 375th anniversary of the arrival of the Demers in America, our annual gathering was to be held over a period of two days and the schedule did not allow time for our Annual General Assembly. So, once again the General Assembly was held separately in St-Pierre les Becquets, on June 1st 2019. This event is administrative in nature so not very festive but I am sad to report once again the lack of interest it arouses among our members. This is where we submit a summary of the activities of the previous year as well as our plans for the coming year. There were only 15 of us at that meeting.
For the third time since the beginnings of the Association, the site of the Juvénat Notre-Dame de St-Romuald was selected for the gathering of July 6th and 7th 2019 commemorating our 375th anniversary. The location is ideal for such an important event. We were close to 80 participants, some as far away as Oregon, Alberta, Ontario and New England. Jean Demers and Jeanne Védié were waiting for them at the front door. The presentations by the « Société d’Histoire de St-Romuald » and by Bernadette et Thérèse Demers concerning the house known as « Cantin-Demers » located near the « chemin du Fleuve »; the visits of the historical «Chantier Naval Davie », the promenade through the village of St-Nicolas as well as the three meals provided were up to our expectations.
Alain did the presentation of his book at the end of the afternoon. Music during supper and karaoke during the evening added to the atmosphere. After the Sunday morning brunch, all the participants were given a magnificent basket of strawberries picked that very morning courtesy of Jacques Demers of the “Serres Demers” in St. Nicholas.
GENEALOGY AND HISTORY
In charge: Johanne Demers
In addition to the research we carry out, some of our correspondents share with us their genealogies via the internet. This information is then relayed to our genealogist Yvan Demers thus enhancing our database which now has over 70 000 persons listed. We renewed our subscription to “Ancestry” to assist us with some research.
We continue to archive, as we find them, many paper and/or digitized documents. These are mainly notarized acts, baptisms, marriages and burials certificates, but there are also articles and excerpts from books concerning the Demers. The central genealogical data bank and these paper documents are under Yvan's careful watch while Johanne archives everything that is digitized.
In charge: Luc Gingras
Luc has the treasury work well in hand. At the June 1, 2019 General Assembly he presented his financial statement and forecasts for the coming year as well as the analysis report completed by the officials mandated to accomplish this task. We are also exploring the feasibility of accepting various payment by Interac or Paypal transfers.
The Association's mail is now being forwarded to Luc. This facilitates his task.
In charge: Rosy Scalvini and Johanne Demers
Among other tasks, Rosy prepares the agendas, writes the minutes, proofreads various texts and translates them. Johanne, for several years now, has taken on the very special task of keeping track of membership cards. It is to simplify this part of her work that we have undertaken to standardize the renewal of membership cards on a fixed date: April 1st of each year. The process went well and the standardization has now been completed.
We will soon be able to accept renewals by e-mail as well as payments via Paypal.
Honorary Members: Since the birth of the Association we recognize it to be our duty to honour some of our members, as well as those from our early days, for their outstanding contribution to the life of the Association. This year, we presented an Honorary Member Certificate to Marcel P Demers who had donated all the genealogical records he accumulated over the years to the Association thus contributing to the beginning of our database. When the certificate was presented to him at his home in Sherbrooke, Marcel and his wife Céline also gave us the index boxes containing all his cards (nearly 30,000). All of his index boxes were then donated to the Drouin Genealogical Institute, which will digitize them and make them accessible to genealogists who consult their database in the future.
Thank you Marcel for all your years of research work!
American Cousins Visit Us: In August, David Kruse from Iowa (son of Shirley DeMars), accompanied by 10 members of his family came on a genealogical and historical tour of Quebec. With the help of Suzanne, Élaine, Louis-Daniel, Luc Gingras and members of the Genealogy Society of Marieville and St-Antoine de Tilly, they were able to make the journey through their history from Jean and Jeanne Védié then from Pierre and Jeanne Pouliot to Joseph who married Rosalie Rainville in Marieville in 1849 and from where they emigrated to Kankakee, Illinois in the 1850s. David and his family members left delighted with their stay and were able to meet other Demers who are part of their history.