The Southern Oregon Personal Ancestors File (PAF) Users Group was established by a group of genealogy researchers who had a mutual interest in increasing the efficiency and accuracy of their research through the use of the personal computer. The goal was twofold: to create a forum where experienced computer researchers could exchange ideas and standardize procedures and, secondly, to introduce new researchers to the efficiencies of computer research and to teach them to use the equipment and software available.
The group was organized in 1992 and held its first general organizational meeting in July of 1992. General meetings are held on the second Saturday of each month, except August. Our meetings are always open to the general public and are announced in newspapers and on TV stations in Grants Pass and surrounding communities. We have members in Grants Pass, Cave Junction, Central Point, Medford, White City, Ashland and other parts of Josephine and Jackson counties. We have visitor l of these areas and even from as far away as Roseburg. We have a heavy attendance of regular members at our monthly meetings and classes plus usually four to ten visitors. Many of these visitors join our group, while others attend on a fairly regular basis as visitors. Our membership is a family membership and ranges from about 65 to 75 families. Of this number, about 40 to 50 individuals take an active part in our meetings.
Beginning with the second meeting, classes were held on selection of equipment, setting up of equipment, basic computer operation, basic genealogy research and the use of PAF software, both entry level and advanced. These classes are taught by the more experienced members of group and as other members gain experience they also assume instructional responsibilities. We have also attracted a number of outside speakers who address the general meetings and share their expertise and experiences with the group. These speakers have included authors of genealogy software; publishers of genealogical histories; and experts on computer subjects such as scanning, photo enhancement, the internet, and other interesting topics.
The meetings of the group and the classes are held monthly in classrooms made available at no charge by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 1969 Williams Highway, Grants Pass, Oregon. The Southern Oregon PAF Users Group has no affiliation with this church but shares a mutual interest in genealogical research. The general membership, the volunteer instructors and the Board of Directors of the group are nondenominational. The membership of the group ranges from young people to seniors, all of whom have an interest in researching and recording their family history. Family memberships are encouraged and we have found that such mutual interest and the sharing of information strengthens family values and generates pride in the history of our ancestors and their role in the settling and development of this country.
Grants Pass is located in the northern part of the Rogue Valley about 65 miles north of the California border. The Rogue River originates near Crater Lake and runs through Grants Pass on its way to the coast at Gold Beach, Oregon. Other towns in the Rogue Valley are Medford about 30 miles to the southeast and Ashland about 45 miles in the same direction. Medford is the largest of the three towns and is a shopping and commercial center serving Southern Oregon. Ashland is a cultural center and is the home of the world famous Shakespeare Festival and the campus of Southern Oregon University. The entire area offers excellent fishing, hunting, camping and sightseeing opportunities and has attracted many retirees. From this pool, many are interested in genealogy and provide a valuable source of experience gained from former professions.
Visitors are always welcome at our meetings. If you are in our area on the second Saturday of any month, come and see us.