Constitution of B&AFHS


The name of the Society shall be the Bristol and Avon Family History Society.


The recognised address of the Society shall be that of the Secretary.


The object of the Society shall be to promote and encourage the public study of family history, genealogy and associated matters with particular reference to the former County of Avon. In furtherance of the above object, but not further or otherwise, the Society shall have the following powers:    

  1. To provide a forum for those interested to meet and help each other in these matters;    

  2. To arrange a programme of lectures, discussions and research visits for Society members and interested members of the public;    

  3. To produce a Journal of the Society's activities;    

  4. To hold and maintain a library of printed and other works;    

  5. To seek out and transcribe, index and, wherever possible, publish or make available source materials including documents and monumental inscriptions;    

  6. To provide guidance in family history research and study to those living elsewhere but with ancestors in the area;    

  7. To pursue collaborative actions with similar societies and established supportive bodies such as churches, record offices, libraries and educational institutions;    

  8. To provide a link with others interested in genealogy and family history through affiliation to the Federation of Family History Societies.    

  9. To establish branches/sub-groups of the main Society, the branches/sub-groups to run their own affairs locally under the overall control of the Society.


(a) Membership shall be open to any person, family, institution or organisation desirous of sharing the objects of the Society. There shall be five classes of membership:    

  1. Full Membership;    

  2. Family Membership for two or more related persons living at the same address, sharing the same copy of the Journal etc., but possessing individual voting rights; 

  3. Concessionary Membership: For students who are in full-time education or persons above the State Retirement Age;    

  4. Overseas Membership: For those living outside the British Isles    

  5. Honorary Life Membership: For persons who have rendered singular service to the Society.

(b) The Committee may suspend from membership of the Society any member whose activities, in the opinion of the Committee, are detrimental to the Society. Such members shall have the right to appeal.


Subscriptions shall be fixed at a General Meeting of the Society and shall remain in force until amended by resolution at another General Meeting. All subscriptions shall be payable from 1st April.


(a) The Society shall be administered by an Executive Committee which shall consist of a Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Journal Editor and not more than eight other members plus one representative from each branch/sub-group approved by the Society with full committee members' rights, elected by the appropriate branch/sub-group at its AGM.

(b) The Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and Journal Editor shall be deemed to be the Society's Officers.  These four Officers together with the five longest serving Members of the current Committee shall be deemed to be the Society's Trustees.

(c) The Executive Committee shall be elected annually. The electorate shall consist of all fully paid-up members of the Society and voting will be conducted at the Annual General Meeting. The term of office of the Executive Committee shall commence with the declaration of the election results at the Annual General Meeting. Nominations may be submitted in writing beforehand or may be made from the floor of the Annual General Meeting.

(d)  The Executive Committee shall be elected for one year only, but shall be eligible to stand for re-election. Members of the Executive Committee may serve for a maximum of three years consecutively.  Officers may serve for a maximum of a further four consecutive years from the date of their first appointment as an Officer.  This can follow directly on from any time served as a Committee Member.  All Committee Members and Officers who have served the maximum period allowed, or have left the Executive Committee for any reason shall be available for re-election after one year. 

(e) The Executive Committee shall meet not less than eight times in a calendar year. The quorum for a Committee meeting shall be six, which must include at least two officers.  A simple majority shall suffice to pass any motion.  In the event of an equal number of votes cast for and against a motion, the Chairman shall have a second or casting vote.  The Executive Committee may appoint sub-committees and shall have the power to c0-opt additional members and to nominate members to act as officers in a temporary capacity until the next AGM. 

(f) The Executive Committee may appoint sub-committees and shall have the power to co-opt additional members and to nominate members to act as officers in a temporary capacity until the next AGM.  

(g) The Society may invite by resolution suitable persons to be President and/or Vice Presidents. The President and/or Vice Presidents shall have the right to attend any Committee meeting but shall not have the right to vote at them.


(a) A General Meeting of the Society may be convened at any time by the Committee (or by twelve members of the Society) by giving notice of not less than 21 days either in writing or in the official Journal of the Society.

(b) Extraordinary motions for a General Meeting shall be signed by a proposer and seconder and sent to the Secretary not less than six weeks before the date of the Meeting. All such motions must appear on the Agenda for the Meeting which shall be included with the notice of the Meeting.

(c) All motions, other than those to amend the Constitution, may be passed by a simple majority of those present on a show of hands. In the event of an exactly equal number of votes being cast for and against a motion the Chairman shall have a second or casting vote.

(d) Any member may ask for a form to register a postal vote, but only if unable to be present to vote in person. Postal votes must be sent to the Secretary and clearly marked Postal Votes on the envelope which shall not be opened until the votes of those present at the Meeting are counted.

(e) Although a vote may be taken at a General Meeting on matters not specified on the Agenda as an expression of opinion, such a vote shall not have the force of a resolution nor shall it be binding on the Committee. A quorum of twelve members is necessary for a General Meeting.


(a) Once in every calendar year, and not more than fifteen months since the previous one, an Annual General Meeting shall be held at which a report on the Society's activities since the last Annual General Meeting shall be presented. A financial report shall also be presented.

(b) The Annual General Meeting shall elect the Executive Committee. A secret ballot shall be held if the number of nominations for any post exceeds the number of vacancies.

(c) The President, or in his absence any available Vice-President, shall be invited to chair the Annual General Meeting.

(d) In all other matters the Annual General Meeting shall be conducted in the same way as any other General Meeting.


(a) The income and property of the Society, whencesoever derived, shall be applied solely towards the promotion and execution of the objects of the Society as set out in Section 3 above. No portion thereof shall be paid or transferred directly or indirectly in any manner by way of profit to any     member of the Executive Committee or Society; providing that nothing herein shall prevent the payment in good faith of reasonable and proper out-of-pocket expenses incurred on behalf of the Society.

(b) The Executive Committee shall have the full power to authorise reasonable expenditure and, in an emergency, like power shall vest in the Chairman of the Society with the concurrence of the Secretary and Treasurer.

(c) The Committee shall cause proper books of account to be kept with respect to all sums of money received and expended by the Society and the matters in respect of which such receipts and expenditures take place.

(d) Branches/sub-groups set up and approved by the Society shall keep records of all income and expenditure and submit these records to the Treasurer as may be requested at any time and also for consolidation into the Society's full accounts.

(e) Once at least in every year, the Society's accounts shall be examined by one or more qualified persons who are independent of the Society.  The accounts and results of this examination shall be presented to the Members by being printed in the Society's Journal.


The Society shall indemnify the Executive Committee of the Society from and of all acts done or purported to be done in good faith on behalf of the Society.


(a) The Constitution shall be amended if two-thirds of those attending and voting at a General Meeting of the Society vote for such an amendment.

(b) No alteration or amendment shall be made to the Constitution which would bar the Society from being a Charity at law.


In the event of a resolution passed by not less than two-thirds of those members with voting rights at a General Meeting called for the purpose and for which no less than 21 days' notice has been given in writing or in the official Journal of the Society, the Society shall be dissolved. Such a resolution may give instructions for the disposal of any assets held by the Society after all debts and liabilities have been paid, the balance left to be transferred to some other charitable institution or institutions having objectives similar to those of the Society.

21st  June 2010