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The Scottish Association of Family History Societies

Patron: Dr Joseph J Morrow, Lord Lyon King of Arms
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SAFHS Constitution


The name of the organisation shall be the Scottish Association of Family History Societies.


The objectives of the Association shall be to advance public education by promoting and encouraging the study of Scottish family history, genealogy and local history.

In furtherance thereof the Association shall seek to:

(a) co-ordinate and assist the work of member societies and bodies interested in Scottish family history, genealogy and local history.

(b) provide a forum for the exchange, collection and distribution of information amongst member societies.

(c) act as spokesman with National and Local Government Bodies and Agencies, The Federation of Family History Societies and International Associations etc. on behalf of its members as requested.

(d) engage in educational activities; publication and sale of relevant information


To further the above objectives, the Association may:

(a) take out membership of such organisations as are considered to be in the interests of and compatible with the objectives of the Association.

(b) arrange and provide for or join in arranging and providing for the holding of exhibitions, meetings, lectures, classes, seminars and training courses.

(c) cause to be prepared and printed or otherwise reproduced (including electronic media) and circulated, free of charge or for payment, such papers, books, periodicals, pamphlets or other documents or films or recorded tapes (whether audio or visual or both) as shall further the objectives.

(d) purchase, take on lease or exchange, hire or otherwise acquire any property and any rights and privileges considered appropriate for the promotion of the objectives and construct, maintain and alter any building considered appropriate for the work of the Association.

(e) sell, let grant securities over, dispose of or turn to account all or any of the property or assets of the Association.

(f) borrow or raise money for the objectives and accept gifts on such terms and on such security as shall be deemed to be appropriate.

(g) raise funds and invite and receive contributions from any person or persons by way of subscription or otherwise.

(h) invest the funds of the Association not immediately required for the objectives in or upon such investments securities or property as may be thought fit, subject nevertheless to such conditions (if any) as may at the time be imposed or required by law and

(i) do all such other lawful things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the objectives.


There shall be two categories of membership as follows: -

(a) Full Membership is open to the Scottish Family History Societies and those associations with a particular interest in Scottish family history who in the opinion of the Council of the Association would be of benefit in the furtherance of the aims and objectives of the Association. Full Member Societies will be expected to send representatives to Council meetings.

(b) Associate Membership is open to other societies with an interest in Scottish family history, subject to the approval of the Council of the Association. They shall have no voting rights.


(a) The Association shall be governed by its Charity Trustees, namely the members of the Executive Committee.

(b) The office bearers of the Executive Committee and The Association shall consist of a Chairman, Deputy Chairman, Honorary Secretary, Treasurer and Editor, who will be elected, ideally from the Council, at the Annual General Meeting of the Council, for a period of three years, and shall be eligible for re-election.


(a) The SAFHS Council shall consist of up to two representatives from each Full Member Society, appointed by the society as and when necessary. Representatives’ details will be intimated to the SAFHS Hon Secretary.

(b) The representatives will be responsible for attending all Council and General Meetings, for reporting the proceedings to the Committee of the Family History Society they represent and for submitting items for the Agenda to the Secretary not less than 21 days before the date appointed for the next Council meeting.

(c) Each Society which is a Full Member shall have one vote. The Chairman shall have a casting vote and his decision on all points of order shall be final.

(d) A quorum shall consist of 40% of Full Member Societies represented and entitled to vote.

(e) Each Society which is a Full Member shall be expected to pay all reasonable expenses incurred by its representatives in attending Association meetings. Office bearers who are not a nominated representative of their Society will have their expenses paid by the Association.

(f) The Council shall normally meet twice a year.

(g) Full Member and Associate Member Societies shall be admitted to the Association by decision of the Council.

(h) The general administration of the Association shall be undertaken by an Executive Committee, as in clause 7 below.

(i) The Council will nominate members for election to office at least one month before the existing office bearers retire.


(a) The Executive Committee shall consist of the Office Bearers and the Publications Manager, and shall have the power to co-opt additional members as and when required.

(b) The Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Council shall also be Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Executive Committee. In the Chairman's absence, the Deputy Chairman shall act. If both are absent, those present shall choose one of their number to act as Chairman for that meeting.

(c) The Executive Committee will be responsible for the general administration of the Association and shall meet at times decided by the Council and/or the Executive Committee. A quorum of the Executive Committee shall consist of three members.

(d) Edited Minutes of the Executive Committee shall be made available to all Full Members of the Association.

(e) Sub-committees may be appointed by the Executive Committee or the Council to look into specific questions and will have written terms of reference covering what financial or other commitments they may enter into on behalf of the Association. Persons may be nominated by either the Executive Committee or the Council to serve on such committees. The sub-committee will be disbanded when the specific question has been addressed and all correspondence will be passed to the Association Secretary.

(f) The Executive Committee shall have the authority to co-opt to fill a vacancy among office bearers.


(a) An Honorary President, upon recommendation of the Executive Committee shall be elected by the Council.

(b) The Honorary President shall be elected for a period of three years and may be re-elected for a further three years.

(c) The retiring office bearers of the Council may be invited to become Honorary Life Members on retiring from the Council.

(d) The Honorary President and Honorary Members may attend and speak at all meetings of the Association, but shall have no right to vote in that capacity.


The Annual General Meeting of the Council shall be open to all subscribers and to all Full and Associate Member Societies. Only Council Representatives have voting rights at the AGM, by way of coloured voting cards, issued to Council Representatives on signing in. The Annual General Meeting shall be held on a date to be determined by the Council for the purposes of:-

(a) Receiving an annual report from the Executive Committee.

(b) Receiving and approving the independently assessed accounts.

(c) Appointing a non-Council member to independently assess the accounts.

(d) Electing office bearers.

(e) Dealing with such other matters as may be submitted according to the rules for its consideration either by the Executive Committee or by the individual Full Member Societies.


(a) The Council shall fix the subscription payable by Full Members and Associate Members.

All cheques and other documents governing the finances of the Association shall be signed by at least two office bearers.

(b) The Treasurer shall keep regular account of all receipts and payments in a manner approved by the Executive Committee and shall present to each meeting of the Executive Committee an interim statement showing the current state of Association finances.

(c) All subscriptions shall be payable on the first day of each financial year. Any Member Society that is six months in arrears with its subscription shall be notified by the Treasurer that it will be suspended from membership of the Association until all arrears have been paid, and that if the said Member Society is still in arrears with its subscription after twelve months it will automatically cease to be a member of the Association. Such a Member Society may be re-admitted to membership on paying any arrears due, unless otherwise decided by the Council.

(d) The income and property of the Association wheresoever derived shall be applied solely to the promotion of the objectives of the Association as set forth in the Constitution, and no part thereof shall be paid or transferred to any person without the direct or delegated authority of the Council.

(e) No payment will be made from Association funds to any individual member of the Council except as payment of out-of-pocket expenses incurred on the Association's business and with the approval of the Executive Committee.

(f) The Association’s financial year shall end on the 31st of December in each year. A copy of the independently assessed accounts, signed by the Chairman, shall, after approval by the Executive Committee, be tabled at the Annual General Meeting of the Council.

(g) Individual members of the Council or the Executive Committee must declare any personal financial interest in any matter under discussion and shall not vote on such matter.


The Constitution can be altered or amended only at an Annual General Meeting of the Council, or at an Extraordinary General Meeting, called by the Executive Committee, or by 10 member societies, and then only if the proposed alteration or amendment receives two thirds of the votes cast at the meeting by the nominated representatives of the Full Member Societies. No alterations or amendments shall be made which would have the effect of causing the Association to cease to be recognised by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator as a charity for tax purposes.


Any Member Society wishing to withdraw from the Association must give a minimum of three months notice in writing to the Secretary of the Association before the end of the Association's financial year.


A motion for the dissolution of the Association must be submitted to the Council three months before the relevant meeting of the Council. Such a motion must be submitted by the Executive Committee. The motion shall be passed if it receives two thirds of the votes cast by the representatives of the Full Member Societies present at the Council meeting. If such a motion should have been passed as described above the Executive Committee shall have power to dispose of any assets held by or on behalf of the Association.

Any assets remaining after the satisfaction of any proper debts and liabilities shall be given or transferred to such other charitable organisation or organisations having objectives similar to the objectives of the Association, as the Executive Committee may determine.

Adopted at the Extraordinary General Meeting of the Association held on 7th October 2017.

Certified as a true copy: _____(Signed)______________________ Chairman, Janet M Bishop

Certified as a true copy: _____(Signed)______________________ Secretary, Kenneth Nisbet

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Copyright 2017 Scottish Association of Family History SocietiesScottish Charity No SC 029006