How can I join the Society?

An application form can be downloaded and printed-out from this web-site. When completed, please send the form, together with the appropriate enclosures, to the Honorary Membership Secretary at the address shown on the front of the form.


Since I can carry out research for myself, why should I join the Rayment Society?

Although it is possible for most people to carry out family history research without help from anyone, this can prove a very costly exercise and take a great deal of both time and effort. One of the purposes of Family History Societies such as ours is to act as a clearing-house for information, thus helping to avoid the same research being needlessly repeated by numerous people each of whom is unaware of the research carried out by others.

Apart from access to the Societyís numerous databases, members enjoy the benefits of a telephone help-line, a courier service for ordering certificates and other documents, use of the Noticeboard feature on the Societyís Newsline, free research and "look-up" facilities, loan of files, use of the Society's lending library, a free faxback service, organised visits, talks on genealogical research and the opportunity to purchase selected computer software and publications at a reduced price. Representation on bodies such as the Guild of One-Name Studies, The Family Record Centre Usersí Consultative Group, the Probate Usersí Group and the Society of Genealogists is another of the many advantages.


If I decide to join, will my name and address be passed on to anyone for commercial purposes?

Definitely not. On the contrary, provision has been made on the membership application form for a request to be made that telephone numbers be withheld from all except the Societyís officers.


Can I join the Society without having to attend meetings?

Yes, of course. There are many members who live overseas, in addition to which less than 5% of the UK membership have ever attended any of the Societyís meetings. If all of the members were to attend a particular meeting, we would obviously have a severe problem in accommodating them!


Why does the Society have a joining fee in addition to the annual subscription?

Much of the expense incurred by the Society in researching an individual memberís family tree inevitably occurs during the initial stages of the research work, before it becomes possible to link a new memberís tree with that of another member and hence proportionately reduce the cost of all further research. It is, therefore, much fairer to the membership as a whole, not to have to continually subsidise the Societyís initial research into the family trees of new members.


Is membership open to those who are not surnamed RAYMENT?

Yes. If, for example, the Society's current list of Committee members is examined, it will be found to include a number of people with surnames other than Rayment.


Can members of the same family, who live at the same address, join the Society at a reduced rate?

No, not at present, although if there proved to be sufficient demand in the future, the Society would obviously have to consider the introduction of some form of family membership. However, under the existing rules, this would need to be decided at a General Meeting.


Since I was adopted as a baby, is there any point in my joining the RAYMENT Society?

This will depend on the circumstances and on what you hope to achieve, irrespective of which you will certainly be most welcome to join. In any case, the Society holds a complete extract of the index to all RAYMENT adoptions in England and Wales, and can assist in any research. It is probably also worth pointing out the fact that, in many cases of adoption, one of the parents is often a natural relation or even an actual biological parent of the person adopted.


Are any special provisions made for overseas members?

Anyone living outside the UK is more than welcome to join the Society, with the proviso that all payments are made in sterling only, due to the high costs involved in converting small amounts of foreign currencies. For the same reason, the Society also offers its overseas members the facility to maintain a credit balance from which any future fees may then be deducted, as and when instructions are received from the member.

N.B: The Society is very much looking forward to being able, at sometime in the future, to appoint an honorary representative in each country in which it has members. This would enable the members in these countries to make payments, in their own currencies, to such representatives who would then forward the money in one lump sum, thus avoiding the very high cost involved in the conversion of a number of small amounts of money into sterling. Furthermore, it is intended that each honorary representative would eventually be provided with a complete set of the Societyís records in order that they would be able to carry out searches and to offer help to the members in their country. A start has now been made by appointing Representatives, who have agreed to collect and forward payments, in both Australia and Canada.


Why are people not allowed to join if they have an ex-directory telephone number?

There appears to be a complete misunderstanding about this, since the question of whether a personís telephone number is listed or unlisted is not relevant to their membership.

However, we do have to insist that the Societyís officers are kept informed of the current telephone numbers of all of our members. Whilst this is partly due to the delay and cost involved in the use of mail services, the main reason is that our current family tree filing system and our GRO birth, marriage and death index cross-referencing system are both based entirely on telephone area codes and numbers. Furthermore, the Societyís main switchboard has been fitted with an automatic call-logger, which enables us to readily identify any member who has difficulty in using our automatic switchboard system.

As a matter of fact, irrespective of whether or not their telephone number is ex-directory, any member is entitled to instruct the Society not to disclose it to anyone other than the Societyís officers, and there is a note to this effect, on the back of the current membership application form.


Are children permitted to join The Society?

Although the Society currently has no child members, the rules do not prevent children from joining.


Is it really worthwhile for someone such as myself to join The Society, since Iím only remotely related to a Rayment, through my Great-grandmother?

Yes, very much so! Itís amazing how often this particular question is raised by people who, like yourself, have only carried out a somewhat limited amount of family history research. In fact, most such people have yet to realise that itís almost certainly the most cost effective way to research a pedigree, because they are normally able to take great advantage of large amounts of research work which has already been carried out by other people who are more closely related to the person being researched.


Is membership of the Society open to absolutely anyone?

Normally yes, but under the existing rules, the committee does have the right to refuse any application. In the unlikely event that this was to occur, all of the applicant's money would of course be refunded, as required by section 3(d) of the rules.


How many applications for membership have been rejected under section 3(d) of the Societyís Constitution and Rules?

None, so far! We sincerely hope that this will never become neccessary.


What happens to the information obtained from the birth and marriage certificates of people who apply to join the Society; can it be kept confidential if I join?

Details from the certificates are entered into various sets of records, all of which are then cross-referenced to form an integral part of the Society's archives. To answer the second part of the question, I would have to say that the information would not normally be regarded as confidential, since the whole point of the Society's existence is to both record and provide this type of information for the use of it's members only. However, if any member is uncomfortable about this, the Society will gladly arrange for links to the certificates in question to be withdrawn from the relevant Birth and Marriage search facilities on the Society's website until after their death.


My Uncle, who was a member of the Society, died recently and my Aunt would like to know if she could take over his membership without having to pay a joining fee.

Unfortunately, this is not covered by the existing rules, probably because no one thought of it when they were drawn up. Since it would appear to be fair to allow this, I will certainly bring it up for discussion at the next committee meeting, because the rules would need to be changed to cover this situation, and this can only be done at a General Meeting.


Can I join the Society as a life member and, if so, how much would I have to pay?

No provision has yet been made for life membership (other than for Honorary Members) under the current rules.


Are there any provisions for institutions to join the Society and, if so, at what cost?

Yes, application for Ordinary Membership is open to Corporate bodies under rule 3(c). The joining and membership fees are currently the same as those for Individual Membership.


If I join the Society now, will I have to pay the membership fee for the whole year, or is there a reduced subscription fee for people who join mid-way through the year?

Since the membership subscription fees have been deliberately kept very low, no provision has been made for any kind of reduction for those people who join part way through the membership year.


At the moment Iím only just thinking about joining the Society. After the meeting, can I speak to someone for further information?

Yes, of course. Anyone having any questions is always welcome to telephone the Societyís Helpdesk, the UK number of which is 01708-509027.


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