Admin and communications problems resolved….I hope!

The Society has been operating for many years.  Initially with a simple web site until subscriptions became necessary in 2000 to help fund the growing costs.

Since we started, all my web site work has been handled by two blokes I met in 1990.  Over the years Mike and Sean became friends.  Mike was a technical genius; he also loved family history.  Sadly, he died in 2000 at which point we faced dilemmas. The site at the time was creaking and we needed to decide on our next platform.

I prepared a detailed functional specification (what I wanted to be achieved) in consultation with the Society’s Council and the recommendation was to go with WordPress with tailored plug ins (ie non-WordPress software) for our special needs.  Web sites with as much data on them as ours are time consuming and costly to develop; we knew that it would be demanding.  Transferring all the data from the old site was a major challenge.

We launched the new site in November 2021.  There were still some outstanding tasks and those were completed roughly over the next six months.

Behind the site that members and guests see is a large administrative set up of which the key element is the Users admin data base.  This is where the personal details of members and guests are held, subscriptions collected via PayPal, access routines managed and from which email lists can be generated.  This was one of the main plugs ins together with the mailing system.

Through the latter part of 2022 this data base began to give major problems and, while short term fixes were attempted, it was clear that more substantial work was required.  The mailing process which drew email lists from this data base could not function.

The main user site was still operating fine but some members had periodic access problems because the admin data base was not correctly recognising them as members.

The work to correct the user data base has taken time and money well beyond our original expectations but we are now back under control, and I can progress the society in the way that I would like.  Sorting this out has been a frustrating diversion from how I would have liked to have spent my time.  I am grateful, however, to Sean and Serghei (the lead developer) for never giving up on providing us with what we need.

I apologise to you all for any disappointments that this period may have caused but I guess six months of problems out of over 23 years of reasonable achievement could be worse.  We are not Ancestry with all the infrastructure that a large organisation commands; it’s just me, a few enormously valued helpers and my technical friends.

Thank you for your patience.

All the best


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