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THE FELLOWSHIP OF ROTARY HISTORIANS since 11 october 2000
Post your club/district history now, with RGHF, at www.historylibrary.org free!
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"Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How" of Rotary since 11 October 2000 http://www.rotaryglobalhistoryfellowship.org/index.php?lang=en
"Nice to be reminded of the things of historical value, and I learn something new to talk about with potential new members."
An example of a charter number question:
You are correct that your club charter number was 177, which at the time meant that Portland, ME was the 177th Rotary Club over all. Since no clubs were terminated before 1926, any of the more than 2000 that were admitted before then had an original club number that reflected their 'rank' among all clubs. There are some exceptions to this rule caused by unusual circumstances, such as an extended delay between the time a club was organized and when it was officially chartered. In 1951, the Board decided to no longer use this numbering system as the amount of clubs terminated and rejoining had caused the numbers to lack meaning during post-war times.
The ID numbers assigned to clubs today are for accounting purposes and the old charter numbers are now obsolete. Even Chicago #1 has been assigned a new ID number. The current numbering system has nothing whatsoever to do with the order in which a club entered Rotary. Numbers are assigned by the automation software as clubs are entered into the system. When the membership database was created in the 1980s, clubs were not entered in chronological order, so their ID numbers have no inherent meaning.
But – if your club was chartered before 1926, the original charter number is the same as the total number of clubs at the time of admittance. And if your club was chartered before 1951, your original charter number may be approximately the same kind of number, although there were hundreds of clubs lost during WWII so numbers assigned from the immediate post-war period are not likely to mean anything significant.
From 1951 Proceedings, Forty-second Annual Rotary Convention, Atlantic City. Page 127-128:
"Club Charter Numbers Discontinued
For many years the charter number assigned to the latest club admitted to membership in RI was the same number as the total number of Rotary clubs. Then for a time, as the memberships of clubs were terminated, these vacated numbers were reassigned to new clubs as they were admitted to membership in RI. Then the procedure was again changed and numbers were not reassigned except in cases where clubs were reorganized in the same cities and admitted to membership in RI.
Over the years the procedure with regard to the assignment and re-assignment of charter numbers has changed several times so that at the present time  the number assigned to a new club has no significance -- it does not indicate the number of Rotary Clubs nor does it indicate the total number of clubs which have ever been admitted to membership in RI since for a few years numbers were reassigned to new clubs with a letter "b" following the number.
In view of this situation, the board agreed that effective 1 July, 1951, the procedure of assigning charter numbers to clubs as they are admitted to membership in RI shall be discontinued.
Clubs which have charter numbers may retain them but no club charter numbers will be published in the Official Directory beginning with the 1951-52 issue."