CAGGNI traces its origins to the Northern Illinois PAF Users Group (NIPAFUG). NIPAFUG was a product of the early 1990s LDS campaign to provide support for their software package, Personal Ancestral File (PAF). The goal of this initiative was that each Family History Center (FHC) would assist the creation of a user support group which would meet regularly. To assist in forming these groups, the Salt Lake City PAF software support group sent an initial mailing to invite PAF owners to a organizational meeting. Invitations went out to hundreds of registered PAF owners in the area and approximately 250 people attended the initial planning meeting. It was from these initial attendees that the group was formed.
The focus of NIPAFUG was limited to the PAF genealogy software; various aspects of it and more general genealogy topics were presented at each meeting. The early success of the group was due in large part to a number of LDS members who were active in the group. The first meetings were held on Sunday evenings in the Schaumburg LDS meeting house. Refreshments were added following the meeting, providing a more social aspect to the group meetings.
As the membership became more diverse, it became apparent that interests in software packages other than PAF existed within the group. Meeting topics began to change to encompass these new interests although the organization's name remained unchanged. Realizing that more people might find the group if its name reflected the software neutral nature of its new broader focus, in 1998 the name was changed to Computer-Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI). A new meeting place and time were explored and, in 1999, the group was moved to the Schaumburg Township District Library (Central Library Facility) and changed its meeting time to Saturday morning.
In 1999, a number of members who were users of a software package called The Master Genealogist (TMG) petitioned for the formation of a special interest group within CAGGNI to focus exclusively on this program. Likewise, in 2006, two additional special interest groups were formed to focus on Family Tree Maker (FTM) and Personal Ancestral File (PAF) software programs. Currently there is consideration for starting a Reunion software special interest group to accommodate MAC users.
Over the years the CAGGNI newsletter grew from two to three pages of articles clipped from other sources to eight to fifteen page publication (1993-2000). The newsletter took on a more professional appearance in 2001 with computer publishing technology being applied to its production. Graphics, including screen shots, were added to supplement articles. Electronic distribution of the newsletter (as an e-mail attachment) was initiated to save copying costs, postage and provide the newsletter on a timelier basis. Contents of the newsletters continue to include notes from the preceding month's meeting, a listing of various local genealogy group meetings for the near term future, copies of e-mails of interest, and articles submitted by members.
With the growth and influence of the Internet, it became clear that any group with "computer-assisted" in its name must have a web site. CAGGNI established its first web presence in 1998. Elements of the initial site were portions of the newsletter, a page of members' surnames being researched, information on local Family History Centers and a number of pages of links to other web sites of interest. In 2002, the web site was completely revamped to improve its appearance, organization, navigability and expand its content. As a result of that effort the site began to evolve into a mature full featured site. In the fall of 2008, it was decided that the web site needed updating once again. The website you see today, with member forums, on-line user-updated profiles, on-line dues payment options, member-to-member messaging, and other interactive features, was launched in September 2009.