As history is sometimes different from other peoples perspectives, any of the group can add their version, notes or take on it all here if they wish, just e-mail me with your perspective and I'll add it to this page.
By Steve Everitt:
Before I begin the story of our humble beginnings I must first mention that none of this would have been possible without all the many years of foundation work, via mail and record office visits mostly, of Hugh J. Boniface, who holds the honoured position of Member No.1.
The late Dennis J. Boniface and I found each other back in the middle 90's and corresponded by e-mail at great length. This was around the time when Windows 95 came out and I started getiing into computers. Dennis got the great idea of sending copies to me, of who he wrote to, I did likewise. This way we were both were kept informed of the contacts we made and what was said. This grew into others all wanting to be informed in the same manner. A small amateur mailing list was born with about ten people participating.
I then decided it was time to move the website away from the small space offerings of places like Geocities to Rootsweb, the oldest and largest genealogical server on the web. This would provide greater exposure and also provide the group with an official mailing list, among other tools. The next step came when the website evolved away from my own personal website to a group site and it is considered by the BIG (Boniface Internet Group) participants to be an unqualified success.
The first 10 or 15 on the numbered members list I've always considered to be founding members, but some of the others who did participate at the outset either had no numbers or just joined later on. They know who they are but sadly some have passed on now.
Next came the move to a paid site, partly because of the nerves that came with Rootsweb giving up their autonomy and run by volunteers status by letting Ancestry.com buy them. This was probably a good move from the perspective of looking back from this point in time. They were on the brink of folding from lack of resources and couldn't keep up with the popularity of the hobby. Myself and some of the group were a little nervous about a commercial company 'taking' over and decided that this was the time to jump ship. The other reason was we needed more room and a properly protected members area.
...to be continued when I get time, because the story isn't over yet.
From Terry Walls:
From the Introduction to my very late Family History - A Very Personal
I should also acknowledge the wonderful support I have been given by
"invisible friends". These are the band of people on the Internet whom
I have communicated with consistently over the last nine years and who
have provided me with valuable information and encouragement. The late
Dennis Boniface deserves a special mention because it was this distant
cousin who got me involved with the Boniface "gang" on the Internet.
When I joined the Sussex family History Group I found that someone
called Dennis Boniface was researching the name and I sent him an email
- this must have been in 1993. It turned out to be my third cousin once
removed. Through him, I "met" Steve Everitt (alias the 'Kodger') and
then Betty Deforest. Dennis said "you need to contact Steve in Canada
he has all these records - I'm in contact with him regularly". Through
this connection I discovered Betty. Betty is a third cousin twice
removed and, like me and many of the members of what is now known as the
BonifaceInternet Group (BIG), was born in Sussex and then migrated
elsewhere whilst young.
I am proud to be considered a "founding member" of BIG and certainly
encouraged Steve in the early days when our little internet group number
about 8 members."