DGS Tech SIG Meets This Thursday, Sept 1

Technology SIG

The September meeting of the Dallas Genealogical Society’s Technology interest group will be held this Thursday, Sept 1, from 6 to 8pm on the 5th floor of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young Street, Dallas TX, 75201.

The presentation is “Paying it forward: public indexing projects.” All genealogists rely on indexes – at the back of a book, as a printed index for a record set or for an on-line database. These accessible indexes don’t come with the record group. And they don’t appear like magic. They must be created and maintained by organizations and individuals. Thousands of volunteers work on indexing projects every year as more and more records are made available on-line or in printed books. Are you one of those volunteers?

Join SIG leader Suzan Younger (technologysig@dallasgenealogy.org) as the group identifies various indexing projects and takes an in-depth look at two or three projects that need your help. Did you know that our Dallas Genealogical Society is looking for volunteers to help index Dallas County probate records?

The meeting is free and open to the public.

If you can’t attend in person, please join us from home via GotoMeeting: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/270215877.

Fall Seminar with Curt Witcher


Register Now   –   Mail in Registration

Early Registration Ends Monday, September 5, 2016

The Dallas Genealogical Society has a wonderful Society Newsletter archive available on its website. I wondered how Curt Witcher’s last visit with the DGS had been reported. He was the featured lecturer in February 2002 in the Discovering Genealogical Sources lecture series. I found this article in the archive (Volume 25, Number 10, Issue 224, page 183):


Source: 2002-01 | Volume 25, Number 10, Issue 224 (January)

Curt Witcher is now the Senior Manager for Special Collections at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, IN where he manages The Genealogy Center, the institution’s Rare and Fine Book Collection, and the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection of Abraham Lincoln materials. Curt is the project lead on many of the library’s digitization initiatives–initiatives that include partnerships with the FamilySearch International, the Internet Archive, ProQuest, Ancestry, Fold3, and WeRelate–as well as growing a site of free, searchable data files at GenealogyCenter.org.

In addition to the more than five hundred record and methodology articles he has penned for genealogical periodicals, Curt has participated in many family history conferences and seminars across the country, presenting ideas and strategies to help individuals find and tell their family stories. He was honored in May of 2007 with the National Genealogical Society’s P. William Filby award for outstanding, life-time contributions to genealogical librarianship. (I note that the first Filby award was presented in 1999 to Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck of the Dallas Public Library, Dallas, Texas.)

On Saturday, September 17, 2016, Curt is presenting four lectures at the DGS Fall Seminar,  Sources & Methods for Family History Research.


Session 1.            Historical Research Methodology:  Engaging the Process to Find all the Answers

Session 2.            German Migration into the Midwest

Session 3.            Fingerprinting Our Families: Using Ancestral Origins as a Genealogical Research Key

Session 4.            Native American/First Nations Research

Session Descriptions and Seminar Information

The seminar will be held in the first floor Auditorium of the Dallas Public Library, 1515 Young Street in Dallas. This beautiful facility seats 179 persons – not quite the 240 seats available to family history researchers in 2002, but still a good number!


Auditorium at the Dallas Public Library

In 2002, the DGS Newsletter reported that Curt’s lecture was a sell-out (Volume 26, Number 1, Issue 225, page 7)! The article notes Curt’s graciousness in answering all questions during breaks and lunch. It describes the lecture as both a “good time” and “information-packed”. I expect no less graciousness or expertise on Curt’s part when he joins us on September 17th.


Source: 2002-02 | Volume 26, Number 1, Issue 225 (February)

Please help us welcome Curt Witcher back to Dallas for this very special event!

Register Now   –   Mail in Registration

Early Registration Ends Monday, September 5, 2016

DGS Receives 2016 Rescuing Texas History Grant

The Dallas Genealogical Society is pleased to announce that we are the recipient of a 2016 Rescuing Texas History grant from the University of North Texas. This grant will fund activities required to place the 2013 and 2014 editions of Pegasus – The Journal of the Dallas Genealogical Society on the Portal to Texas History.

The DGS has benefited from previous Rescuing Texas History grants:

Work still continues on the Probate Records… The images are all available on the Portal, but DGS volunteers are examining the images to determine the date range and other information about each case. This is something you can do from the comfort of your own home. See our Volunteer Signup page for details on how you can help!

What will you be doing on September 22?

Do you have plans for Thursday, September 22, 2016?

With your help, this will be a very special day for the Dallas Genealogical Society and the University of North Texas Portal to Texas History.

As you probably know, the Portal to Texas History is an amazing online repository of rare, historical and primary source materials from or about Texas. The Dallas Genealogical Society is one of more than 300 partner societies who have made resources available that are viewed by more than a half a million people from around the world every month.

The DGS has been the recipient of numerous “Rescuing Texas History” grants that have helped us digitize our materials: in fact, we were just notified on August 16 that we received another one that will make the 2013 and 2014 editions our acclaimed Pegasus – Journal of the Dallas Genealogical Society publication available on the Portal.

Now it is time for us to give back a little.

The Portal to Texas History Endowment fund was established by the UNT libraries in 2012. And in 2015, it received a National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant of $500,000. As a part of UNT’s commitment for the grant they have accepted the challenge of raising an additional $1.5 million dollars over the next several years.

The board of directors of the Dallas Genealogical Society has decided to help UNT reach their goal by allocating $2,500 to be used as matching funds for donations made through the DGS. And we will be kicking this fund raising effort off as part of the North Texas Day of Giving, which will be held on September 22 this year.

All you need to do is go the DGS page on their website on September 22 and make a donation of $25 or more. The DGS will match each donation on a dollar for dollar basis, up to a total of $2,500.

In addition, please tell your friends, neighbors, relatives and fellow genealogists about what we are trying to do. When you see posts about this on our Facebook page, re-post it so your Facebook friends get the word. In short, help us make sure that Portal to Texas History will continue to grow and be available for future researchers.

The link to our page on the North Texas Giving Day web site is provided below. Go there now to see the short video we have created to learn more about this effort.


Tony Hanson – President

2016 – 2017 Budget

It has been a busy summer for the DGS! We have just concluded a highly successful summer Seminar featuring Denise Levenick, and are gearing up for our September 17 Fall Seminar featuring the ever popular Curt Witcher.

As required by our bylaws, a budget committee was created earlier this year to create a financial blueprint for the upcoming year. David Temple (Past President and former Treasurer), Sandra Crowley (Past President), Kathleen Murray (Vice President) and myself have been meeting under the direction of committee chair Susan Rainwater (Treasurer) and have produced a proposed budget for 2016 – 2017. It was reviewed and approved by the Board of Directors at the August 6 board meeting and will be presented to the membership for approval at our September 10 general meeting.

Please take a few minutes to review the proposed budget (view it here). If you have questions or comments I would be happy to try to answer them for you… just send me email (president@dallasgenealogy.org), or ask me at the September 10 meeting when those in attendance will be asked for a vote of approval.

Tony Hanson

President – Dallas Genealogical Society



DGS MacGen Reunion Group Meets Saturday, August 13

MacGen Reunion SIG

The Dallas Genealogical Society’s MacGen Reunion Interest Group meets this coming Saturday from 1-3pm on the 8th floor of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young Street, Dallas, TX  75201.

August program: Carolyn Davis will present Google Earth for the Mac and we’ll cover mapping your family locations, using Reunion and Google Maps.

In case you can’t make it in person on Saturday, please join us from home via GoToMeeting: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/840945093

You can also dial in using your phone:  +1 (872) 240-3311; Access Code: 840-945-093

First GoToMeeting? Try a test session: http://help.citrix.com/getready

Interest Group Leader: Happi McQuirk, macs@dallasgenealogy.org.

The meetings are free and open to all.

It’s a Privilege

For this Midwesterner it’s hard to imagine in our current 100-degree Dallas heat that Fall is actually coming. But one thing the approach of Fall means is that the Dallas Genealogical Society is once again offering a Fall educational seminar.

Curt Witcher, a nationally prominent genealogical speaker, is our featured speaker on Saturday, September 17, 2016. Registration is open and offered at a discounted rate to both members and non-members through midnight September 5, 2016.

Register Online      Register by Mail

CurtBWitcherYou may recognize Curt Witcher as the Senior Manager for Special Collections at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he manages the Genealogy Center. His is also a former president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National Genealogical Society and the founding president of the Indiana Genealogical Society.

I first encountered Curt Witcher when he delivered a keynote speech in 2011 at the first RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City. He spoke about genealogical societies and said things right-out-loud that inspired many and risked derision from others. I was inspired.

This respected member of the national genealogical community simultaneously chastised and uplifted societies. I thought: Here is a leader with a message of hope and solid ideas for the genealogical societies of the future.

At RootsTech that year he shared the keynote stage with a truly distinguished group:

  • Shane Robison – Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Technology Officer, 
Hewlett–Packard Company;
  • Brewster Kahle – Founder of the Internet Archive; and
  • Jay Verkler – CEO, FamilySearch International.

The second time I heard Curt speak was at the annual awards banquet of the 2012 Texas State Genealogical Society Annual Conference in Fort Worth, Texas. He stepped in as the banquet keynote speaker for Lloyd Bockstruck, who was unable to attend at the last minute. Curt admirably retooled a talk about the outreach efforts of the Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library, interleaving real life  stories of library patrons. It was a warm and touching speech that resonated with many hearts in that audience.

I most recently heard Curt speak in March of this year at the Williamson County Genealogical Society’s Annual Seminar in Round Rock, Texas. He did not disappoint.

His introductory remarks included: “I’ve always been a contrarian” and “I get snarkier with age”. Delightful: A man of immeasurable competence who makes no apologies for his intelligent analysis and critique, while delivering solid guidance to family history researchers.

When I found myself in a position to engage speakers for the Dallas Genealogical Society, Curt definitely made my short list. What a privilege to have him join us September 17, 2016, when he will deliver four lectures under the umbrella theme of Sources & Methods for Family History Research.

Session 1. Historical Research Methodology: Engaging the Process to Find all the Answers

Session 2. German Migration into the Midwest

Session 3. Fingerprinting Our Families: Using Ancestral Origins as a Genealogical Research Key

Session 4. Native American/First Nations Research

Please Join Us for this Wonderful Event!

Register Online      Register by Mail