Online registration ends Wednesday night!

Online Registration Ends Tomorrow, September 27, 2017

Only 15 seats remain! Don’t miss this great opportunity to spend a day in Dallas with

D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS

a nationally recognized genealogical author, lecturer, and researcher.

More Information

Getting to know D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS

This fall, our speaker will be D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS. If you’re an avid watcher of genealogy television like I am, you may recognize him from various shows. Most recently, he is one of the hosts of the popular PBS series, Genealogy Roadshow. His interest in genealogy dates from an early age (10!), and he credits his grandmother as his earliest genealogical inspiration. When I googled “interview with D. Joshua Taylor”, I found an interesting interview with him at in which he predicts advancements in genealogical research as well as shares his own research challenges — a peripatetic circus performer?

Learn more about our fabulous fall speaker at his website and read more about the resource goldmines you’ll hear about on September 30.

Registration is open now. Please join us!

Register Now     Register By US Mail


It’s not too late!


It’s not too late! This Friday and Saturday, please join us for our Summer Seminar featuring Lisa Louise Cooke, Sunny Morton & Diahan Southard talking about Sources, Storytelling & DNA.

Although our online registration has closed, we encourage walk-ins. Registration opens at 9:30 AM Friday morning at the downtown Dallas Public Library. For walk-ins, we can’t promise a syllabus or offer you lunch, but please join us! We only accept cash or check for walk-in registrations, so no credit cards on the day — sorry!

Three professional genealogical speakers will address a number of current topic areas, including DNA, newspaper research, and sharing your family history through writing and video. These dynamic individuals have diverse expertise that will make our 2-day event a mini-conference with sessions that appeal to a range of novice and experienced researchers.

2 Days  |   3 Speakers   |   8 Sessions

Check out the Sneak Video Previews below!

Sneak Previews!
Lisa Louise Cooke Preview
Diahan Southard Preview


Getting to know Sunny Morton and Diahan Southard

We are fortunate to welcome Sunny Morton and Diahan Southard as two of the three speakers for the DGS Summer Seminar on August 4 and 5. If you’ve never heard them speak, you’re in for a treat! Registration is open now, so please join us!


Sunny Morton

Sunny McClellan Morton is an award-winning writer and speaker. She has developed courses for Family Tree University and has authored My Life & Times: A Guided Journal for Collecting Your Stories as well as the forthcoming How to Find Your Family History in U.S. Church Records. At RootsTech 2017, she taught a session on “Big 4: Comparing Ancestry, findmypast, FamilySearch and MyHeritage”; you can see the video at Sunny is also an editor for Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems blog and podcasts and is a contributing editor for Family Tree Magazine.



Diahan SouthardDiahan Southard has been interested in DNA since high school and has made it her career, first with Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation and now as Your DNA Guide. Like Sunny, Diahan also presented at RootsTech 2017 on “DNA: The Glue that Holds Families Together.” Diahan has also appeared in several Family Tree webinars and, in fact, has a free one on Friday, June 16 at 1:00 PM CDT on the topic, What Now? Your Next Steps with Autosomal DNA. My favorite ones, though, are the “Watch Geoff Live” seminars she’s done with the webinar host, Geoffrey Rasmussen. These are unscripted session where Diahan walks Geoff through his DNA test results, making discoveries and breaking a brick wall or two along the way. (Note: The older webinars can be viewed by webinar subscribers or you can purchase a digital download of individual seminars that may be of interest to you.)


Join us August 4th and 5th at the J. Erik Jonsson Library to hear these great speakers. 

You just think you know what Google can do!

Lisa Louise Cooke

Google may have started as a search engine back in the mid-1990s to find files on the Internet, but it’s grown into so much more. The free tools that are now available from Google can be invaluable to genealogists — experienced or newbie. Sure, there’s Google Search, Google Drive and GMAIL, but now there’s also Google Books, Google Maps, Google Translate, Google Earth and more! Come and learn from Lisa Louise Cooke, author of The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox (2nd Edition). I had the opportunity to see Lisa present a session on Google Earth at a conference several years ago and was totally enthralled, especially when she showed how to overlay historical maps on Google Earth, making your ancestor’s neighborhood that much more alive.

Lisa will be one of our presenters at the DGS Summer Seminar, Friday & Saturday, August 4 & 5.  Her sessions include Google Tools & Procedures for Solving Family History Mysteries, Get the Scoop on Your Ancestors with Newspapers, 10 Ways to Enhance Your Genealogy with Video, and How to Create Exciting Interactive Family History Tours with Google Earth.

Lisa is the owner of Genealogy Gems, a genealogy and family history multi-media company. She is producer and host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, the popular online genealogy audio show as well as the Family History: Genealogy Made Easy podcast, both available at www.GenealogyGems.comin iTunes, and through the Genealogy Gems app. She is a international genealogy speaker, an author of multiple books and multi-media materials and even has her own YouTube channel. On July 12th, Lisa will present on Google Books: the tool you should use every day! through Legacy Tree Webinars  (

We’re fortunate to have Lisa Louise Cooke join us for the DGS Summer Seminar! Registration is now open, so please sign up and join us in August.

Educational Programs People Want

Early Registration Ends Monday, September 5, 2016


Register Now   –   Mail in Registration

At the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Springfield, Illinois this week, Curt Witcher spoke about the large gap between the current number of active members in genealogical societies and the millions of people currently involved in online family history research.  Seeking to narrow this gap, the Dallas Genealogical Society strives to align our educational services and programs with the interests of our members and with the needs of others in the community who are interested in genealogy, yet are not involved in a local genealogical society.

To that end, the DGS offers: (a) three seminars each year –  one or two all-day events with nationally known genealogical speakers; (b) eight monthly programs – one-hour talks from regional and local experts; and (c) several special interest groups – topical discussion groups led by society members. (You can get more information about these on the DGS website.)

On Saturday, September 17, 2016, Curt Witcher, a prominent genealogist, will present 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 lecture topics address the interests of our Society members as well as the interests of others engaged in family history research. A survey of our members indicated they would like to have research methods topics included in our seminars, as well as ethnic group research topics. The Fall Seminar includes two methodology lectures and a talk about German migration. The fourth topic is about Native American/First Nations research, an interest we heard from several persons who stopped by the DGS booth last March at the North Texas Irish Festival. Curt Witcher has the breadth and depth of expertise to address this range of research topics.

Not sure this seminar is for you?

Don’t be deterred if some topics aren’t a match for your interests! Be excited about:

  • Learning some unexpected knowledge nuggets;
  • Engaging in rewarding conversation with fellow researchers;
  • Supporting a genealogical society that strives to serve!

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

Register Now   –   Mail in Registration

Early Registration Ends Monday, September 5, 2016

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

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

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

Preview the Family Treasures

Copy of LevenickDenise-web-4

Preserving & Sharing Our Family Treasures

~ Denise May Levenick ~

July 29 & 30, 2016

before midnight, Wednesday, July 27
$160 (members) | $190 (non-members) | Lunches & Library Parking Included

Friday, July 29, 9:30 – 10:00
J. Erik Johsson Central Library | 1515 Young Street | Dallas, TX  75210

All day Friday and Saturday morning will feature six lectures offering tips, techniques, and best practices for preserving and sharing our family treasures. Learn about archiving, scanning, photo restoration, and estate planning – among other topics!

After lunch on Saturday, Denise will host the Heirloom Roadshow: Two sessions featuring keepsake submissions from members of the audience. We had to close the roadshow submissions to give Denise time to research each of them. She thinks we have an interesting mix of keepsakes to discuss. I think she’s right! See for yourself: Here’s a brief preview!


Barbara Ware submitted a gourd with what her family believes to be gunpowder inside. They think it is Civil War era as their great grandfather fought with the 16th Mississippi CSA.

Barbara is curious to know the best method to find out if it is gun powder – without it being confiscated by police? She asks how and where should they store it?


Bud Hopkins submitted this little booklet written and copyrighted by his maternal great grandmother, Ella Mary MATLOCK Van Osdel (1840-1925), and published by the Woman’s Temperance Publishing Association in Chicago in 1897. In addition to her writings, a photograph of a tintype of her mother Elizabeth B. JOHNSON Matlock (1818-1882) is included in the front, along with a sketch of her infant son “Willie” (about 1862-1862) probably drawn by her daughter Elizabeth VAN OSDEL Cowan (1863-1932), a portrait artist, and a poem entitled “Willie” written by her husband Charles Ruland Van Osdel (1840-1917).

Bud wants to know what he should  do to preserve this 119 year old keepsake for his children and grandchildren?


Ken Johnston submitted his Dad’s leather jacket, acquired in the mid-50s. His Mom leans toward it being a jacket that  belonged to his Dad’s paternal uncle. The tag for the brand looks as though it was removed or torn out. The jacket has not been worn for many years, and has been hanging in the closet covered with a black plastic trash bag. The leather has dried out and is stiff, and there are some spots of mold and wear on it.

Ken would like to restore the jacket and intends to pass it along to another family member in years ahead. He’d like advice on maintaining it in a restored condition so that it does not become dried out and/or moldy.

Please join us at our Summer Seminar!

before midnight, Wednesday, July 27
$160 (members) | $190 (non-members) | Lunches & Library Parking Included

Friday, July 29, 9:30 – 10:00
J. Erik Johsson Central Library | 1515 Young Street | Dallas, TX  75210

You Can’t Take It with You!

Preserving & Sharing Our Family Treasures

2016 DGS Summer Seminar – July 29 & 30, 2016


Most of us have some family treasures we deem worthy of preservation. My mother saved many certificates and diplomas marking achievements and graduations in her life. Many of these documents were rolled and then bound by satin ribbons. Among the diplomas was her 1937 college diploma written in Latin on sheepskin and signed by her cousin, the college Dean. After Mom died Dad saved all of these documents, which I now have.

My father was an anti-hoarder, a possession minimalist. So, what he did keep might reflect what was most important to him: a hand-stitched, khaki green, cloth bag containing a crucifix and sown-on religious medals; a Teamster’s Union pin; a prayer folded to fit in the inside band of his cap. His personal treasures – left behind, never mentioned, now in my possession.

There was also a handful of objects in our home that came from my parents’ ancestors. Mom had her father’s wooden-handled hand drill and a doll someone brought home from a pre-WWII trip to Holland. Dad had a small variety of objects: his immigrant Irish grandfather’s shillelagh; a large framed studio photograph of his mother at age 13-16; a cup and saucer originating in some unclear fashion from his immigrant Scottish grandfather, who was a potter; and a pair of leather mittens lined with a soft fur that he brought home from his European tour in WWII.

I have my grandfather’s drill and one of my sisters has the Dutch doll. I know Dad gave his Mom’s photograph to his youngest sister and the cup and saucer to another of his daughters. I don’t know the whereabouts of the shillelagh or the mittens.

Lastly, one day in the 1970’s a trunk arrived from Dad’s recently deceased aunt, his mother’s sister. Among other objects, it contained a collection of costume jewelry and four matching bowls and plates. I have this pottery, which I discovered was made in the Mount Clemens pottery in Michigan where my Dad’s uncle worked. This uncle was also a potter and a brother of my Dad’s mother.

These few objects are the “stuff” of my parents that has remained, some of it with me and some not. I ask myself: What am I going to do with this stuff? Will any family members want it after I can no longer care for it?


I have also accumulated many pictures and records documenting my family’s history. How best should I preserve them? How can I assure that my keepsakes and records pass on to a loving steward?

I expect Denise Levenick will have some answers for me and many others asking similar questions. I am very happy that she is coming to speak at the Dallas Genealogical Society’s summer seminar, July 29th and 30th.

I heard Denise speak at Rootstech 2014 in Salt Lake City. I was impressed by the range and depth of her knowledge about preservation. She brings sound archival practice within the reach of many of us. She understands the challenges we face. Her tips and techniques are practical and affordable. I think of her as the original “DIY Family Curator”.

Among the topics she will address, we are fortunate that she will be presenting “Estate Planning for Genealogists”, a topic debuting this July in Denise’s course, Family Archiving: Heirlooms in the Digital Age, at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP). This timely presentation is just one reason to attend the Summer Seminar!

You Can’t Take it with You: Estate Planning for Genealogists” — Who will care for your family archive when you’re gone? This session will look at creative solutions for distributing family heirlooms when settling an estate, how to be an attractive donor to institutional archives, and how to prepare a simple genealogical codicil. We’ll also discuss options for preserving your family history stories and photos in legacy online digital archives.
– Denise May Levenick

I am also excited about the “Heirloom Roadshow” Denise will be hosting. People have already submitted interesting preservation challenges for the Roadshow. This interactive session should be a lot of fun! You can submit your heirloom to the Roadshow online.

If you have not already done so, I encourage you to register for Denise’s seminar!

Early registration ends July 10th!

Preserving & Sharing Our Family Treasures

Friday – Saturday, July 29 – 30, 2016

10:00 AM – 4:30 PM

1st floor Auditorium | J. Erik Jonsson Central Library
1515 Young Street | Dallas Texas, 75201