North Texas Giving Day Update

Thanks to our generous donors we have accumulated the funds required to digitize our society’s entire collection of early Quarterlies. Created between 1955 and 1994, these 161 publications contain more than 9000 pages!

Once digitized, the Quarterlies will join their successors on The Portal To Texas History:

Thus, our efforts to digitize, preserve, and archive this important part of our society’s history will be completed, and all of these publications will be freely accessible to the public.

Results from the 2017 North Texas Giving Day event are still preliminary, but as of now (mid September) the total of our fundraising effort stands at $4,475:

  • $430 – Cash donations made at our General Meetings and Fall Seminar
  • $370  – Advance donations made via the DGS website
  • $1000 – Rescuing Texas History Grant from the University of  North Texas Libraries
  • $2675 – Donations made through the North Texas Giving Day event

Overall this year’s event raised $39 million for 2,723 organizations. Since its inauguration in 2009 more than $195 million dollars has been raised for North Texas nonprofits.

2016 DGS Results

The DGS participated in the 2016 North Texas Giving Day event, resulting in a $5239.73  donation to The Cathy Nelson Hartman Portal to Texas History Endowment ($2739.73 from donations made during the 2016 North Texas Giving Day event and $2500 matching funds provided by the Dallas Genealogical Society).

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

Probate Record Update

May was another productive month for the Probate Indexing project… a total of 159 cases were completed, bringing us to a total of 584 (just a hair under 19%).

Congratulations (and deep gratitude) to our indexers:

  • Karen Walker (60)
  • Joe Connelly (47)
  • Gloria Goodwin (28)
  • John Withers (19)
  • Susan Rainwater (4)
  • Tony Hanson (1)

Anybody interested in lending a hand can see which cases we are working on and get full details on our Volunteer SignUp Page.

Volunteers Making Progress On Probate Records

CaptureVolunteers have completed work on the first 50 cases from the Dallas County Probate Records (1850 – 1900) collection that was recently digitized and made available on The Portal to Texas History digital archive.

The date range, and in some cases the actual date of death, is now recorded in the metadata fields for these cases (this information was not documented by the county clerks who recorded each case, and it was not indexed when DGS members microfilmed the records in 1977.

This project is a great example of how the DGS has, and continues to, fulfill its mission to preserve records pertaining to the greater Dallas region:

  • The original paper records were preserved by DGS volunteers using then state of the art technology (microfilm) in 1977. At that time the paper records were already deteriorating.
  • In 2013 the DGS initiated an effort to digitize the microfilms. The University of North Texas  agreed to perform the digitization and to archive the digital images on The Portal to Texas History. DGS members transcribed the index created in 1977 and this information was incorporated into the metadata for each case.
  • In this latest phase of the effort we are examining the images from each case to determine the dates associated with each case, and we are utilizing current technology to allow anybody with a computer, smart phone or tablet and internet access to participate.

We have made rapid progress on the first 50 cases, but there are many more remaining to be done. This is a great way to help us give back to family history researchers with North Texas interests… So far, researching one of these cases is taking, on average, less than 20 minutes. We have complete instructions (even a video!) explaining what you need to do and how to do it. Please go to our Get Involved page, select a Case and become part of the effort to complete this project!

Help Us Index Probate Records

probate_case_3100Back in the late 1970’s DGS members microfilmed documents related to 3100 probate cases filed in Dallas County from 1850 to the early 1900’s.

In 2015 the DGS partnered with the University of North Texas to have those microfilms digitized, and they are now available on their Portal to Texas History. DGS members pitched in again and transcribed the index to the microfilms, so the images have quite a bit of metadata available for each case.

Sadly, the index did not include any information about when the cases were filed or disposed of.

So… we have launched another phase of this project, with the goal of associating a date range and, when possible, the date of death, for each one of the 3100 cases.

Pitching in is easy… we have complete instructions (even a video showing you every step) in the ‘Get Involved’ section of our web site.

DGS Technology SIG Meets Thursday, January 7

When: 6:00 – 8:00 pm on Thursday, January 7, 2016
Where: 5th Floor Hamon room, J Erik Jonsson Central Public Library, 1515 Young Street, Dallas, 75201.  Map

The presentation is “Your Digital Afterlife,” which refers to all of those digital assets you’ve created. These assets include files, pictures, videos, genealogy websites, Facebook,blogs, cloud storage sites, etc. What happens to your digital assets when you can no longer access them or, ultimately, after your death? We will discuss issues to be considered for your digital assets.

For those of you who cannot attend in person please join the conversation using the DGS GoTo Meeting account (note that we are limited to 25 users).

GTM logoGoTo meeting is a web based tool that will allow you to see whatever the leader shows the in-person group on his/her laptop. It also has an audio bridge and your choice of using your telephone or your PC’s microphone and speaker (actually a headset works better).

You will need to download some free software which works on just about any type of PC, laptop, tablet or smart phone.

Thu, Jan. 7, 2016, 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM Central Daylight Time
Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
This is the URL you will use to join us on Thursday:; access code=270-215-877.
Use this audio phone number if you run into trouble getting connected: +1 (224) 501-3412 with the same Access Code: 270215877.



The Portal to Texas History – One of the Best State Genealogy Web Sites of 2015

Family Tree Magazine annually evaluates genealogy/family history web sites and publishes a list of the 101 best. This year The Portal to Texas History, a University of North Texas Libraries’ Digital Projects Unit, has been recognized as an exemplary state-focused web site.

From the Portal’s web site: The Portal is a gateway to Texas history materials. You may discover anything from an ancestor’s picture to a rare historical map. From prehistory to the present day, you can explore unique collections from Texas libraries, museums, archives, historical societies, genealogical societies, and private family collections. The Portal continues to grow as additional partners contribute digital versions of their collections. We hope you’ll return often to discover our latest additions.

As a Portal partner, the Dallas Genealogical Society continues to donate many of its publications to The Portal to Texas History in the interest of furthering genealogical research. We are very pleased that this archive has been acknowledged as an important repository.

DGS Receives Digitization Grant

The Dallas Genealogical Society has received a 2015 Rescuing Texas History grant!

We will be working with University of North Texas library staff to make our 2011 and 2012 Journals available on the Portal To Texas History. The 1995 – 2010 issues of the Journal have already been digitized : This effort will complete the collection (the Journal was replaced with Pegasus: Journal of the Dallas Genealogical Society in 2013).

The DGS also received a Rescuing Texas History grant in 2013 to digitized Dallas County Probate records on the Portal To Texas History.

The Freedmen’s Bureau Project

To help bring thousands of records to light, the Freedmen’s Bureau Project was created as a set of partnerships between FamilySearch International and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Afro­-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS), and the California African American Museum.

A press conference to talk about this indexing project will be streamed live tomorrow, June 19th (the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth) beginning at 10am PDT/noon CDT/1pm EDT. Link to  The web site also provides details about the project.


HISTORICAL NOTE: On June 19 (“Juneteenth”), 1865, Union general Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas and issued General Order Number 3, which read in part, “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.” Source:  Texas State Historical Society, The Handbook of Texas.