DGS Tech SIG Meets This Thursday, Dec 1

Technology SIG

The December meeting of the Dallas Genealogical Society’s Technology Special Interest Group is this Thursday, December 1 from 6-8 pm.

5th Floor Hamon room, J Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young Street, Dallas, 75201.  Map.

Topic: On-line Educational Opportunities: Review various on-line educational opportunities. There are excellent websites which offer high quality, online classes as live presentations or as on-demand viewing. Access to the presentations may be free, by subscription or as a one time fee. We will review and discuss several of these educational programs, beginning with the “Lynda.com” website offered as a free service to holders of Dallas Public Library cards. Other sites to be discussed include the National Archives (NARA), FamilySearch, Ancestry.com, FamilyTreeWebinars.com, and more.

Join the conversation using our GoTo Meeting account (note that we are limited to 25 users), if you are not able to attend in person.

GoToMeeting is a web based tool that will allow you to view the presentation on your computer. 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).

Thursday, December 1, 2016, 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM Central time; https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/270215877.

There also is an audio only phone number: Use this if you run into trouble getting connected: +1 (224) 501-3412 with the same Access Code: 270215877

SIG Leader:,Suzan Younger, technologysig@dallasgenealogy.org.

DGS DNA Interest Group Meets This Thursday, Nov 17


The November meeting of the Dallas Genealogical Society’s DNA Special Interest Group is this Thursday at 6pm on the 5th floor of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young Street, Dallas, 7201.

Program: 3 SIG members attended the FamilyTreeDNA Genetic Genealogy Conference this past weekend in Houston. They will discuss updates and explanations of new tools available, plus exciting changes in FTDNA.

The meeting is free and open to the public.

SIG leader: Mic Barnette, dna@dallasgenealogy.org.

DGS Adds 2 New SIGs

Society News

The Dallas Genealogical Society is sponsoring two new special interest groups, led by DGS Life Member Tresa Tatyrek.

The Roots Magic SIG offers group discussion and sharing of information about the RootsMagic genealogy software running on PCs (Windows) and the Mac. The goal is to help each other utilize the software to its fullest extent. The group meets the 2nd Sunday of the month (September, December, March and June) from 1:30 to 2:30 pm on the 5th floor of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library in downtown Dallas. The inaugural meeting is Sunday, September  11.

Contact rootsmagicsig@dallasgenealogy.org for details.

The Next Generation Sitebuilder SIG is a facilitated group for those utilizing The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding tool to put genealogical research on line. The group meets the 2nd Sunday of the month (September, December, March and June) from 3:00 to 4:00 pm on the 5th floor of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library in downtown Dallas. The inaugural meeting is Sunday, September 11.

Contact tngsitebuildersig@dallasgenealogy.org for details.

Both groups are free and open to the public.

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 Jewish SIG meets this Wednesday, July 20

Jewish SIG

The July meeting of Dallas Genealogical Society’s Jewish interest group will be held this Wednesday the 20th from 10am to 1pm on the 8th floor of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young Street, Dallas, 75201.

Learn the terminology of the Jewish faith and race and the various methods for researching these families. Emphasis is on cultural differences (from other races and creeds) which may require alternative genealogical research methods and records from those usually employed. Domestic (United States) and international aspects are both explored.

Meetings are free and open to the public.

Leader: Elizabeth “Liz” Kutz: jewishgen@dallasgenealogy.org.

Preserving Our “Stuff”

Join the Dallas Genealogy Society on July 29 & 30, 2016
Denise Levenick presents a 7-part program:
Preserving & Sharing Our Family History


News came to us yesterday of the death on May 2, 2016 of Margaret Ann (Schmidt) Hudson (1943-2016). Margaret Ann was an avid genealogist who served the DGS over many years in several capacities, including president in 1983-1984. Her obituary states that “in her pursuit of family history and stories, she amassed a substantial collection of materials and documents.”1 Her son, Matthew Hudson, fondly noted that Margaret Ann gave books of genealogical charts to each of her children.


Another son, James Hudson, reported in a Dallas Morning News blog that his grandfather and Margaret Ann’s father-in-law, Elmore Hudson, left a massive collection of photographs and negatives. Included in his collection were several 1936 photos capturing the construction and early days of Fair Park buildings in Dallas, Texas. Margaret Ann alerted James to the collection and the family subsequently preserved “each picture and negative in acid-free sleeves, numbered, [and] boxed.”2


Denise May Levenick

Denise May Levenick, our DGS Summer Seminar speaker, comments in her blog (The Family Curator) that “in every family, someone ends up with “the stuff”.”3 Margaret Ann Hudson organized and published her research findings and passed them on to her children in book form. Her children, in turn, preserved and shared their grandfather’s photography collection. These are two examples of  wonderful outcomes for any family historian!

All family history researchers have “stuff” –
usually, lots of stuff.

As in the case of Elmore Hudson’s photographic collection, some of our personal collections are well-organized and preserved using good archival practices. But the reality for many of us is that our stuff consists of a challenging array of physical and digital formats and is stored or stashed in every conceivable manner.


We know our research records and family treasures are valuable and vulnerable. We want practical approaches to organization, preservation, and sharing that do not require advanced technical degrees and small fortunes to implement.

When Denise Levenick inherited her grandmother’s trunk filled with photos, documents, and family keepsakes, she set about adapting archival practices for the organization and preservation of these family treasures. She understands the challenges we face in organizing, preserving, sharing, and passing on our family records, keepsakes, and miscellaneous “stuff”. She feels our pain.

Denise Levenick | July 29 & 30, 2016
Preserving & Sharing Our Family History


Denise’s 20 plus years of research and practice resulted in her blog, which contains practical tips, techniques, and DIY projects. She has also published two books: How to Archive Family Keepsakes and How to Archive Family Photos. 

Denise is a frequent contributor to family history magazines and online publications, and presenter for webinars and workshops. She is also a member of the 2016 faculty for the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh.

Register now for this Special Event!

1. “In memory of Margaret Ann Hudson,” Dignity Memorial, Memorial Funeral Chapel College Station, (http://obits.dignitymemorial.com/dignity-memorial/obituary.aspx?n=Margaret-Hudson&lc=4540&pid=179864821&mid=6913451# : accessed 5 June 2016).

2. Wilonsky, Robert. “The story behind a stack of rarely seen photos of Fair Park under construction in 1936,” The Dallas Morning News, City Hall Blog, 3 June 2016 (http://cityhallblog.dallasnews.com/2016/06/the-story-behind-a-stack-of-rarely-seen-photos-of-fair-park-under-construction-in-1936.html/#more-56945 : accessed 5 June 2016), paras. 8 & 11.

3. Levenick, Denise May. “About Denise Levenick, The Family Curator,” The Family Curator, 2016 (http://thefamilycurator.com/ : accessed 5 June 2016), para. 1.

April General Meeting Materials Available

Did you miss our April meeting? Watch the business portion here!

View on YouTube | March 5 meeting

Unfortunately, Ari Wilkins outstanding presentation on Ante-Bellum Southern Plantation Records was not recorded. Here is some of the feedback we received:

  • OUTSTANDING!  Best ever!
  • One of the best monthly meetings I’ve been too in a long time.  It was more like a seminar than a meeting!
  • This was an amazing session. I learned a ton about the period leading up to the civil war as well as records and techniques. The case studies were well done, interesting and relevant! I was amazed that the slide count was nearly 90 at the end – time flew by with the info and story telling. Really great session!
  •  I would very much like a copy of her syllabus, please! The presentation was one of the best I have ever attended at the DGS  regular meetings. Kudos to Ari and her work on southern records.

Ari has generously provided us with a PDF copy of her syllabus.

It’s Almost Milner Time!

Saturday, March 12, 2016 | Registration 9:30 AM | Seminar 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM

Information & Registration

In a few weeks, Paul Milner will be with us for our Spring Seminar. We’ve been looking forward to this event for several months and are very pleased with the great response from the genealogical community. We’ve even booked a booth at the North Texas Irish Festival to promote the Seminar and the Society. (If you’re at the Festival here in Dallas, March 4-6, please stop by!) I think it’s great for the Society to be visible in  the community at events like this, especially with family history research capturing the interest of so many people of all ages.


Return Visit

I first heard Paul speak at a DGS seminar, “Irish Research”, on 29 February 2009. It was the first genealogical event I ever attended. I was introduced to the awful destruction of vast numbers of Irish records in 1922 in the Public Records Office at the Four Courts during the Battle of Dublin. Paul also explained in depth the process of locating families in mid-nineteenth century Ireland using the Tithe Applotment and Griffith’s Primary Valuation. Even with his step-by-step guidance, I found this a daunting research prospect!

But what most captured my interest was his enthusiastic demonstration of a free new website: Ask About Ireland.  Here is a site where you can search for your ancestors in Griffith’s Valuation and locate their property on maps created at the time of the Valuation. In a wonderful application of technology, the old maps are overlaid on modern maps. I was thrilled with the discovery process this offered to link my ancestors’ homes and farms to current locations in Ireland. In 2011, I used this website to create a video showing the old and new town of Saintfield for the reunion of the descendants of Hugh Murray, my great-grandfather who emigrated from Northern Ireland in 1857.

In 2009, I found that DGS Seminar with Paul Milner a great value. I still remark on the value the Society’s seminars offer local family history researchers. For most attendees, there are no hotel and travel costs, except gas or public transportation. The day-long event includes four lectures from an acknowledged authority. What a pleasure for the Dallas Genealogical Society to be able to offer this to the community!

Lecture Topics

Paul will be giving four lectures and covering a lot of geography!

  • Effective Use of England’s National Archives Website
    Learn how to effectively use the research tools, indexes and catalogs on this large website to find your ancestors and to put them into their correct historical context
  • Irish Emigrants to North America: Before, During and After the Famine
    Learn about the routes taken and the reasons for the emigration from Ireland to the U.S. and Canada before, during and after the famine. Learn how this mass movement of people can affect your research, plus what tools and records are available to trace your Irish ancestor.
  • Scottish Emigration to North America: Before, During and After the Rebellions
    Learn the reasons for emigration from Scotland to the U.S. and Canada and how it was influenced by events on both sides of the Atlantic. Learn where the emigrants settled, what records they created and what tools are available for tracing your Scottish ancestors.
  • Overlooked Sources for 17th and 18th century English Research
    Going beyond the basics learn what records, published and originals are available for 17th and 18th century English research jumping the gap created by England’s Civil War and the problems of migration due to the industrial revolution.


1st floor Auditorium
J. Erik Jonsson Central Library
1515 Young Street
Dallas Texas, 75201
Parking: $1.50 in the library garage

Information & Registration

Looking Ahead

We are very excited about our 2016 Seminar line-up. Paul is kicking off this year’s events in March. This summer, Denise Levenick, aka The Family Curator,  will be with us Friday and Saturday, July  29 and 30. Denise is an author and speaker specializing in the preservation of family heirlooms and using them as sources for family history research. Our Fall seminar features Curt Witcher, the almost legendary manager of Special Collections & Genealogy at Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana.


Stay tuned to the DGS blog for more information about upcoming seminars.

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