City of Dallas Considering Library Budget Cuts, Reduced Hours

The Friends of the Dallas Public Library have reported that the Dallas City Council is considering a budget cut that would significantly impact the operations of the Dallas Public Library. If the budget cut is approved, the Dallas Public Library system will lose $2.35 million additional dollars that were promised to allow more hours of service at 15 branch locations, as well as money for computers for library classes. This would reverse a commitment made by last year’s council to restore hours of operation at all of our libraries.

If you are a Dallas resident, please contact your Dallas City Councilperson TODAY and let them know about your opposition to these cuts and consider attending upcoming city council meetings (there will be one on September 2 at 9:00 am) to voice your opinion. If you don’t know who your Council representative is, or which Council District you are in, link to this page on the City of Dallas web site and type in your address.

More details can be found on the update provided by the Friends of the Dallas Public Library.

Introducing Slate of Officers for DGS Board

WHAT:  September General Meeting of the Dallas Genealogical Society

WHEN: Saturday, September 5. Hospitality time, 10:30-11:00 am. Business Meeting, 11:00-11:30 am. Program, 11:30 am-12:30 pm.

WHERE: Auditorium. J.Erik Jonsson Central Library. Dallas, TX.  Directions

WHY: Election of officers for the Society’s 2015-2016 term (our 60th anniversary year). A quorum of members is needed in order to vote on the slate of officers and ratify the appointed Directors.  Bonus: all members in attendance at the meeting will be entered in a drawing to receive a free registration to our Fall Seminar on October 24 – Thinking, Assessing, & Storytelling: Genealogy Beyond Birth, Marriage, & Deathpresented by Dr. Michael Lacopo.

The following Slate of Officers will be presented for a vote.

  • President – Tony Hanson

Tony Hanson’s educational background and career have been focused on technology. By training an engineer, he is fascinated by the capabilities that the evolution of the personal computer, wireless technology and the internet have provided to us as individuals and as a society.

His hobbies include photography, travel and, of course, genealogy, particularly Norway (his father’s family) and Germany (mom’s side). Tony has been actively involved in researching both branches for the past 15 years. Tony wrote a history of his father’s side of the family (‘The Family of Hans Emahus Isakson’) in 2008.

Active in the Dallas Genealogical Society since 2009, Tony has held various positions (Webmaster, Technology SIG Leader and Director of Education). He is excited about working with such a knowledgeable and capable group of people on the DGS Board of Directors and looks forward to being a part of the team that will help launch the next 60-year period of the Dallas Genealogical Society.

  • Vice President – Kathleen Murray

Kathleen Murray began researching her family history in 2003 and joined the Dallas Genealogical Society in 2009. She holds a PhD in Information Science and a Certificate in Genealogical Studies. In 2013 she retired after 15 years as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of North Texas in Denton, TX. In that capacity she conducted user studies for state and national digital library and Web archiving projects. Prior to that, she held various management positions in sales, strategic planning, and new product development at Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in St. Louis, MO. She has presented research findings and educational programs at several local, regional, national, and international genealogy and library conferences.

  • Secretary – Brenda Cannon

Brenda Cannon brings a wealth of knowledge to the DGS secretary position with more than eight years of nonprofit management and working with nonprofit boards.  Notable is her membership in the African American Special Interest Group.  She also volunteers as part of the DFW Airports Ambassador program.

Brenda is a Navy veteran and graduated from UT Arlington with a degree in Information Systems.  She was born and raised in Northern Louisiana and now lives in Irving; she has two sons and a grandson.

  • Treasurer – Susan Rainwater

Susan Chance Rainwater has a BSC from Ohio University in Radio-Television Communications. She spent the first twenty-five years of her working life at a variety of television and video companies, including 5 1/2 years at Turner Broadcasting (WTBS).  In 1999, she left video for the Internet and works as a combination office manager-website technician for NCC Internet Services, based in Deep Ellum.

Born in Delaware, Susan became interested in genealogy after seeing the television mini-series, “Roots.”  She began active pursuit of this hobby/obsession in 1991, and has published a book on the genealogy of her husband’s family, ” The Family Tree of Clois R. Rainwater & Nancy Jane McIlhaney: One Texas Family’s Origins, 1706-2012.”  She has also authored four articles for Chesapeake Cousins (the Pegasus of the Upper Shore Genealogical Society), including one that was a write-up of a seminar sponsored by the DGS.

Susan is active on and  She has been married, since 1991, to Steve Rainwater, a native Texan.

In addition to the slate of officers who will be vote on, the membership will be asked to ratify the appointment of these Directors:


Education – Cheryl Freeman
Membership – Gloria Goodwin
Printing – Harmon Adair
Publicity – Carolyn Davis
Volunteers – Mic Barnette
Publication Content – (vacant)

PROGRAM: Following the short business meeting, Debra Polsky, Executive Director of the Dallas Jewish Historical Society will discuss the history of the Jewish community in Dallas, share information about a program her organization has initiated to discuss history and genealogy with Sunday schools, and will tell us about a new initiative being planned to engage with the community using extant family trees to show relationships within the community.

Seeking Nominations for TxSGS Volunteer of the Year

The Texas State Genealogical Society recognizes contributions made to member societies with their annual Volunteer of the Year award. Each member society is encouraged to nominate one of its members for the competition.

Who in the DGS do YOU think most deserves consideration for this year’s award?  Nominate them now using this form… The final selection will be made by the board of directors who will forward the nomination to the TSGS by the September 15 deadline.

DGS Technology SIG meets Sept 3

When: 6:00 – 7:45 pm on Thursday, September 3, 2015
Where: 5th Floor Hamon Room, J Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young Street, Dallas, TX, 75201
Leader: Suzan Younger

The first presentation will be an overview of software and web-based apps that can be used to plan, record and – maybe even publish – your research. Many members of the Tech SIG are seasoned researchers, so let’s share how we use software to do our research planning and recording and identify some “best practices.”

We will also talk about future Technology SIG topics.

For those of you who cannot join us in person, you can still be part of the evening by joining the conversation using our GoToMeeting account from home or wherever you happen to be at the time (note that we are limited to 25 users). GTM is a web-based tool that will allow you to see whatever the presenter is showing the in-person audience on his/her PC. 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 software (its free); details about GTM are on their website, and it works on just about any type of PC, laptop, tablet or smart phone out there.

GoToMeeting URL: Access Code: 270-215-877 (NOTE: New Code!)

There also is an audio-only phone number: +1 (872) 240-3311. Use this if you run into trouble getting connected.

Election of New Officers at Sept 5 Meeting

The Dallas Genealogical Society’s first General Meeting of the 2015-2016 year (our 60th anniversary!) will be held Saturday, September 5, in the first floor auditorium of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library in downtown Dallas.  Directions.

Hospitality time begins at 10:30 am and the short (but extremely important) business meeting will start at 11 am. The slate of officers for the 2015-2016 year will be voted on. DGS members are urged to attend; a quorum is needed in order to hold the election. The slate of new officers proposed by the Nominating Committee:

  • President – Tony Hanson
  • Vice President – Kathleen Murray
  • Secretary – Brenda Cannon
  • Treasurer – Susan Rainwater

GOOD NEWS: All DGS members who are in attendance will be entered into a drawing for a free registration to our Fall Seminar on Saturday, October 24 – Thinking, Assessing, & Storytelling: Genealogy Beyond Birth, Marriage & Death featuring Dr. Michael Lacopo.

Our featured speaker this month is Debra Polsky, Executive Director of the Dallas Jewish Historical Society. Debra will discuss the history of the Jewish community in Dallas, share information about a program her organization has initiated to discuss history and genealogy with Sunday schools, and will tell us about a new initiative being planned to engage with the community using extant family trees to show relationships within the community.

DGS Fall Seminar on 24 Oct

The Dallas Genealogical Society is excited to announce that its Fall Seminar will take place on Saturday, October 24, 2015.  “Thinking, Assessing, & Storytelling: Genealogy Beyond Birth, Marriage, & Death” will feature nationally-known speaker and genealogist Dr. Michael Lacopo.  The event will be held in the Auditorium of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library in Dallas, TX from 9:30 am – 4:45 pm. Directions.

Dr. Lacopo’s four topics will be:

1.  She Came From Nowhere – A Case Study Approach to a Difficult Genealogical Problem.  See the Genealogical Proof Standard in action, as well as how to look at a genealogical quandary from a social history perspective.

2.  Deconstructing Your Family Tree: Re-Evaluating the “Evidence”.  Make sure you are beating your head against the proper brick wall….when, where, and how can facts, records, and evidence be wrong?

3.  Incorporating Social History Into Your Research.  Learn to think outside the box and discover research methods to tell your ancestor’s story in a broader historical context — and you may just find some genealogical gems along the way!

4.  Medical Genealogy: A Primer of Diseases That Killed Our Ancestors and the Epidemics They Lived Through.  Life before vaccinations and antibiotics was no picnic. Discover the meaning of the archaic medical terms we skim over on mortality schedules and death certificates, and understand the medical history of your ancestors.

Dr. Lacopo was born and raised in northern Indiana.  Michael completed his doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1991, at the same time that he was honing his research skills. He treats his genealogical research as he does medicine – carefully, methodically and completely.  Having ancestors from many geographic locales as well as immigrants spanning the 17th century to the 20th century, Michael has developed a wide variety of proficiencies. He believes that as genealogists we should tell the tales or our ancestors and is a vocal proponent for learning the social history that interweaves our ancestors into the fabric of the past. Dr. Lacopo has presented lectures and programs at several NGS and FGS conferences, as well state genealogical societies, the Palatines to America Conference, and many local and regional family history meetings.

Visit Michael’s blog Hoosier Daddy
Visit Michael’s web site
Visit Michael’s Facebook page

Program details and registration instructions are here.

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.

DGS Summer Symposium “Researching in Texas” a Success

The Dallas Genealogical Society’s two-day Summer Symposium held August 7-8 was both instructional and fun. Featured speaker Teri E. Flack’s topics covered resources, sources, methodologies, and techniques for finding your Texas ancestors.

Complementing Teri’s sessions, Laurel Neuman from the State of Texas General Land Office, Jake Mangum from The Portal to Texas History (University of North Texas Libraries), Brenda McClurkin from the University of Texas at Arlington Library’s Special Collections, and Brian Collins from the Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division of the Dallas Public Library described the depth and breadth of materials related to Texas history and genealogy that are in their collections.

Lunchtime and hospitality breaks found attendees networking, sharing stories and tips, discovering family connections, and exchanging information.

The Genealogy and History Division of the Dallas Public Library remained open Friday evening, exclusively for Summer Symposium attendees to do family history research. Professional librarians from the Division, the Symposium program speakers and DGS volunteers offered one-on-one assistance.

A good time was had by all!

Stay Informed The Easy Way

With the roll-out of our new web site we plan to make greater use of our blog to provide information about activities and web site features. To help you we now provide the ability to subscribe to our blog. Just register your email address and you will receive all of the news and information we have to share right in your email inbox. Its easy to do – Just go to our Blog and click on the Subscribe button. You will get an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Once you have done that you will begin to get all of the useful and helpful information we post.

DGS Announces Winners of 2015 Writing Contest

The Dallas Genealogical Society is pleased to announce the winners of its 2015 Writing Contest. The contest was open to both members and non-members of DGS, as well as amateurs and professionals, and only original material not previously published elsewhere in any format was eligible.

First Prize $500: Rising – the Story of John Wesley Barnes and Edna Mollie Crawford by Diane Gawedzinski

Diane Barnes Gawedzinski is a Dallas native, raised in the Elmwood section of Oak Cliff. As a junior at Duncanville High School, she interviewed her grandfather Wesley Barnes for a school project. Those notes inspired her first baby steps into genealogy and are the basis for this article. She has a B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.Ed. in Counseling from the University of North Texas. She lives in Rockwall and is a school counselor at Wylie High School. Husband Rob, sons John and David, and Diane’s parents John and Jane Barnes have provided her with great support and encouragement over the years, even as Diane continues to hijack family vacations to visit another great-great-somebody’s gravesite. Following the lead of her maternal aunt, June Chandler Everheart, Diane has learned genealogy mostly through trial-and-error, experiencing the rush of excitement when discovering treasures in obscure courthouse drawers, and knowing the frustration of those slippery ancestors who disappear behind brick walls. “Rising” is her first genealogical article to be published.

Diane Gawedzinski photo
Second Prize $300: Tracing Polly’s Life from Slavery to Freedom by RL Canady

RL Canady began doing genealogy research in 1979. He is a retired communications electronic specialist and has a B.S. in Business Management. He has attended workshops and classes in genealogy at numerous state and local conferences, and the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University, Alabama. His research focuses on the southern states with emphasis on African American and slave genealogy. In January 2012, together with Barbara Ware, he transcribed information on the Daniel Family Cemetery for the Dallas Genealogical Society Cemeteries listing on its website. His current volunteer work involves data archiving of the McGowan Funeral Home Collection also for the Dallas Genealogical Society. He is president of the Little Rocky Cemetery Association, whose mission is restoration and preservation for an abandoned cemetery of early settlers and former slaves in Milam County. He is a Lifetime Member of the Dallas Genealogical Society and participates in the African American Genealogy Interest Group in Dallas, Texas. The winners will be honored at the DGS Annual Awards Luncheon December 12, 2015, celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Dallas Genealogical Society. No Third Prize was awarded this year.

RL Canady photo