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

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

DGS Brown Bag SIG meets this Saturday, July 23

Brown Bag SIG

The July meeting of Dallas Genealogical Society’s Brown Bag interest group will be held from 10:30am-1pm on the 8th floor of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young Street, Dallas, 75201.

The Brown Bag SIG is for genealogists who want to learn advanced methodology skills and techniques. The group studies best practices, including using the Genealogical Proof Standard.

July program: The group will discuss Chapter 6: “Incorporating Narrative” in Guide to Genealogical Writing, pages 43-53.

NOTE: There will be no meeting in August.

Leader: Janet Khashab, brownbag@dallasgenealogy.org.

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.

You Can’t Take It with You!

Preserving & Sharing Our Family Treasures

2016 DGS Summer Seminar – July 29 & 30, 2016

Register Now


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!

Register Now

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

DGS Brown Bag SIG Meets This Saturday, June 25

Brown Bag SIG

The June meeting of Dallas Genealogical Society’s Brown Bag interest group will be held this Saturday the 25th from 10:30am to 1pm on the 8th floor of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young Street, Dallas TX 75201.

The Brown Bag SIG is for genealogists who want to learn advanced methodology skills and techniques. The group studies best practices, including using the Genealogical Proof Standard.

June program:  “Guide to Genealogical Writing” (New England Historical and Genealogical Society), Chapter 5: Adding Citations.

Meetings are free and open to the public.

Leader: Janet Khashab; brownbag@dallasgenealogy.org.