DGS MacGen Reunion Group Meets Saturday, Feb 13

The next meeting is Saturday, February 13, from 1- 3pm on the 8th floor of the J.Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young Street, Dallas, 75201.

Main program topics:

  • Recording DNA data with Reunion
  • brief demo on exporting from Family Tree Maker into Reunion

Also, time permitting:

  • How to turn off the microphone when finished using Siri for dictation
  • Adding a re-marriage to a first wife after divorcing the second wife
  • Attaching media files correctly
  • Using Tags to facilitate quick searches

We will use GoToMeeting again.

Hope to see you there! As always, feel free to bring your computer and any questions you might have.

Facilitator: Happi McQuirk, macs@dallasgenealogy.org.

MacGen Reunion SIG

Bylaw Changes: Why and How?

The Society’s bylaws dictate the rules and procedures by which our Society operates (see our current bylaws here). When the bylaws become an impediment to the operation of the Society it becomes necessary to modify them. That is the position we are in today.

Two key activities require an authorization vote from our membership at a general meeting: The election of officers and changing the bylaws. Voting for these requires a quorum to be present.

Currently, 30 members must be present to establish a quorum at a general meeting.  The last time our bylaws were updated (2011), 30 members represented 3.75% or our membership. Today, 30 members translates to 7.5% of our membership.

At our May, 2015 meeting we lacked a quorum of members and the vote had to be postponed until our September meeting, which somewhat disrupted our established board transition process. As a result, the board of directors has decided to propose changes to the bylaws to minimize the possibility of such disruptions in the future.

The process that needs to be followed to change our bylaws is defined in Artivle XVII – Amendments:

These Bylaws may be amended or revised at any general business meeting of the Society by a two-thirds affirmative vote of members present and voting provided that the proposed amendment or revision has been either read or copies thereof distributed at the previous general business meeting, and that notice of said amendment or revision has been published on the Society web site at least fifteen (15) days prior to the general business meeting at which the proposed amendment or revision is read or copies thereof distributed. Notice of such publication will be distributed to members via mail or email.

Our goal is to have the new process in place in time for the election of the next board at the May 7, 2016 general business meeting. Here is how we plan to do this:

  • We are publishing the proposed changes on our website (review the proposed changes here).
  • All members will receive a ‘Notice of Publication’ linked to these posts via eNews, the DGS Newsletter (formerly referred to as the eBlast) which is distributed via email.
  • We will have paper copies of the proposed changes available, and will discuss them, at the March 5, 2016 general meeting.
  • The vote for approval is tentatively scheduled for the April 2, 2016 general meeting.

Proposed Bylaw Changes

These proposed changes was were approved by the Board of Directors at the February 6, 2016 board meeting. The current bylaws can be viewed here.


Section 3 in Article IV – Society Meetings defines the number of members required to establish a quorum at general meetings. The proposal eliminates the fixed number (30) and replaces it with a percentage of our total membership (5%). This will allow the number to change as our membership increases or decreases without the need for additional bylaw changes.

At today’s membership levels, 5% would translate to a requirement of having 20 members to establish a quorum.


Thirty members shall constitute a quorum at Society general business meetings.


The number of members required to constitute a quorum at Society general business meetings will be set at 5% (numerically rounded up/down) of the current Society membership.

 This number shall be updated annually following the installation of the new board of directors. Additional updates may be initiated at any time by a majority vote of the board of directors.

 Changes in the number of members required to constitute a quorum shall be communicated to the membership electronically and will be documented on the society web site.

Election of Officers

Section 4 in Article V – Election of Officers details how the election of officers will be conducted. Our existing board migration process defines a four month overlap period (starting with the election in May and ending with the installation of the new board in September), so it is important to insure that there is no delay in holding the election.

For this reason the board is recommending bylaw changes that will allow for the utilization of electronic balloting. This may, at the discretion of the board, be the preferred method of voting. It will also be the default process if a quorum is not present at the May meeting.


The Officers shall be elected at the general business meeting in May by a majority vote of those members present and voting. The presiding officer shall accept additional nominations from the floor, provided the nominee consents in person or in writing. The Officers shall be installed at the annual meeting in September and shall assume their official duties upon installation. Officers shall serve for a term of one year or until their successors are assigned.


Prior to the general business meeting in May the board of directors will select, via a majority vote, one of the following options for conducting the vote:

1)     By a majority vote of the members present and voting at the general business meeting in May, or

2)     By means of electronic balloting in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • The board of directors will select and document an appropriate methodology for distributing and collecting ballots
  • No provision shall be made for members who do not have an email address of record associated with their membership account
  • Ballots will be distributed to all members of record as of the date of the general business meeting in May within seven (7) days following the meeting.
  • Ballots must be returned as directed by the board within fourteen (14) days following distribution to be valid
  • A committee consisting of the Past President, the Director of Membership and the Director of Education will be responsible for collecting and validating all ballots and tabulating the results. Results will be communicated to the membership electronically within seven (7) days following the end of the balloting period.
  • If the number of valid ballots returned does not meet the quorum requirement the process will be repeated

The presiding officer shall accept additional nominations from the floor at the general business meeting in May, provided the nominee consents in person or in writing.

Once nominations have been closed the election shall proceed by the methodology previously determined by the board of directors. However, If the board has selected an in-person vote, and there are insufficient members present to establish a quorum, the vote will be conducted via electronic balloting.

The Officers shall be installed at the annual meeting in September and shall assume their official duties upon installation. Officers shall serve for a term of one year or until their successors are assigned.

Mesquite HGS Meets Feb 11: The Eagle and the Raven

The Mesquite Historical and Genealogical Society meets Thursday, February 11, 6;30 pm, at the Mesquite Public Library, 300 W. Grubb Drive, Mesquite, TX 75149.

The Society will host an imaginary visit with novelist and researcher James Michener and two of his famous (or infamous) characters depicted in his novel, “The Eagle and the Raven“. Meet up with The Raven, the highly lauded General and President of the Republic of Texas, Sam Houston, and his nemesis—The Eagle, the egotistical, powerful and irascible President and General of Mexico Santa Anna. Be a witness to an incredible meeting and see if the two enemies can reconcile their differences and realize their similarities as they meet in a Mesquite Cantina rather than at San Jacinto. Three members of the Hiram Bennett Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas – Marjorie Bays’ two daughters, Glenna Johns and Sue Corey, and Linda Attaway – will present this historic meeting.


Come early for visiting and refreshments. You do not have to be a member to attend.

Help Determine the Future of the DGS

Help WantedThe future of our society depends on having enthusiastic, motivated and talented individuals on our board of directors.  That all begins with our nominations committee which is being formed this month.

We are looking for individuals who want to work with other motivated genealogists to help lead our society into the next 60 years. Serving on our board is a great way to meet other people and learn new skills. Go to our Society Leaders page to view the variety of skills required for our society to operate.

Not ready to serve on the board? You can still help by identifying other members you know who you think would be good candidates. Encourage them to volunteer, or submit their name by sending email to the committee at nominating@dallasgenealogy.com


DGS Feb 6 Meeting-Your English Convict Ancestor

Program: “How to Find Your English Convict Ancestor”. During the Colonial period, largely after 1718, some 50,000 convicts were “transported” in chains to America to relieve the pressure on England’s overcrowded prisons. Most of these unwilling immigrants ended up as indentured servants in the tobacco colonies.



Speaker: Doctor Steven Butler is an Associate Professor of History at Richland College in Dallas and Collin College in Plano.  He is an experienced family historian (a term he prefers to “genealogist”) who has spent as much of his spare time as he could over the past forty years tracking down his ancestors.


Further information about our speaker and his topic can be found on our web site.

The February meeting of the Dallas Genealogical Society is Saturday, February 6 in the Auditorium of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young Street, Dallas TX 75201.

Join us starting at 10:30am for hospitality and mingling. The business meeting starts at 11:00, followed by our featured speaker about 11:30. The meeting is free and open to the public.


Grand Prairie GS Meets Feb 4-Southern Ante-Bellum Plantation Records

The Grand Prairie Genealogical Society monthly meeting will be held Thursday, February 4, 2016 at The Ruthe Jackson Center, 3113 S. Carrier Parkway, Grand Prairie. Meet and Greet begins at 6:30 pm with program at 7:00 pm until 9:00 pm.

Program: Southern Ante-Bellum Plantation Records

Learn about the Southern Ante-Bellum Plantation Records – their value, how they are organized, and how to search the collection.
The Southern Ante-Bellum Plantation Records are considered to be one of the most valuable collections to the study of African American slavery. The collection encompasses business and personal papers from numerous slaveholding families throughout the South. These records can potentially list slaves by name and include other significant information such as: family relationships; dates of birth and death; bills of sale; etc.

Speaker: Ari Wilkins is a genealogist and family historian. She serves as secretary of the Texas State Genealogical Society and a consultant for the Afrigeneas website. Ms. Wilkins is also a former board member of the Dallas Genealogical Society.

Guests are always welcome.  http://gpgstx.org.


What Constitutes the British Isles?

Milner_Paul_SquarePaul Milner, professional genealogist and international lecturer, will speak at our 2016 Spring Seminar, From Whence They Come. Two of his four lectures will provide opportunities to learn about Irish and Scottish emigration to the USA and Canada and the tools and records available to trace your ancestors.

He will also provide guidance regarding England’s National Archives website, specifically the research tools, indexes, and catalogs that can help you find your ancestors and put them into their correct historical context. His fourth lecture goes beyond the basics of 17th and 18th century English research to identify records that can help you jump the gap created by England’s Civil War and the problems of migration due to the Industrial Revolution.

Seminar Information and Registration

As you can see, Paul will be covering a lot of territory and initially it seemed that “British Isles Research” would be an apt title for the seminar. After all, Paul’s biographical information states that he “has specialized in British Isles genealogical research for over 30 years”. I soon discovered my understanding of the term “British Isles” was hazy and, further, that the term itself often fosters misleading or incorrect assumptions.

I therefore undertook to re-enlighten myself regarding the distinction between the “British Isles”, “Great Britain”, “The United Kingdom”, and “Ireland”. (Surely I must have known this at one time.) I reviewed descriptions on several websites, including the FamilySearch wiki. I offer you the descriptions below and I credit much of the text to Know Britain and wikipedia.

The British Isles

The expression “British Isles” is geographical and not political. They are a group of islands off the northwest coast of Europe consisting of Great Britain, the whole of Ireland, the Orkney and Shetland Islands, the Isle of Man, the Inner and Outer Hebrides, the Isle of Wight, the Scilly Islands, Lundy Island, the Channel Islands, and many other smaller islands.

Great Britain

Great Britain is the largest island in the British Isles and is the collective name for England, Scotland, and Wales. Great Britain includes the small adjacent islands but excludes the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. 

The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is comprised of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The official name “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” came into use in 1922 after the creation of the Irish Free State (1922-1937).


Ireland is the second largest island, after Great Britain, in the British Isles. Geographically, it includes Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom. In 1937 the Irish Free State adopted a new constitution that claimed all of Ireland as its territory and officially became”Ireland” in English and “Éire” in Irish. In 1948 Ireland declared itself the Republic of Ireland but retains “Ireland” as its official name.

Perhaps Paul Milner will plan a pop quiz for the March 12th Seminar! Hope to see you there!

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!

Want to attend Summer Seminar Free?

Bring a friend who ticket - byofis not a current member of the Dallas Genealogical Society to our monthly general meetings in February, March, April or May.  For each qualified friend* you bring, you will receive an entry for a drawing to be held at our special 60th Anniversary meeting in May. The winner of the drawing will receive one free admission (including lunch both days) to our July 29-30 Summer Seminar featuring Denise Levenick, the Family Curator!


*Entries will be restricted to DGS members who bring a guest who is not a current DGS member to a General Meeting in February, March, April or May 2016. You will receive one entry for each guest you bring and register.