Back to the Future

In 1977 a group of DGS volunteers microfilmed documents from 3,100 Dallas County probate cases filed between 1846 and the early 1900’s. The resulting 35 reels of film have been available to patrons of the Dallas Public Library since that time.

In 2013, the University of North Texas solicited proposals for a series of mini-grants (up to $1000 each) focused on digitizing materials and making them available on the Portal to Texas History web site. The DGS proposal to digitize the probate record microfilms was accepted.

The films are now being digitized, but there is still one more step that needs to be performed, and you can help! There is a 60 page index to the records that needs to be transcribed… this information is required to make the metadata associated with each set of images as meaningful as possible.

Our webmaster has set up a simple process utilizing spreadsheets. There are only 54 names on each page: most people should be able to complete a page in 30 minutes or less.

Find out how you can get involved!

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DGS Summer Symposium Features John Philip Colletta

The Dallas Genealogical Society is excited to announce that nationally-known genealogy and family history speaker Dr. John Philip Colletta will be the featured speaker at our Summer Symposium, to be held July 11-12, 2014 at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library in Dallas, TX.


“For Today’s Generation and Tomorrow’s: The Many Ways to Preserve Family History” is a 2-day program of eight presentations by Dr. Colletta. Topics covered include organizing your materials for a family history, documenting multi-generational records, building historical context, using artifacts in researching and writing about our ancestors, principles of good writing and good storytelling, evaluating evidence, writing a narrative family history, and publishing your family history.

“Late Night at the Library” is a free bonus event. The Genealogy Division of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library will remain open on Friday evening, July 11, from 5-10 pm, exclusively for Summer Symposium attendees. Both professional librarians from the Division and DGS volunteers will be available to offer assistance.

Dr. Colletta is a faculty member of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University (Birmingham, Ala.), the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and Boston University’s Certificate in Family History program. His publications include numerous articles, both scholarly and popular, two manuals, and one “murder-mystery-family-history.” Dr. Colletta has received many professional awards and honors and appears frequently on podcasts and local and national radio and television. His Ph.D. in Medieval French is from The Catholic University of America. Visit his web site for further biographical information.

Program details and registration information are available on the DGS web site.

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Placing Your Past – Slides Available

DGS member Carolyn Davis made a very interesting and informative presentation to the Technology Special Interest Group on May 1. Her topic was “Placing Your Past”, and she reviewed several web sites that you can use to place your families history on current and historical maps. She has kindly made her PowerPoint slides available for anybody who wants to review her materials… they are available on our Meeting Handouts page.

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Migration Trails Maps Available

Thanks to Judy Allen Knight for her fascinating presentation on American Migration Trails. Judy has graciously allowed us to make the maps featured in her presentation on our web site: View them on our Meeting Handouts page.

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Dallas Observer Blog Article Highlights Poor Library Funding

The headline sums up the sad state of affairs ‘Dallas Has “Most Poorly Funded Public Library in the United States,” Advocates Say’.

To quote a bit more:

“Their case is a simple one. Dallas, whether you compare it with local suburbs or peer cities nationwide, is stiffing its libraries.

“The main downtown library here is open a mere 40 hours per week. That’s last among suburbs and large Texas cities, fewer than at the central library Carrollton, Colleyville and University Park (45 hours per week); DeSoto, Duncanville, Forth Worth (sic), and Houston (50-plus); and Arlington, Frisco, Garland, Richardson and San Antonio (60-plus), to name a few.

“Dallas also fares poorly when measured by library funding, both as a percentage of its annual budget and per capita.”

Read the entire article (published on-line at by clicking here…

Please let your elected representatives know if you support increasing funding for the library… Find your City Council Member here.

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Summer Symposium Featuring John Colletta

Colletta_JohnThe Dallas Genealogical Society invites you to join us for a two‐day symposium (Friday – Saturday July 11-12) featuring John Colletta, an author (“Only a few bones”, “Finding Itallian Roots”, “They Came in Ships”) and Lecturer in genealogy. Visit John’s web site at

Register early and save $50! Read More…

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Confederate Cemetery Records

Chances are you have never heard of the Old Confederate Cemetery, located on Electra and Reed Streets, southeast of the larger and better known Oakland Cemetery. After all, it only contains 101 graves. Fortunately for all of the researchers who ARE interested, the DGS has just added those 101 records to our on-line, publicly accessible database that now contains information about 36,037 burials in and around Dallas. Read More….

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Meeting Handouts

Several of our recent speakers have generously agreed to allow us to make copies of their handouts available on our web site… Go to our new Meeting Handouts page to see information from Meg Hatcher’s “NARA’s Online Public Access: Live Demonstration” and Michael Bassett’s “DNA Testing for Genealogical Purposes”.

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2013 Fall Lecture will feature D. Joshua Taylor



Dallas Genealogical Society’s Fall Lecture on Saturday, October 12, features D. Joshua Taylor, a nationally known and recognized genealogical author, lecturer, and researcher. Back by popular demand, Josh will show us how to unravel the real story behind family legends, take advantage of online archival materials, use research time wisely to maximize results, and take advantage of various methods to share our stories with friends and family.


  • Finding the Roots of Your Family Legends
  • Treasures in the Archives: Using Archive Grid
  • The Modern Genealogist: Timesaving Tips for Every Researcher
  • Sharing in the 21st Century

This event will be held at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young Street, Dallas, TX.  Registration begins at 9:30am.

Register by September 27 and save $10 off the cost of the lecture.  The Early Bird fee is $40 for DGS members and $50 f0r non-members.

Full descriptions of the sessions and registration instructions are on DGS’s web site.

Please join us for a day of family history.

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2013 DGS Writing Contest Deadline Is August 31

DGS Writing Contest

The Dallas Genealogical Society reminds all potential entrants to its 2013 Writing Contest that the deadline for submissions is August 31. The contest will accept original material, not previously published, from members and non-members, hobbyists and professionals.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the winning articles: first prize is $500, second prize is $300 and third prize is $150.

Among the judges will be J. Mark Lowe, a professional genealogist, author and lecturer.

Submissions will be judged on accuracy, clarity, and style. Winners will be announced at the annual DGS Awards Luncheon in December 2013 (winners need not be present), and will be published in a future DGS publication. All prizes may not be awarded.

For more information see the Rules and Guidelines and the Entry Form.

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