Most AGS activities and events are open to visitors.
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Who are the Wends?
Weldon Mersiovsky could be summed up in one Wendish word, Radyserb, which means “glad to be a Wend.” While he knew he was Wendish when a young man he did not become fascinated to the point of obsession with his ethnic heritage until he was about 25 when he fully discovered his roots. Since that time he has researched all of his familial ancestors and gladly assists others in their searches.
Now 67, while still helping others with their familial and ancestral searches, he has determined to uncover all that is possible to uncover about the Texas Wends and German Sorbs. The results of this ongoing coordinated research and ongoing translation into English of works and documents written in German and Wendish have been placed on the website of the Wendish Research Exchange (www.wendishresearch.org). The sole beneficiary of Weldon’s activities is the Texas Wendish Heritage Society and its members and friends.
The Wends came to Texas for three reasons: 1. to save their faith; 2. to save their language; and, 3. to save their culture. How well did they do? Weldon answers these questions and more in his presentation.
Speaker: Weldon Mersiovsky
Have You Found the “Schatz” in Your Family Tree?
The process of seeking and finding a “schatz” in your genealogy research can be both very rewarding and frustrating at the same time. This presentation will provide two different paths on how to narrow your research and focus on what you can find versus what you cannot find doing remote research.
Speakers: Cindy Foreman & Beverly Herring
Cindy Foreman Bio
Cindy grew up in Michigan but moved to St. Paul, MN in 1974 where she attained her B.S. degree from the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, in History Education. She moved to Texas and in 2003, she was approved to be a D.A.R. member. She was President of the Austin Genealogy Society, 2008-2010 and VP of the WVGS 2011-15. She has been actively researching her ancestors for the last 20 years and in 2014 she spoke at the FGS Conference in San Antonio. Currently she is involved with leading the IGG group (Interactive Genealogy Group), along with Beverly Herring, which is a special interest group for genealogy.
Beverly Herring Bio
Born in Baytown, Texas, Beverly has lived in Texas her entire life and couldn’t think of any other place to live other than Maui, Hawaii. She has spent over 32 years in the real estate industry as both a realtor and loan officer. Her interest in genealogy began 10 years ago when she joined the Wimberley genealogy group. She served as Treasurer of that group 2013 – 2015 as well as teaching beginner classes for 3 years. In July, 2015, she and Cindy Foreman began the Interactive Genealogy Group (IGG) which meets in various libraries and/or facilities in the central Texas area doing interactive presentations and beginner genealogy classes.
Forensic Genealogy, Finding the Living
Speaker: Kelvin L. Meyers
A fifth-generation Texan and professional forensic genealogist since 1990, Kelvin is a frequent speaker to genealogical societies and family associations throughout the United States.
As a graduate of Texas Tech University with a history major, Kelvin is an avid research-historian. After being employed for ten years in the Genealogy Department of the Dallas Public Library, Kelvin now has a solo practice as a forensic genealogist serving clients that include probate attorneys, trust department of banks, the US Immigration Service and energy companies. Kelvin is a 1989 and 1990 alumni of the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research at Samford University and has returned to IGHR as lecturer. He is a past board member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, a past President of the Lone Star Chapter of APG, and a founding member for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy. Kelvin currently serves as the chairman of the history and archives committee for First United Methodist Church in Dallas.
Topic Tables – Help with Geographical Research by AGS Members
The Importance of Mapping Cemeteries, Not Just Recording the Names
In the 16 years I have been documenting Travis County Cemeteries, I have seen development and re purposing of cemetery land, head stones disappear and without good documentation, photos and maps some grave sites are lost to time. learn the basics of documentation and where to archive your findings.
Speaker: Dale Flatt
Born in 1958 in port Angles Washington, I grew up in San Bernardino California and after High school and a 4 year hitch in the United States Navy as a cook and baker onboard a Nuclear Submarine, I moved to Austin in 1983. I joined the Austin Fire Department in 1986. I retired in 2014 after 28.5 years of service and spend most of my free time documenting and helping preserve historic cemeteries.
More than Daughters: Using the DAR’s Genealogical Research System (GRS)
The DAR has made more than a century’s worth of genealogical records accessible to all researchers. A variety of records have been digitized and made available through many databases and resources using the DAR Genealogical Research System (GRS). This presentation will help researchers understand how to access and search the GRS and how to evaluate the different types of records found within.
Speaker: Teresa Devine
Teresa began dabbling in family history research more than ten years ago, but didn’t get serious about genealogy until 2011 when her oldest living paternal relative passed away taking her memories of the family with her. Teresa realized that family stories can easily disappear unless someone purposely works to save them. She specializes in southern U.S. research, serves on the Lineage Research committee for the Andrews Carruthers DAR chapter, and her daughters were recently accepted into the Mayflower Society based on Teresa’s research. She is a member of the Williamson County Genealogical Society and a board member for the Austin Genealogical Society.
I’ve Got My DNA Results. But How Do I Use Them?
DNA is a powerful genealogical tool – keyword being tool! Just like any other genealogy resource, we have to learn how to best use it. DNA has to be used in conjunction with our paper genealogical research. After taking a DNA test, the next moves can be overwhelming. This talk will break down the steps.
Speaker: Sara Gredler
Sara Gredler, MS, is a genealogist, architectural historian, and historian with nearly 20 years of genealogical research experience. She is currently the President of the Williamson County (Texas) Genealogical Society and chair of its DNA Special Interest Group. She currently works at an architecture/engineering firm as an architectural historian, historic bridge surveyor, Microsoft Access database guru, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analyst. She holds a MS in Historic Preservation, and BAs in History and Classical Studies, as well as a Certificate in Irish Studies. She has attended GRIP for two years, has spoken at the Texas State Genealogical Society Conference numerous times, at the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree, and in 2017 will be speaking at the National Genealogical Society Conference in Raleigh, NC. Her research focuses are in western New York, New England, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
AGS Annual Fall Festival
Please note the earlier start time for this special event!
This is a tradition that was started a number of years ago and has become a wonderful way to share the bounty and the warmth of the holiday season with many AGS friends. AGS will provide meat from Rudy’s BBQ and members will contribute a side dish or dessert. In order to determine the amount of food to order, please R.S.V.P. with the number of people in your party (members may bring 1 guest) on the form below.
6:00 p.m. Bring your dish along with any necessary serving utensils.
6:15 p.m. Dinner and social time
7:00 p.m. Presentation begins. See below for details.
The Archives Wars
Austin has always been a little weird. Austin’s early history has defined Austin as the capital city of Texas. This presentation is a good example of how the saying, “Actions have consequences.” In Austin, the Archives War has been romanticized in Austin folk-lore as an early example of strong, local pride, and archivists have latched on to this event to show the power of archives. However, the incident had far-reaching consequences. Positive consequences for the citizens of Austin, and negative consequences for the rest of the Republic of Texas.
Speaker: James Harkins
James Harkins is the Manager of Public Services for the Texas General Land Office Archives and Records Program. James graduated from Texas State University – San Marcos with a bachelor’s degree in Communications in 2005, with a double minor in history and business. In 2010, he received a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, also from Texas State, and is the 2010-2011 James W. McGrew Research Award winner for his graduate thesis from the American Society for Professional Administrators (ASPA). He has worked for the Texas General Land Office since May of 2005, and manages the Save Texas History program of the Texas General Land Office. He is a Certified Archivist through the Academy of Certified Archivists (ACA).
Do you want to know the migration routes taken by your ancestors as they moved across the continent? Our January speaker, Steven Mabie, can help you. He will show you the key migration routes used by our pioneer ancestors in their moves east and west and north and south. Steve will provide a timeline for these great routes; the major river routes, the Erie Canal, the National Road, the great wagon trails and many others. Where did the people who took each of these routes originate and where did they end up? Steve will tell you.
Speaker: Steve Mabie. Steve is a frequent speaker, and the current treasurer of the San Antonio Genealogical and Historical Society. In addition to being an experienced speaker, Steven teaches a 2-hour class on 19th century migration at SAGHS.
It’s a given that genealogists want to preserve their family’s history for future generations. One key component of that is saving and preserving your keepsakes, those old letters, photographs, and documents that you’ve collected over the years.. We all know that once lost these pieces of history are gone forever. And that is what Emily’s presentation will address; how to save those keepsakes. How to preserve them from further damage. Emily will show us how to avoid their loss by adopting the easily adapted practices of professional archivists like Emily. In addition to preservation and storage, Emily will also address restoration; telling us how we might give those old, faded photographs and documents new life.
Speaker: Emily Higgs
Emily Higgs is experienced in caring for and digitizing a wide variety of materials, including books, letters, photographs, and legal documents. She currently works with rare books and archival materials in Special Collections at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, and has previously worked with local history collections at the Houston Metropolitan Research Center. She will complete her MSIS at the University of Texas School of Information in May 2018 with a specialization in historical collections.