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Fort Worth Genealogical Society Program Videos

Founded in 1957, the Fort Worth Genealogical Society is a non-profit, educational corporation created to foster and maintain interest in genealogy among citizens of Tarrant County, Texas and surrounding areas. The Society publishes and distributes genealogical and historical information to the public and assists the Fort Worth Library in the acquisition of genealogical and historical research material. Through monthly meetings and other activities, the Society encourages the exchange of ideas and helps its members to develop efficient methods for genealogical and historical research.

The Fort Worth Genealogical Society holds its monthly General Membership Meeting on the last Tuesday of each month at the Fort Worth Library at 6:30 p.m. in the Tandy Lecture Hall. During these meetings, speakers present informative programs about a variety of genealogy topics. The videos below are some of those programs.

County Clerk: Keeper of the Tarrant County Land Records

County Clerk Mary Louise Garcia discusses changes to the Tarrant County Courthouse and the use of Land Records. Garcia is the Country Clerk of Tarrant County.

Mining the Gems in a Civil War Pension File

Pension applications generally contain supporting documents such as: discharge papers, affidavits, depositions of witnesses, narratives of events during service, marriage certificates, birth records, death certificates, family Bible pages, and other supporting papers. Dr. Meisner demonstrates using actual family pension files. Bernard N. Meisner is past president and current secretary, parliamentarian and webmaster of the Mid-Cities Genealogical Society. He began researching his family over 25 years ago and enjoys sharing lessons learned from those experiences, including the mistakes. Although he knew only one grandparent, he has successfully identified all of his 2nd great grandparents and several 3rd great grandparents.

Cecelia Gilbreath of the Fort Worth Genealogical Society explains the basics of Title Searches, Abstract Offices and the valuable genealogical records that are available to researchers. Cecelia Gilbreath worked for a real estate title company for 27 years and after retirement, discovered a love for genealogy. She is now a volunteer at the Tarrant County Archives and works on the Probate Records donated by Stewart Title Company.

Cecelia Gilbreath of the Fort Worth Genealogical Society continues the discussion on the basics of Title Searches, Abstract Offices and the valuable genealogical records that are available to researchers. This session deals mostly with Probate Record copies that have been donated from the Stewart Title Company to the Tarrant County Archives. Cecelia Gilbreath worked for a real estate title company for 27 years and after retirement, discovered a love for genealogy. She is now a volunteer at the Tarrant County Archives and works on the Probate Records donated by Stewart Title Company.

Records of Fort Worth Real Estate

Lisa McKinney shares her research that went in to her award winning reference work, Fort Worth Real Estate: Ben F. Allen & Sons Business Records, City Property, 1914-1916, Vol. I. Learn about these WW I era Texas records. Ms. McKinney has done genealogy research for 20 years. She has won several rewards for her research. She writes a newspaper column titled “Ask the Ancestors.”.

The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812

Dr. Gene Smith discusses his new book which explores a little known aspect of the War of 1812–the part some African Americans played in this important understudied war. Along the way, he will explore some of his research techniques and resources, such as records available to genealogists through NARA. Dr. Smith is a professor in the Department of History at TCU and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on early American History.

The Swartz Brothers, Fort Worth Photographers: A Family Study

Donna Donnell discusses the three Swartz brothers and and their descendants. The Swartz brothers – David, John and Charles – were three Virginia farm boys who ventured west, arriving in Fort Worth in the mid-1880s. Over the next 30 years, they observed the city through the lens of a camera, snapping pictures of people, events and architecture – leaving a priceless legacy. They collectively produced thousands of photographs that were scattered to the four winds after their deaths. Hundreds of those images have survived, although the brothers themselves are largely forgotten. The best-known photograph shows the five members of the “Wild Bunch” (aka, the “Fort Worth Five”) posed in John’s studio in 1900. It is the basis of the downtown development known as “Sundance Square.” The Brothers’ cumulative work provides a stunning visual chronicle of late 19th- and early 20th-century Fort Worth as well as a window into American life during that era.

Donna Donnell, a Fort Worth native and genealogist, has been digging up family roots since 1975. She has written several articles on Western characters associated with Fort Worth, most notably The Wild Bunch. Donnell, debunked the tale of Fort Worth Madam, Eunice Gray, who for decades was believed to be the infamous Etta Place, girlfriend of The Sundance Kid. Her research has gained national attention. Most recently, she and co-collaborator, local historian/author, Dr. Richard Selcer, organized and displayed “The Swartz Brothers: Fort Worth’s First Family of Photographers, at the Fort Worth Central Library. Donnell, did most of the historical research of the three Swartz brothers and located descendants, who gathered in Fort Worth to celebrate the historical recognition of their ancestors.

Today’s Tarrant County County Clerk’s Office

Mary Louise Garcia is the current County Clerk of Tarrant County and will tell us the availability of records today and yesterday & facts of this busy, vital office.

Last updated: Oct. 15, 2015