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Relatively Speaking: Inaugural Symposium in Texas General Land Office

Sept. 29, 2010 at 4:29 a.m.


By Martha Jones

"It is important to remember that the first illegal immigrants didn't come across the Rio Grande. Rather, they came across the Sabine into Spanish and Mexican Texas," offers Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who invites us to join him at the inaugural Save Texas History Symposium: Discovering Spanish and Mexican Texas on Saturday, Nov. 6, at the Stephen F. Austin Building, 1700 N. Congress Ave., in Austin.

Three well-known and respected Texas historians will lead the banner day for Texas history and Tejano heritage. Speaking in the morning sessions will be State Historian Dr. Frank de la Teja, current State Historian Dr. Light Cummins, and the Dean of Borderland Studies, Dr. Felix Almaraz Jr. The three speakers will explain the significance of the Spanish and Mexican time period in Texas and the way Texas' unique history has formed who we are today. Moderator will be noted General Land Office Spanish translator and research guide, Galen Greaser.

I am honored to be included in the program and will present four genealogy resource sessions during the afternoon. It will be a privilege to help beginning researchers not only get started with their family history, but to offer them ideas and strategies for locating resources to document their lineages. Also on the afternoon program will be tours of the General Land Office, the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum, hands-on exercises in 19th century land surveying and workshops on papermaking and map printing.

Register soon for this exciting and informational event by calling James Harkins at 512-463-3289 or via e-mail at james.harkins @glo.state.tx.us. Please tell him you heard about the symposium from me. Registration is $25 per person until Oct. 9 and $35 after that date. Seating is limited and registration will be on a first-come basis, so please register this week.

The program is funded in part by a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum and support from Texas Tejano.com and the Texas Society of Professional Surveyors.

October is Family History Month. The Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research at 5300 Caroline St., Houston, has some interesting offerings from its Special Collections on Friday.

Ante-Bellum Slave Plantation Records will be from 10 to 11 a.m. "Many planters kept journals, crop books, overseers' journals and account books in remarkable detail. Family members often kept personal diaries and corresponded extensively with friends and relatives. For adults and teens. Reservations are required. Please call 832-393-2600.

Texas State Convict Record Ledgers 1849-1954 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Convict Record Ledgers and their indexes represent an important resource for researchers and are rich with information. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice maintained ledgers to record personal data and incarceration information about convicts entering the Texas prison system including Huntsville Penitentiary, which opened in 1849, and Rusk Penitentiary, which operated from 1883 to 1917. For adults and teens. Reservations required, please call 832-393-2600.

E-mail genealogy queries to mjones@vicad.com. VCGS members will research queries requiring extensive study.

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