Harlingen Happenings

Mary Torres, Special to the Star

I hope that all of you are staying safe and healthy and didn’t suffer any damage during Hurricane Hanna. 2020 has been quite a year! In an area already ravaged by the COVID-19 having two disasters happening at the same time is very difficult, to say the least.

Congratulations to the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Genealogical Society on its 10th anniversary as a 501(c)(3) independent non-profit corporation! Unfortunately, the society’s annual celebration has been postponed until it is safe to meet in person. The Society was formed in 2008 as a Hispanic Genealogy Group under the sponsorship of the Tip O’ Texas Genealogical Society of Harlingen. After two years of operation as a group, a decision to incorporate was made and the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Genealogical Society was born in 2010. The founding members were Ofelia Olsson, Irene Silva, Santos Canales, and the late Frances Sauceda. Their leadership, foresight and diligence in establishing the framework for the organization has allowed it to grow and thrive.

The society awards two scholarships annually to graduating seniors in the Rio Grande Valley and this year a small ceremony was held at the Harlingen Arts & Heritage Museum on May 24 to honor its 2020 recipients, Benjamin Rozeff, son of David & Norma Rozeff and Joseph Decilos, son of Fernando & Estella Decilos. Since the onset of COVID-19 and due to an abundance of caution and the desire to keep its members safe, the society has canceled all of its regular meetings until further notice. The last meeting held in 2020 at the museum was on February 16 and featured Jack Ayoub, one of the members of the Texas Heritage and Independence Celebration Association (THICA) and several battlefield re-enactors who presented an educational program about the Texas War for Independence. Several speakers had been lined up for the spring and summer which included, among others, Carroll Brincefield, and Robert Tarin.

The society is looking into hosting virtual meetings and programs until in- person meetings can resume.  In the meantime, the society invites you to visit https://www.rgvhgs.org and look at the books that it has for sale. One book, that is not listed because it is a limited edition and only a few copies are available is the “Harlingen City Cemetery, Harlingen, Texas, An Index to the Headstones” by Ofelia Olsson. If you have family interred in this cemetery or have an interest in the history of Harlingen, this book sells for $30 plus $10 shipping. To purchase a copy or if you have a genealogy query, please email the society at hispanicgen@gmail.com.

You still have time to register for the Texas State Genealogical Society’s virtual conference on Friday and Saturday, August 7-8, 2020. This two-day event is filled with plenty of genealogy tips. The following eight nationally known speakers will be sharing their expertise in areas from methodology to DNA, discussing timely topics, and facilitating in-depth learning: Taking a Closer Look at Immigration Records for Your Mexican Ancestor, Colleen Robledo Greene; Problem Solving with DNA: Case Studies, Patti Lee Hobbs, CG®; Problem Solving with DNA: Case Studies, Patti Lee Hobbs, CG®; Collateral Kin: Indirect Routes to Direct Ancestors, Sunny Morton; 50 Overlooked Online Genealogy Resources in 50 Minutes, Diane L. Richard; Organizing Your Genealogy, Drew Smith; Researching Your World War II Ancestors, Michael Strauss, AG®, and Studying a Community Using Sanborn Maps and Other Resources, Ari Wilkins.

The TxSGS Virtual Conference is the ultimate learning experience from the comfort of your home and you can watch it live or later at your convenience. Registration is $50 for members and $70 for non-members. To register online or for more information visit, https://www.txsgs.org/txsgs-2020-virtual-conference/.

Stay safe.