On October 27, 1970, Mrs. Felix [Barbrae] Tanco and her mother Mrs. Marguerite Owens started the organization with a collection of three books that had been donated. A group of people interested in family research would meet on the last Tuesday of each month at the Arlington North Branch library, which was then located on North Cooper Street near Randol Mill Road. They met the last Tuesday of each month except in December and alternated between evening and morning meetings.
The Arlington Genealogical Society, AGS, of Arlington Texas was incorporated on May 18, 1971 with the 1954 Internal Revenue Code of Section 501 (c) (3) designation. The society objective was to promote the study of genealogy and to assist the Arlington Texas Public Library in obtaining genealogical books, microfilm and other records of historical interest. The first official society officers were: President: Mrs. Felix Tanco; V.P.: Miss Priscilla Dow; Treasurer: Dr. R. L. Jones; Secretary: Mrs. Forrest C. Borgstedt; Program Chairman; Mrs. D. P. Owens; Publicity Chairman: Mrs. Wayne McCreary; Project Chairman: Mrs. James H. Pendergrass. At that time, genealogy was considered the third most popular U.S. hobby. By February 1972, the members had decided to change their meeting date to the second Tuesday of each month.
On Saturday January 20, 1973, the new central library in downtown Arlington was completed at the corner of Center & Abram St. and was celebrating their grand opening. The genealogy collection was moved from the North Branch library into a small room in the central library basement, near the elevator. This became the new home for the genealogy books. The room was staffed by librarian Naomi Yeats and volunteer help from members of AGS. Some of those volunteers were Margaret & Fred Lavon Cox, Robert & Pauline Jones, Barbara Dickey, Francine Pendergrass and Wanda Cope. By October 1973, the Society had donated $1,100 in books and microfilm to the genealogy collection. AGS membership dues were $2.00.
As the book collection expanded, more room was needed for books and researchers. The collection was moved in October 1983 to a first floor room behind the staircase leading to the basement. This room had large west windows that provided a lot of natural light but no window shades to block the afternoon sun to protect the collection or researchers. And this room became a very warm room in the summer. The first city library allocation to purchase books for the genealogy section was $1,500. Francine Pendergrass and Barbara Dickey were chosen to select those books.
The genealogy librarian Naomi Yeats retired from the Library in 1984 and was honored by AGS on May 17, 1984. Sally Diaz became the new librarian for the genealogy section.
In January 1985 the genealogy collection was relocated to the northwest corner on the second floor near the Administrative Offices. This area was separated from the regular collection by bookshelves, therefore providing a closed section.
Around 1992 the Genealogy Section was relocated to the southwest corner of the 2nd floor. The Disabilities Act required that the library be more wheelchair accessible, therefore our previous bookcase enclosure did not meet code. We were provided a larger area for the growing collection, plus more natural light with many windows with blind protection.
In early 2001 the Genealogy Section was moved back to the northwest quadrant. The collection continues to grow. Most of the money collected for AGS dues and more is used to purchase books for the library′s genealogy collection.
In 2014 the Genealogy Section was moved to the Northeast Branch Library on Brown Blvd while the new Central Library was under construction. An AGS temporary committee supporting Genealogy Resources was created and Larry Howser was named as the Chair. During this period, AGS met at the Southwest Police Community Room on SW Greenoaks Blvd. In June 2018 when the George W. Hawkes Downtown Central Library was complete, the collection was moved to the Genealogy & Local History Section on the 3rd floor. Thereafter, the society began meeting in the 1st floor [re]Brary meeting room.
AGS Past Officers
AGS Past Speakers
AGS Past Newsletters
AGS Past Milestones
- May 18, 1971 Society Charter Members
- October 30, 1973 AGS donated to Laura Kersey, head of Central Library Audio–Visual Dept, an entire set of books including the "1850 Texas Census". This library donation was valued at almost $1,100 of volumes and information.
AGS Past Fund Raisers
- AGS Rummage Sale Apr. 1975; Trader′s Village Flea Market
- Festival ′76 May 15–17, 1976; Doug Russell Park and Trading Horse Creek
- AGS Rummage Sale Sept. 25–26, 1976; Trader′s Village Flea Market
- AGS Fund Raiser Feb. 13–14, 1981; Play "I Do! I Do" with Bill Cole and Persis Forster
- Workshop Mar. 28, 1981; Vandergrift Community Center, South Center St, $5; Speaker: Ronald A Bremer on "Southern Genealogical Post 1900 Sources"
- Workshop Nov. 12, 1983; Arlington Community Center, $10; Speakers: Mrs. Rene Smith of Dallas & Weldon Hudson of Ft Worth
- Workshop Nov. 10, 1984; First Christian Church, $10; Speakers: Carolyn Reeves Ericson of Nacogdoches and Paul Campbell on "South Carolina Research & Civil War Research"
AGS Past Collections Development
- Jean Jordan 1977, Book Acquisitions Chair
- Barbara Dickey 1978-1997, Book Acquisitions Chair; Obituary, Cemetery.
- Mary Ann Conrad 1998-2019, Collections Development Chair; Obituary, Cemetery.
About the Arlington Public Library
Past APL Directors
- Mrs. S. E. McClain 1963 – 1965
- Jack A. Corliss 1965 – 1989
- Dr. Betsy Burson June 1990 – May 31, 2001
- Dr. Rick Smith June 2001 – April 2004
- Cary Siegfried June 6, 2004 – Feb. 5, 2016
- Yoko Matsumoto Feb. 29, 2016 – Dec. 2018
- Norma Zuniga; Jan. 15, 2020 – present
APL Genealogy & Local History Collection
- Mark Dellenbaugh 2015 – present; Biography.