Texas Czech Genealogical Society
Texas Czech genealogical Society

History of the TCGS

Thoughts of a genealogical society dedicated to Czech genealogy began in the minds and hearts of Charlene Hurta and Patrick Janis a number of years prior to the organization becoming a reality. In July 1999, the thought process began. A November 2000 meeting in Galveston between Charlene Hurta, Wayne and Sallie Wendt, and Patrick Janis served to crystalize ideas to form the new society. A short two months later – January 2001 – the Texas Czech Genealogical Society was born in Temple, Texas spearheaded by the original founders and joined by Leo Baca, Sylvia Laznovsky, Pat Fowler, and Rev. John Gantt. The following month, TCGS adopted our logo that was designed by the artistic hand of Rev. John Gantt. In mid-2001, the Texas Czech Genealogical Society became a 501 (c3) non-profit organization. Our logo received the Registered Trademark number 4,108,304 from the United States Patent and Trademark Office on March 6, 2012.
Friends of the SPJST Library
The SPJST Library in Temple, Texas is certainly a treasure to all with an interest in Czech language and culture. In 2001 the newly formed Texas Czech Genealogical Society (TCGS) proposed a “Friends of the SPJST Library” project to the SPJST LAM Committee. The TCGS proposal was accepted on March 10, 2001. The primary objective of the TCGS project was to maximize the value of the library.
A preliminary plan was prepared to accomplish this objective. The plan focused on preservation, cataloging, acquisitions, and outreach/publicity. Preservation activities were directed toward books and newspapers. An initial effort not only identified each book but also documented which books needed to be repaired. The TCGS also reviewed preservation techniques for newspapers. Microfilming, scanning, and storing on CD-ROM were evaluated. The two newspapers considered for preservation were the Vestnik and Hospodar.
In 2012 the publication of the Vestnik celebrated 100 years of publication and in 2011 TCGS took on the project of scanning all the available copies in possession of SPJST. This publication contains a tremendous amount of information concerning Czech heritage and culture, as well as the genealogical field. This proved to be a monumental project that will soon be available online. When it does become available online, TCGS will assist anyone interested in obtaining information from these Vestniks.
Since the inception of the TCGS’s Friends of the SPJST Library, inventorying books was the main priority. The project is approximately 75 percent complete. The TCGS group works at least one day a month to complete this part of the project.
If you are interested in being involved with this library project or would like to participate in some other TCGS project in the library, please contact Merlene Bravenec by email at bravema@sbcglobal.net or by telephone at 254-778-7285.