Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Tejano Archive Project Seeking Local Family Histories

By Staff Writer
VON ORMY— A new and ambitious effort to collect and preserve Tejano History is underway and  your help is needed.   Researches will be holding an open house on Sat., Nov 14 at Texas Community Bank in Somerset. 
     Researchers are inviting the public to bring their family photos, letters, artifacts or anything they feel may be of interest.  Researchers will be present to help identify records of interest and significance.  If selected, records will be digitally copied for inclusion in the archive and permanent  preservation.  
     The project is a collaboration between Alamo Colleges and the American Indians in Texas at the Spanish Missions.  It aims at locating, copying and collecting records related to the Spanish, indigenous and Tejano settlers of Bexar County that are scattered throughout the world in various archives and locally held in private collections.
     Records in public archives have already been identified in places  such as Cuba; Louisiana, Spain and Mexico City. 
     Professor Rudy de la Cruz of Alamo Colleges told the Star, “The records in these distant archives require diligent research to identify and collect.  We will spend hours combing through them looking for those related to Texas and Tejanos.  They are there just waiting to be discovered. The real gems for researchers, however, are those held in private family collections, because these records are unavailable anywhere else.”
     “The Von Ormy/Somerset area is perhaps the area with the deepest roots back to the early settlement period and there are many records held by private families that are of great significance to researchers.  We hope to find of these, so we can better tell the true history of Texas.”  
    Additional advisors on the project are the Witte Museum, the Bexar County Spanish Archives and Texas A & M—San Antonio.  The project was inspired by the upcoming tricentenniel of the founding of San Antonio. 
     2018 will mark the 300th anniversary of the founding of  the Villa de Bexar along San Pedro Creek by Spanish and Canary Island settlers.  Over time this settlement evolved into the City of San Antonio, while Bexar County retained the name of the original settlement.
    De la Cruz said, “It is remarkable that no such archive already exists.  This collection will serve students, researches and the public for years to come .”

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