Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Nick Kotz shared his grandfather’s story of coming to America and settling in Texas on Saturday as part of the Preserving Our Past: Community History Workshop series.
The goal of these workshops is “to encourage historical awareness and teach individuals how to research, preserve, and protect their local historic resources,” according to the Center for Texas Studies’ website,
Kotz said he was “using the history of this family to flesh out American history.”
“Family history is such an important topic,” said LeAnna Schooley, assistant director of the Center for Texas Studies at TCU. “It is extremely important we preserve the personal stories of Texas.”
Kotz spoke about the tools he used to find information about his family’s past and the impact technology has made on searching for family records. Some of the sources he said he used were city directories, ship records and citizenship records.
“You were looking for needles in hay sacks,” Kotz said. “Now, a whole new world of information has been opened up to us.”
After Kotz spoke about his grandfather’s story, he answered the audiences’ questions and signed copies of his book The Harness Maker’s Dream: Nathan Kallison and the Rise of South Texas.
“Looking at my own family history’s is the most interesting thing I have ever done,” Kotz said. “This was a huge learning experience for me.”
The series is held from January to May and from September to December, but because Kotz planned on being in Fort Worth in June, the Center for Texas Studies decided to “take the opportunity to add a special day,” Schooley said.
The next workshop, scheduled for September 6, will feature Dr. Roberto Calderon. He’ll speak about the Mexican history of North Texas.