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Fronteras: Preserving Family Recuerdos Y Historias, Memories And Stories

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Oral history projects have been instrumental in preserving the stories of people who have made notable contributions to the country and local communities but didn’t make it to the history books.

From capturing untold stories of Mexican-American World War II veterans to the bracero agricultural workers program, first-hand accounts contribute perspectives that fill in the gaps in documented history, sometimes correcting or even contradicting the written record.

But oral histories are not bound by significant historical events. A new project aims to teach and equip local residents with resources on how to preserve their own family’s history and memories. Whether it’s letters, VHS tapes or photos, professional archivist Donna Guerra and historian Laura Hernandez-Ehrisman have hosted virtual workshops on caring for personal family documents and gathering oral histories.

Guerra and Hernandez-Ehrisman are co-curators of the Museo del Westside, a project of San Antonio’s Esperanza Peace & Justice Center that celebrates the people and culture of this mostly-Latino neighborhood.

A virtual workshop, “Mexican Genealogy 101: Finding Your Ancestors in South Texas and Mexico,” takes place May 8 at 11 a.m. on the Esperanza’s Facebook, YouTube and Twitter pages.

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Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1
Lauren Terrazas can be reached at lauren@tpr.org and on Twitter at @terrazas_lauren