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The History of SHHAR

SHHAR (pronounced "share") is a non-profit all-volunteer organization with the specific goal of helping Hispanics (Spanish language heritage) research their family history. A need for cooperative data sharing was first recognized in 1986 by a small group in Orange County, California, Tony Campos, Raul Guerra, Mimi Lozano and Ophelia Marquez. Networking and support among researchers was through weekly one-on-one support meetings at the Bolsa Family History Center in Westminster, California. Soon, annual quarterly meetings were offered, and special regional interest groups were organized.

The group formalized in 1987 and quickly grew to national networking status. Open, free lectures and workshops gained support from prominent historians and genealogists, such as Dr. Julian Nava, former Ambassador to Mexico and Professor Israel Cavazos Garza, Cronista (historian/archivist) for the State of Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Eventually, one of the quarterly meetings became an annual conference. Membership had expanded from local participants to networking across the nation.

The formalization from a study group to a society, the Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research represents both a goal and expanding awareness. The historical complexity of the connections among Spanish language heritage researchers has lead members to a better understanding and appreciation of our individual heritage, and the relationships between Hispanic researchers all over the world. Sharing is the reason for successful networking. SHHAR Journals and publications distributed by SHHAR are entirely authored and produced by SHHAR members as a service.

In order to help researchers an addition service was added. In 1995, with the assistance of Win Holtzman, a database was developed for networking purposes. Board member Laura Shane volunteered to manage the computerized matching service. This service facilitated researchers from all of the nation to communicate with each other. This at a time when the internet was just beginning to be used by the general public. The support resulted in a generous exchange of data, pedigrees, and family group sheets, as distant relatives have found one another. A new database will be activated and ready for on-line sharing by Spring, 2013; however previous entries will not be available.

Increasingly SHHAR members are invited by many groups to participate with displays, lectures, presentations, workshops, conferences and both helpto organize and set up events for/with other organizations. Past venues included many California sites, such as San Juan Capistrano, Rancho Los Alamitos, Autry Museum in Los Angeles, Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, Museum of Latin American Arts in Long Beach, Santa Ana College, Golden West College, Cypress College, Cal State Fullerton, Los Angeles Public Library, Santa Ana City Library, Westminster and Fountain Valley Public Libraries. In addition SHHAR members organized two conferences at the University of Arizona in Phoenix.

The SHHAR booth at the Orange County Fair won two ribbons in 2000, first place in Education and Quality and has taken ribbons at each of the four years in which SHHAR participated. Seven thousand How-To begin family history flyers were distributed.

In January 2000, SHHAR'S membership dues were eliminated. Today, SHHAR's major emphasis is on networking through their monthly presentations and through this website. The monthly presentations are OPEN AND FREE to the public. They are held on the 2nd Saturday of each month except August and December at the Family History Center, 674 S. Yorba St. Orange, CA 92869. Topics for the presentations focus on assisting one another in the varied aspects of geneological research and on providing speakers knowledgable in Hispanic history. Please refer to the Calendar of Events for the monthly topics and presenters.

The Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research started in 1987. Its 1st President was Raul Guerra who served for a few years. After Raul Guerra stepped down, Mimi Lozano took over as President and has served ever since, well over 20 years. In January of 2013, Mimi Lozano, submitted her resignation as SHHAR's president and Board Member. It is through her leadership and dedication that SHHAR has reached national and international status. Mimi, we love you and know that you will be missed. Letty Rodella, the new president, has been with SHHAR for two years and will continue building SHHAR just as Mimi did. Letty is a retired educator having spent 42 years in education and has been doing genealogy research for about 15 years.

SHHAR's Board Members are, as follows:

Letty Rodella, President
Viola Sadler, Vice-President
Laura Phillips, Treasurer
Tom Saenz, Recording Secretary
Don Garcia, Webmaster
Sonia Palacio, Hospitality Chair
Simona Placencia Book Collection & Sales Chair
John P. Schmal,
Virginia Gill,
Mimi Lozano, Past President

"The Society of Hispanic Historical & Ancestral Research conducted their annual board meeting, August 12, 2017. On the agenda was the Nominating Committee's Report and officers and new board members were elected. The following officers were elected for a two year term:
President - Letty Rodella
Vice President - Viola Sadler
Secretary - Tom Saenz
Treasurer - Virginia Gill

Elected Board Members were:
Viola Sadler, re-elected board member for 3-year term.
John Schmal, re-elected board member for 3-year term.
Laura Phillips was elected as a new board member.
Simona Placencia was elected as a new board member.

Among the items discussed was the scheduling of topics and speakers for the 2018 monthly presentations. Once those are confirmed, the will be posted on the Calendar of Events Page.

© 1986, SHHAR: Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research All Rights Reserved.