Your Guide to Researching Texas Ancestors

State Capital: Austin, Texas
Prior to 1821 Texas was under Spanish rule
1821-1836 it was a part of Mexico.
It stood as the Republic of Texas between 1836 and 1845.
Admitted as the 28th state in 1845
First mostly extant federal census: 1850; Texas is one of the few states for which small remnants of the burned 1890 census still exist.
Statewide birth and death registration: 1903; some earlier records in counties.
Marriage records kept statewide beginning in 1966; see counties for earlier marriage records.
Texas is a stateland state.

Books, Periodicals, Articles, Tapes, CD's etc.
On The Web

The Handybook for Genealogists (now avaialble in its 11th edition) and/or Ancesetry's Redbook (3rd ed.) and/or The Family Tree Resource Book for Geenalogists section on Texas includes maps, historical information, vital records coverage and a bibliography of resources. You will want at least one of these books in your home or get photocopies of sections while at the library.

Ancestry's Texas Fact Sheet.


Bockstruck. Research in Texas. (find in a library)

Carefoot. A Guide to Genealogical Resources in the Texas State Archives. (out of pring) (find in a library)

Kennedy. Genealogical Records in Texas (find in a library) (review)

Mountain Press carries a number of Texas source books for sale. Note you can also search the indexes of their books to see if the surname you are searching is indexed.

Stirpes Quarterly


Audiotapes from past genealogy conferences with the word Texas in the title. provide a way to hear experienced speakers discuss researching Texas ancestors.


First, bookmark or print out these FHL documenst: Texas Research Outline and Texas Historical background. Also look atTexas Statewide Indexes.

Take the 5 lesson Lonestar Genealogy course
" Research in the Lonestar State"

Use the catalog at the FHL to find out what has been filmed covering the state Texas ; Click View Related Places in the upper right to find sources that have been filmed for the county you are researching and once there click View Related Places in the upper right to find sources that have been filmed for the township or city. You will want to check for resources in all three jurisdictions, although most people check the county holdings first, township next and state last.

Bookmark or print out this county map of Texas. or use the U.S. Census Bureau's Texas Map. Find historic Texas maps at the Perry Castaneda Library Texas Map Collection online. There are 254 counties in Texas. Links to other maps, including historical ones, can be found at Texas Maps.

See what is available at the Texas Gen Web , the ALHN Texas Page, and Texas AHGP page.

Look at the websites of these libraries. archives and societies.

Texas State Library & Archives includes a special section describing genealogy sources at the TSL&A
Major U or Gen Libs
Texas State Genealogical Society--
you might want to apply for one of these certificates:
Gone to Texas
Texas First Families
West Texas Pioneer

Find other genealogy societies in Texas

Texas is served by the National Archives Southwest Region, which is housed in Dallas.

The Texas Newspaper Project is centered at the University of Austin, which has posted the Texas Newspaper Collection Index, which lists all newspapers available through the project.

Newspapers on Microfilm at the Texas State Library are available on interlibrary loan; inquire at your local library.

The 1880 census can be searched for free at Find other online census records and more census information at CensusFinder's Texas links to find census records online. Texas did not take a territorial or state census,

The Texas General Land Office. Archives and Records Division website includes a History of Texas Public Lands , as well as two searchable databases: a surname index and land grant database.

To get information about vital records, check the Texas Office of Vital Records (official page) or the Vitalrec Texas Page. Check the Guide to Online Texas Death Records and Indexes to find death records available or indexed online.

Find burials at's Texas page or use Cemetery Junction's alphabetical list to find cemetery transcriptions online. The Texas State Cemetery is the site of burials of notable persons, including 2, 200 confederate soldiers and wives from Texas.

Don't forget your Texan black sheep ancestor!

Queries and Lookups:
Texas obituary lookups
Check the rootsweb Texas county boards -- see if someone placed a query on your ancestor, or place one yourself.

More links
Lone Star Genealogy ( many of the links are to the subscription site
Genealogy Today's State Gen Site: Texas
Genealink's Texas Page
Access Genealogy's List of Texas Links
Cyndi's List TexasPage
Linkpendium'sTexas Page


Return to Bobbie's Genealogy Classroom
This page last updated Monday, September 21, 2006
Created by Barbara Snow September 11, 2006
c. 2006, All rights reserved