Texas Genealogy and History Guide

Texas Genealogy Resources:

FIRST NAME

LAST NAME

LOCALITY


Bible Records Indexes

Texas quick facts:

  • Statehood:
    December 29, 1845
  • State Capital:
    Austin
  • State Nickname:
    The Lone Star State
  • State Bird:
    Mockingbird
  • State Song:
    "Texas Our Texas"
  • State Flower:
    Bluebonnet
  • State Tree:
    Pecan
  • State Motto:
    Friendship

Texas Genealogy Research Guide:

Texas Census Records:

Known as The Republic of Texas from 1836-1845 and was annexed to the United States by signature on December 29, 1845 but officially on February 19, 1846.  The first Federal census was enumerated in Texas in 1850.  Federal censuses were taken every ten years thereafter.

Texas Federal Census Years:

  • 1850 Census
  • 1860 Census
  • 1870 Census
  • 1880 Census
  • 1890 Census burned in a warehouse fire and what remains are a very small fragment for Ellis County along with the Special schedules for Veterans and Widows which lists only Union veterans and widows..
  • 1900 Census
  • 1910 Census
  • 1920 Census
  • 1930 Census

Texas Military Records:

US Military service records can be obtained from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

Texas soldiers records can be searched online at the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System but don't  consider this a definitive source.  The records held at NARA are more comprehensive.

Texas Confederate pension records can be searched online at the Texas State Library Confederate Pensions Database.  The database contains over 54,000 records of pensions issued by the Texas government from 1899 to 1975.

United States Civil War Prisons has some prisoner lists online.

Texas Vital Records:

Texas began officially recording birth and death records in 1903.  Birth and death certificates are on file at the Texas Department of Health.  Marriage and divorce records are on file at the county clerk's office of each individual county.  It must be noted: Even though Texas required filing of birth and death certificates in 1903, this law was not strictly adhered to by many physicians until years later so early records are sketchy.  Some earlier vital records are on file at the county level in SOME counties.  Don't EXPECT to find your Texas ancestors in earlier vital records but do search for them, as you will be pleasantly surprised if you do find one.  The sad think about the early Texas marriage records, is they didn't require parents names so they will not yield much genealogical information.

Texas Genealogy Subscriptions Online:

Many websites with genealogy resources for Texas are available online. Some offer free TX genealogy databases and other information for the online researcher, but the subscription websites hold a more consistent amount of quality data and offer free trials to that data.

1. Texas Genealogy Databases at Ancestry

          Get the Ancestry.com Free Trial when you register!

2. Genealogy.com offers genealogy databases, a library and U.S. Census Collection.

         FREE TRIAL of Genealogy.com


Texas bluebonnetCondensed History of TexasTexas bluebonnet

Spanish explorers first found Texas shores in 1519 and for over 300 hundred years, portions of Texas were under Spanish rule.  East Texas Indians welcomed the Spanish fleets but were not happy with "Mission living", preferring their own religious idols and culture.  Texas Indian Tribes included the Caddos, which the early Spanish called the Tejas.  Tejas is said to be the Caddo Tribe's word for friend.  This word evolved to Texas, becoming the name of the Mexican province, later the Republic and today the state.  The state motto remains friendship.

In 1685 La Salle established Fort St. Louis in Matagorda Bay, thus France laid a claim to Texas lands.  Two years later, La Salle was murdered by his own men and Mexican explorers moved to reestablish the Spanish presence.  Thus began the Missions period with many Catholic missions erected across Texas.

Between 1719 and 1722, during a war between Spain and France, the French attempted some takeovers of Spanish missions which were thwarted.  Since that time France had no rule over Texas lands, though there continued to be smuggling and privateering between French Louisiana and Spanish Texas.

After 1749, parts of the present day state were included in Coahuila, while San Antonio was thriving and becoming the most important community in Spanish Texas.

In 1830, Mexico forbade emigration from the United States into Texas, paving the way for a revolution.  Texans were unhappy with Mexican policy and the revolution started on October 2, 1835 when Texans stormed the presidio at Goliad.  Following battles and skirmishes throughout 1835, was the Siege of Bexar where Texans took the town of San Antonio in December 1835.  On March 6th, 1836, Mexicans returned to take back the key town of San Antonio and the famous battle of the Alamo took place.  The battle ensued with 189 Texans against about 1600 Mexicans.  All 189 lost their lives.

On April 21, 1836, Sam Houston led the Texans against the Mexican Army at San Jacinto, gaining independence for Texas.

From 1836 to 1845, the Texas flag flew over the land and was known as The Republic of Texas.  On December 29, 1845, U.S. legislation was signed admitting Texas as the 28th state of the Union.  Upon this legislation, the Mexican-American war broke due to disputes over Texas boundaries.  At this time, the Rio Grande River became the southern boundary line for Texas.

On February 1, 1861, Texas seceded from the Union along with a handful of other southern states who became the Confederacy and the Civil War was begun.  The Civil War lasted until April 9, 1865 and in fact the last battle of this bloody war was fought on Texas soil more than a month after General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, VA.  The Battle of Palmito Ranch occurred on May 12-13, 1865.

After being readmitted into the Union, Texas was built on cattle ranching, farming and in the early 20th century, oil was discovered at Spindletop launching a whole new era of "black gold" or "Texas Tea" and a hope of new prosperity for Texas was born.

Texas History Resources Online:

 

 

Bluebonnet graphics courtesy of Santa Lady