Texas Records Resources

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Record Highlights

Texas began statewide civil registration of births and deaths in 1903, marriages in 1966, and divorces in 1968. Copies of birth and death certificates can be requested from the county clerk’s office where the record originated, or the state bureau of vital statistics. The county office is often a good first choice; fees vary. Certified copies of marriage licenses come only from the county clerk’s office that issued the license; copies of divorce decrees come only from the district clerk’s office where the case was heard. The state vital statistics office issues only a verification of marriage or divorce based on the application the court clerk submitted to that office. The website provides instructions and fees; allow about three months for a response from the state office. Pre–1903 vital records exist for some locations. Marriage records often survive from the creation of the county; many pre-republic marriages have been published. The Congress of the Republic granted few divorces.

The first federal census for Texas is 1850. Texas has taken no state censuses, but most Spanish and Mexican town censuses and resident lists have been published. Good resources for republic and early state residents are county tax rolls, many dating from 1836.

Never in federal public domain, Texas officially retained the land within its current boundaries after statehood. Colonial, republic, and state land grants and related records are at the Texas General Land Office.


In the state library, state archives, general land office, or other repositories, records include the following:

  • Colonial collections such as the Bexar, Laredo, and Nacogdoches archives
  • 1834–1835 character certificates, mostly for East Texans
  • Confederate indigent families list
  • Confederate pension applications from 1899; an index is available online
  • Republic of Texas claims for payment, reimbursement or damages that citizens submitted to the Republic government, 1835–1846; republic pensions and claims submitted after 1846; index online at the Texas State Library
  • 1854–1855 scholastic censuses of school-age children, various counties
  • 1867 voter registrations

Census Records

  • 1830 Citizens of Texas by Gifford E. White (Eakin Press, 1983)
  • Texas, 1830–1839, Census Index by Ronald Vern Jackson (Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1981)

Immigration Records

  • Comal County, Texas, and New Braunfels, Texas, German Immigrant Ships, 1845–1846 by J. McManus (F.T. Ingmire, 1985)
  • A New Land Beckoned: German Immigration to Texas, 1844–1847 by Chester W. Geue and Ethel H. Geue (Texian Press, 1972)
  • Passenger Lists for Galveston 1850–1855 by Albert J. Blaha (A.J. Blaha, 1985)
  • Ships Passenger Lists, Port of Galveston, Texas, 1846–1871 (Southern Historical Press, 1984)
  • Stephen F. Austin’s Register of Families edited by Villamae Williams (Genealogical Publishing Co., 1989)
  • Tennesseans in Texas by Helen and Timothy Marsh (Southern Historical Press, 1986)

Land Records

  • Abstract of Land Claims, compiled from the records of the Genealogy Land Office (Civilian Book Office, 1852)
  • Abstract of Land Titles of Texas Comprising the Titled, Parented, and Located Lands in the State (Shaw and Blaylo, 1878)
  • Bounty and Donation Land Grants of Texas 1835-1888 by Thomas Lloyd Miller (University of Texas Press, 1967)
  • Character Certificates in the General Land Office of Texas by Gifford White (G. White, 1985)
  • Claiming Their Land: Women Homesteaders in Texas by Florence C. Gould (Texas Western Press, 1991)
  • Early Texas Settlers, 1700’s–1800’s (Broderbund, 2000, CD-ROM)
  • First Settlers of the Republic of Texas: Headright Land Grants, 1840, 2 vols., by Carolyn Reeves Ericson (1841; Carolyn R. Ericson, ca. 1982)
  • Index to Spanish and Mexican Land Grants in Texas by Virginia H. Taylor (Lone Star Press, 1974)
  • The Land Commissioners of Texas: by Garry Mauro (Texas General Land Office, 1986)
  • The Public Lands of Texas 1519–1970 by Thomas Lloyd Miller (University of Oklahoma Press, 1971)
  • Residents of Texas, 1782–1836, 3 vols., from the University of Texas (The Institute, 1984)
  • Spanish and Mexican Land Grants in the Chibuabuan Acquisition by J.J. Bowden (Texas Western Press, 1971)


  • Biographical Gazetteer of Texas, 6 vols., by Virginia H. Ming and William L. Ming (W.M. Morrison Books, 1985-1987)
  • A Gazetteer of Texas by Henry Gannett (Government Printing Office, 1904)
  • A Historical Atlas of Texas by William C. Pool (Encino Press, 1975)
  • How Come It’s Called That?: Place Names in the Big Bend Country by Virginia Madison and Hallie Stillwell (University of New Mexico Press, 1958)
  • Maps of Texas, 1527–1900: The Map Collection of the Texas State Archives compiled by James M. Day (Pemberton Press, 1974)
  • Maps of Texas and the Southwest, 1513–1900 by James C. Martin and Robert S. Martin (University of New Mexico Press, 1984)
  • Old Texas Trails by J. W. Williams (Eakin Press, 1979)
  • Texas Atlas and Gazetteer (DeLorme Mapping, 1995)
  • 800 Texas Ghost Towns by Ed Bartholomew (Frontier Books, 1971)
  • 1001 Texas Place Names by Fred Tarpley (University of Texas Press, 1980)

Military Records

  • The Heroes of San Jacinto by Sam Houston Dixon and Louise Wiltz Kemp (The Anson Jones Press, 1932)
  • Index to Applications for Texas Confederate Pensions by John M. Kinney (Archives Division, Texas State Library, 1977)
  • Index to Texas CSA Pension Files by Virgil D. White (National Historical Publishing Co., 1989)
  • Lone Stars and State Gazettes: Texas Newspapers Before the Civil War by Marilyn McAdams Sibley (Texas A&M University Press, 1983)
  • Muster Lists of the Texas Confederate Troops by Sherman L. Pompey (Historical and Genealogical Publishing Co., 1966)
  • Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution (Daughters of the Republic of Texas, 1986)
  • Republic of Texan Pension Application Abstracts by John C. Baron, et al. (Austin Genealogical Society, 1987)
  • Roll Call at the Alamo (The Old Army Press, 1985)
  • Texas Frontiersmen, 1839–1860: Minute Men, Militia, Home Guard, Indian Fighters by Frances Terry Ingmire (F.T. Ingmire, 1982)
  • Texas Newspapers, 1813–1939: A Union List (San Jacinto Museum of History Association, 1951)
  • Texas Rangers: Frontier Battalion, Minute Men, Commanding Officers, 1847-1900, 6 vols., by Frances Terry Ingmire (F.T. Ingmire, 1982)
  • Texas Ranger Indian War Pensions by Robert W. Stephens (Nortex Press, 1975)
  • Texas Volunteers in the Mexican War by Henry W. Barton (Texican Press, 1970)
  • War of 1812 Veterans in Texas by Mary Smith Fay (Polyanthos, 1979)

Probate Records

  • Index to Probate Cases of Texas compiled by the Work Projects Administration for 31 counties (University of Texas, 1980)

Vital Records

  • 4000 Tombstone Inscriptions from Texas. 1745–1870: Along the Old San Antonio Road and the Trail of Austin’s Colonists by Mrs. Malcolm B. Biggerstaff (Oklahoma Historical Society, 1952)
  • Cemetery Records of Texas, 6 vols. (Genealogical Society of Utah, 1956-63)
  • Early Texas Birth Records, 1838–1878, 2 vols. (Alice D. Gracy, Emma G. S. Gentry, and Jane Sumner, 1969, 1971)
  • An Index to Texas Probate Birth Records, ca. 1900–1945 (filmed by the Texas State Library, 1988)
  • Marriage Records of Early Texas, 1826–1846 by Norma R. Grammer (Fort Worth Genealogical Society, 1971)
  • Northeast Texas Cemeteries by John P. Frazier (S. and W. Enterprises, 1984)
  • A Reference to Texas Cemetery Records by Kim Parsons (Kim Parsons, 1988)
  • Texas Cemetery Inscriptions: A Source Index by Sherry Crofford-Gould (Limited Editions, 1977)
  • 8,800 Texas Marriages, 1824–1850, 2 vols., by Helen S. Swenson (Helen S. Swanson, 1981)
  • Texas Marriages, Early to 1850: A Research Tool by Jordan R. Dodd (Precision Indexing, 1990)

Return to the main Texas page

A version of this article originally appeared in the Family Tree Sourcebook.
Also available: the State Research Guide Book and The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy.