Research In The Lonestar State

Gone To Texas, Where Do I Start?

Brief History and Records

Genealogy research in Texas can be a difficult challenge for many. The largest problem for many Texas researchers is the first federal census in Texas was taken in 1850. Researching prior to this time will depend on many other records to locate information. It will be important to know the history of Texas to locate the records available to assist with research.

Those who immigrated or migrated after statehood in 1846, have many records available. Many of these records will be similar to other southern states.

Researching during the Republic (1836-1845) days will almost always require land searches. Texas, being a new country, provided many records on the settlers and of course, taxes for anything that they owned. The researcher will become familiar with the changes that were taking place and will need to check the many special collections of Texas. One of the changes that will be noticed is on land records. There will be a change from veras to acres. There are land records available at the courthouses, so always check for their availability.

The third time period that the researcher may encounter, is the pre- epublic days. These records will be very interesting and many times the assistance of a translator will be needed. There are many special collections available and wonderful land records for ancestors. Between 1829 and 1836 Mexico took census records that included all members of a household, age, maritial status, occupation, and additional information. These census records are located as part of the Nacogdoches Archives in the Genealogy Section of the State Archives. Some have been published, but are not complete.

To Begin Research In Texas

To begin research in Texas is similar to other research you may have done. Always research from the known to the unknown. Keep in mind the migration trails and what is normal or common. It is of course common to see a family from the south moving into Texas and maybe going to California, but did you know it is just as common for a migration from many northern states to Texas. This is particularly true during the pre-Republic days. Most came to Texas to get a new start in life. Many of them leaving behind debts and criminal records in other states.

Proceed to Lesson Two


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