They say everything is bigger in Texas. The State Library and Archives is no exception. It offers a wide variety of historical records and documents. The jewel of the library is the genealogy collection. It features several databases, many of which are available online.
The Vital Statistics Indexes covers births, deaths, marriages and divorces. Births are available from 1903 with a few delayed births dating back to 1880. Deaths are also available from 1903. Marriage indexes begin with 1966. Divorces begin in 1968. Like most states, more recent vital statistics aren't available.
The indexes are not available online. However, you can submit a request via mail or email for a librarian to check the index for a specific name. They ask that you limit your search to five names at a time and provide a specific name rather than a general surname search. Information from the index can be used to order the actual certificate from the Department of State Health Services or the clerk of the county where the event occurred.
The Confederate Pensions Database searches the index of over 50,000 pension applications submitted by Confederate veterans or their widows. It includes both approved and rejected ones. It is searchable by name with the option of narrowing the search by county. The search results will give you the applicant's name, application number (unless rejected or home designation), county, husband's name (if applicable) and in some cases will link the husband's application.
Once you have located your ancestor in the database, you can request a copy of the application and any supporting documents from the library. Requests can be made over the telephone or through the mail or email. Requests are limited to ten pension applications per week. There is a fee for copies and you will receive an invoice with the copies.
The Texas Adjutant General Service Records span the years 1836 to 1935. Information available in these records can vary widely. In some cases, the file consists of little more than a scrap of paper. In others, you may find details such as pay records, oaths of allegiance, discharge records, general orders and more.
The database is searchable by name. If known, you can narrow the search by selecting the organization the individual served in. The results screen gives you the name, organization served in, call number and in most cases, a link to a PDF image of the record.
If your ancestor lived in Texas when it was a republic, you may want to check out the Republic Claims Database. These records hold claims for payment, restitution or reimbursement submitted to the Republic of Texas between the years of 1835 and 1846 by citizens. There are also a few claims available after 1846. The database is searchable by name. The results screen gives you the claimant's name, other names mentioned in the claim, type of claim, claim number, microfilm location, a link to images and the ID number
Another free genealogy resource found in the archives is the Confederate Indigent Families lists. These lists contain the names of Confederate families that were eligible for relief from the Texas government. Not all counties are represented and the amount of information varies between entries.
You can browse the database by name or county. The results screen gives only the person's name and county. The actual records have been transcribed and are available by requesting the book Confederate Indigent Families Lists of Texas 1863-1865 by Linda Mearse through interlibrary loan.
If researching property owned by a Texas ancestor, the County Tax Rolls may be helpful in your search. The rolls begin at each county's formation and go through 1921. The rolls are incomplete; some counties have missing years. They are not available online, but can be viewed at the archives. It isn't stated, but you may be able to request a lookup by the library staff.
County records, including vital statistics and other records, are available at the archive, but not online. You can use the website to determine the correct microfilm. Interlibrary loan of microfilms is available so you may wish to request it through your local library.
City directories are available for viewing at the archive. If visiting the archive is not an option, you may be able to request a lookup or copy from the library staff. Telephone directories are now part of the collection at the Center for American History.
Voter registration for the year 1867 is available on microfilm at the archives. The library website can help you determine the correct microfilm. You can view it at the archives or request it through interlibrary loan.
If one of your ancestors was the black sheep of the family, the Convict Record Ledgers and Indexes may be helpful in your genealogy research. The ledgers cover the years 1849 to 1954. Information in the ledgers may include name, aliases, convict number, age, physical characteristics, marital status, birthplace, residence, information on crime committed, birthdate, birthplace of parents, and military service. Indexes are available for the years 1849 to 1970.
If you don't know the convict number, your best bet is the indexes. They are organized by name. The ledgers, on the other hand, are organized by convict number. Both ledgers and indexes are on microfilm at the library with the the information needed to locate the correct film on the website. You can view the microfilm at the archives or request it through interlibrary loan.