Resources for Research
This resource page contains a list of selected libraries in the Houston area with significant genealogical & family history resources. They offer free access to genealogy related databases.
Also listed are genealogy websites and videos to support your research.
Perpetual Yearly Calendar (Thanks to Debra)
Clayton Library Center – http://www2.houstonlibrary.org/clayton/
5300 Caroline Street, Houston, Texas, 77004 ~~ Phone: 832.393.2600
Clayton is the fourth largest genealogy library in the United States. It houses most conventional genealogical resources such as Federal census records (all States), city directories, birth/death indexes, estate records, wills, deeds, newspapers, handbooks, guides, databases and much more.
Resources via Internet: As a TexShare member, HPL provides free access to a number of genealogical resources, including HeritageQuest Online (ProQuest), where you can search U.S. Federal Census records and other family history materials. Note: Remote access is available for those who have an HPL PowerCard.
Houston Metropolitan Research Center (HMRC) – http://www2.houstonlibrary.org/hmrc/
500 McKinney Houston, Texas, 77002 ~~ Phone: 839.393.1313
The Texas Room and Archives are excellent resources for tapping local history as well as Texas history in general.
The African American Library at the Gregory School – http://houstonlibrary.org/research/african-american-library-gregory-school
1300 Victor Street, Houston, Texas 77019 ~~ Phone: 832.393.1440
The archival collection at the Gregory School contains historic local Black-owned newspapers, yearbooks from local Black high schools, family collections, scholarly journals, and other resources that are useful for genealogical research. Many resources are made available online.
Robert James Terry Library (RJT) (Texas Southern University Campus) – http://www.tsu.edu/academics/robert_j_terry_library/
3100 Cleburne Avenue, Houston, Texas 77004 ~~ Phone: 713.313.7402
Resources: Heartman is reputedly the largest repository of people of African descent located in the southwestern United States. Among its extensive holdings are original slave narratives, rare books, local history, and an impressive manuscript collection. Heartman also oversees the African Art Gallery, Barbara Jordan papers, University Archives, and more. Heartman has recently released its Texas Slave Trade Series, 1818-1886 on microfilm which contains names of hundreds slaves, slave owners, bills of sale and more. The Guide to the Texas Slave Trade Series is now available (download) through Kathryn Morrow Research.
Thurgood Marshall School of Law Library (TMSLL) Special Collections Texas Southern University
3100 Cleburne Houston, Texas 77004 ~~ Phone: 713.313.1978
Resources: TMSLL Special Collections boast several resources with genealogical value such as Freedmen’s Bureau materials, U.S. Colored Troops, Ante-Bellum plantation records, National Negro Business League, Writer’s Project Administration, State Slavery Statutes, abolitionist papers, Texas Voter Registration List, index to Texas birth/death records, census indexes (CD-ROM), census records (Harris County), slave schedules, handbooks, guides and other conventional genealogical materials.
Resources via Internet: The Digital Serial Set within the CIS Congressional Universe collection of databases is an overlooked resource that has tremendous genealogical value. It is especially useful for researching state history. It references hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of names from well known legislatures to the average American citizen. CIS Congressional Universe is available to the public via local network; remote access is available to TSU students, faculty, staff and TexShare Card holders who have Law Library accounts. As a TexShare member, the public can also access HeritageQuest Online through the Law Library local network.
Harris County Archives – http://www.cclerk.hctx.net/harriscountyarchives/AboutUs.aspx
11525 Todd St, Houston, TX 77055 ~~ Phone: 713.274.9680
The holdings of the archives include approximately 6400 bound volumes, 3600 cubic feet of processed and unprocessed records, 637 bound volumes of the Houston Post, and over 14,000 rolls of microfilm including departmental records and the Houston Chronicle and Houston Post newspapers (1976 – 2001). Additionally, the archives includes over 600 volumes of scrapbooks and maps, photographs, video and film. The Harris County Archives is capable of providing digital copies of the records in its collection.
One-Stop-Shop Genealogy Websites
- AAHGS: Founded in 1977, The Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society (AAHGS) is the premier institution for African American family history and genealogical research. AAHGS is a leader in scholarly research as it relates to African ancestry genealogy, family history, and culture in the Americas.
- AfriGeneas: AfriGeneas is the gateway to “African Ancestored” genealogy & family history regardless of geographic location or research level. It is an excellent place to start, especially for beginners.
- AAGSNC: Since its founding in 1999, the African American Genealogical Society of Northern California (AAGSNC) has been on the cutting edge of e-genealogy. Its wealth of resources touches all aspects of African American genealogical and historical research.
- Cindi’s List: Cindi’s List, like AfriGeneas, is a great starting point for Afro-genealogy. It is well indexed and connects the researcher to broad subject areas and specific resources that are sure to support your research endeavors.
- National Genealogical Society: Considered the premier national society for genealogy and family history, NGS was founded in 1903. It is the flagship institution for genealogy and family history with emphasis on the educational, ethical, and scholarly endeavors within the field.
- RootsWeb.com: RootsWeb.com is clearly the oldest e-genealogy website on the Internet to date. It is truly a portal to the vast, growing universe of genealogical and family history research from all angles. RootsWeb is a comprehensive genealogical website and has a place for all people interested in researching their family history.
- FamilySearch.org: FamilySearch.org is a resource of LDS (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). LDS a seasoned pioneer in the area of genealogy and family history. It has the largest collection on this subject matter in the world. LDS is also a decisive leader in genealogy computing and software development. LDS offers resources specific to African Americans and has local Family History Centers where you can tap its vast collection.
- Locate a Family History Center (Houston Area)
- The Red River Sankofa Project – The Red River Sankofa Project seeks to research, document and preserve underreported African American burial grounds in NW Louisiana and NE Texas.
- Red River Sankofa Historical Society – Red River Sankofa Historical Society seeks to enhance and promote awareness of the accomplishments and contributions of people of African descent as organic and essential components of larger communities within Northwest Louisiana & Northeast Texas.
- How to Search Obituaries to Find Ancestors and Trace Your Family Tree!
- Facebook genealogy groups
Getting Started With Genealogy by Rhonda McClure
A quick overview of forms, software programs, and charts to use when getting started. Tips for recording names, dates, and things to consider as you move forward with your research.
Principles For Beginning Genealogy by Presenter: Dr. Tom Jones, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA
In this short video, you will learn the principles to effective genealogical research. Dr. Tom Jones gives the steps of research, helpful hints and overall direction on how to overcome your “brick walls.” This lesson presents research ideas that can be more fully explored in the full research course title Inferential Genealogy, which includes the same concepts with case studies and simulated interactive coaching.