It is easy to find genealogy records… IF you know where the records are! Unfortunately, most of us expend a lot of time and energy finding the records that we seek. A new book by Imogene Kinard Kennedy and J. Leon Kennedy promises to simply the task for anyone looking for records in Texas.
Genealogical Records in Texas is a 248-page paperback that is overflowing with information about hundreds of records repositories within the state.
The book starts with a series of great history lessons: Early Municipalities of Texas, Mexican Laws Concerning Immigration, Spanish Terms Used in Land Grants and Early Deeds, Original Colonies of Texas, Land Districts of Texas, and the Formation and Organization of Counties.
Genealogical Records in Texas then describes the records available at county courthouses, in the Texas State Library and its regional divisions, in the Texas State Archives, and in the Texas General Land Office. The book also contains a nearly 20-page listing of Texas libraries with significant resources for genealogical research.
Of course, one would expect a book about the repositories within a state to list each county and give an address for the county courthouse. Genealogical Records in Texas does that but adds even more information. A lot more.
I'll use the listing for Frio County as an example. This books starts by giving the pronunciation as Free' oh, a helpful guide in a state with many English, Spanish, Indian, French, and German county names and which does not always follow the spelling conventions of those languages. For instance, ask a French-speaking person to pronounce Nacogdoches. It won't sound like the Texan pronunciation!!
Next, this book lists the county seat of Frio County as Pearsall (pronounced "PEER' sawl") and ZIP code of 78061. The county was created 2-01-1858 and organized on 7-20-1871.
This county was formed from pieces of three earlier counties: Uvalde, Bexar, and Atascosa. A small map shows the current county boundaries and then illustrates which section of each "parent county" was given to Frio County. Surrounding counties are also shown on the map.
A detailed text description follows, telling what records of which years are held in each repository. For instance, Frio County was formed in 1858. For the years 1831 through 1834, records for the entire county will be found in Bexar County, and for the years 1834 through 1838 such records will be found in San Patricio County. At that point, county lines were redrawn. Referring to the map, records the western part of what is now Frio County for 1838 through 1856 will be found in Bexar County, and so on and so forth. The use of the small map makes it all rather clear.
Another notation says that the records for San Patricio County were destroyed in 1846 and again in 1867. Obviously, that loss would include the records for areas that are now within Frio County.
Finally, there is a short description of the types of records available: deeds since 1871, applications to purchase homesteads 1873-1908, marriages since 1871, probates since 1873, District Court minutes since 1873, and declaration records since 1900.
As you can see, the description of just one county's records is quite detailed. Keep in mind that Texas has 254 counties; so, you can readily appreciate the thickness of this book.
Genealogical Records in Texas is a reference book, and the writing style reflects that. As Joe Friday said so eloquently, "Just the facts ma'am. Nothing but the facts." In fact, Detective Friday probably would approve of all the facts stuffed into this 248-page book.
If you are researching ancestors in Texas, you need this book!
Genealogical Records in Texas by Imogene Kinard Kennedy and J. Leon Kennedy is published under the Clearfield imprint of Genealogical Publishing Company. It sells for $37.50. Any bookstore can order it for you if you specify ISBN 0806311851. You can also order Genealogical Records in Texas directly from the publisher on a safe and secure online shopping cart system at http://genealogical.com/item_detail.asp?afid=&ID=3149