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					 Frequently Asked Questions: Genealogy at the Texas State Library and Archives

Question: What records are available in the Genealogy Collection?

Answer: The Genealogy Collection contains indexes to some Texas births, deaths,
marriages and divorces but not the actual certificates.

Question: What information is contained in each index?

Answer: The indexes are organized alphabetically by name and also provide the date of
the event being researched, the county in which the event happened, and often the
certificate file number.

Question: What information can you give me about records of births in and after 1903?

Answer: Birth indexes from 1903 to the latest year available are in the Genealogy
Collection. There is one index that covers all the birth records from 1903 through 1909,
with 1910 and later years having individual indexes. Some of our delayed birth indexes
include births from as early as 1880. Before the founding of the State Department of
Public Health and Vital Statistics in 1903, Texas did not keep birth records at the state
level. Consistent birth records were not kept in Texas until the 1930s. Finally,
sometimes “inf of” (meaning infant of) can appear in the place of a first name in the birth
indexes.

Question: What information can you give me about birth records prior to 1903?

Answer: When births were recorded in Texas prior to 1903 they were kept in the county
clerk’s office in the county of birth. Many people did not have their births recorded but
created such records later in their lives. The Genealogy Collection has indexes covering
a small number of these delayed certificates. These indexes are organized alphabetically
and contain births from as early as 1880 to as late as 1975. For other possible delayed
certificates, the State Department of Public Health and Vital Statistics and the requisite
county clerk’s office should be contacted directly.


Question: What information can you give me about records of deaths in and after 1903?

Answer: Death indexes from 1903 to the latest year available are in the Genealogy
Collection. There is one index that covers all the death records from 1903 through 1940,
another that contains death records from 1941 through 1945, one for 1946 through 1955,
and individual indexes for 1956 and after. Sometimes women are listed under the first
name of their husbands. Before the founding of the State Department of Public Health
and Vital Statistics, Texas did not keep death records at the state level. Consistent death
records were not kept in Texas until the 1930s. The words “inf of” (meaning infant of)
may appear in the death indexes in the case of the death of an infant.
Question: What information can you give me about death records prior to 1903?

Answer: When deaths were recorded in Texas prior to 1903 they were kept in the county
clerk’s office in the county of death.

Question: What information can you give me about the marriage records available in the
Genealogy Collection?

Answer: The collection contains marriage records from 1966 through the latest year
available and each year has its own index.

Question: Can you explain why I cannot find certain marriage records?

Answer: Texas did not keep marriage records at the state level until 1966. When
marriages were recorded in Texas before 1966 they were kept in the county clerk’s office
in the county where the marriage took place.

Question: What information can you give me about the divorce records available in the
Genealogy Collection?

Answer: The collection contains divorce records from 1968 through the latest year
available. There is one index that covers all divorce records from 1968 through 1972.
For 1973 and later years there are separate indexes.

Question: Can you explain why I cannot find certain divorce records?

Answer: Texas did not keep divorce records at the state level until 1968. When divorces
were recorded in Texas before 1968 they were kept in the county clerk’s office in the
county where the divorce took place.

Question: How can I obtain the actual birth, death, marriage or divorce certificate?

Answer: Contact the Department of State Health Services, Vital Statistics Unit, P.O. Box
12040, Austin, Texas, 78711-2040; 512-458-7111 or 888-963-7111 (toll-free). Their
office is located at 1100 West 49th Street and their Web site is:
www.dshs.tx.state.us/vs/regproc/certified_copy.shtm . Only the County Clerk of the
county in which a marriage happened can give you a certified marriage record. Only the
District Clerk of the county in which a divorce happened can give you a certified divorce
record. The telephone numbers and addresses of all Texas County and District Clerks are
obtainable at: www.dshs.state.tx.us/vs/field/district/shtm .