"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column
by Lynna Kay Shuffield
Houston, Texas

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Printed Taylor Daily Press - 30 Sept 1999

“Texas and Local History Collection”

If you are tracing families with Texas roots, you can find a wealth of information at the “Texas and Local History Collection,” (more commonly known as the “Texas Room”), Houston Public Library System, 500 McKinney, Houston, Texas 77002. The Texas Room is on the 2nd floor of the Ideson Building, across the plaza from the main downtown library located in the Jones Building. They are open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., closed holidays.

Will Howard, Assistant Manager of the Texas Room, stated, “We offer reference services and research materials in every subject relating to the history of the City of Houston and the State of Texas. It is a closed-stack, non-circulating collection. Users must register, and the staff works with researchers to suggest and locate sources of information.”

The collection includes Houston City Directories from 1866 to 1986, Cole Directories from the 1930s to present date, early Galveston and Harris county records, Personal Texas Census Records from 1850 to 1910, and maps of Houston from the 1830s to the present.

Rare and early Texas books, theses and dissertations, privately published books of local interest, and, books from Texas authors and Texas presses are included in the collection. Magazines of both general and scholarly interest date from the 1800s to the present. Newsletters represent a broad range of local and state organizations. They also have a collection of school/college yearbooks and sheet music.

Other important research materials include: histories and biographies from the Spanish Colonial Era to modern times and newspaper clipping files by subject which are supplemented by scrapbooks from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. Newspaper microfilm holdings include: the Houston Post from 1880 to 1901, Houston newspapers on microfilm pre-dating the Houston Post from the 1840s through the 1870s; and other selected newspapers from Texas towns.

One of the best resources of the collection are the extensive files are maintained under the names of individuals and under subject headings for Houston and Texas. No index exists for Houston newspapers prior to 1976, and these files, some going back over 50 years, provide the only available subject access to news accounts of local events, institutions, and individuals. The collection has long been a depository for Texas state publications. Most state agencies are represented in the collection of 35,000+ documents such as annual, technical, and planning reports; statistical compilations; rules and guidelines; announcements; and legislative materials. The collection also holds publications from the City of Houston, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, and other regional government agencies.

There are more than 1,500 maps illustrate the development of Houston and Texas, some with special emphasis such as railroad development, flood prone areas, or land use. Texas maps begin with the Spanish colonial period. Houston maps begin with the first hand-drawn map of the new city of Houston in 1836. Supplementing these are sets of aerial photographs beginning in 1935 and microfilmed Sanborn fire insurance maps for Houston and other Texas cities.

Researchers are also allowed access to the processed manuscript and photograph collections of the Archives and Manuscripts department contained with the Houston Metropolitan Research Center.

Society News

On October 29-30, 1999, the Texas State Genealogical Society will hold its 39th Annual Conference at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Victoria, Texas. Dr. George K. Schweitzer will be the featured speaker on Saturday.

In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.

Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/lks_friday/COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: lksfriday@sbcglobal.net

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This webpage was last created on 16 Sept 1999 and was last revised on 10 Jan 2000, 15 Nov 2001

Copyright © 1999, 2000 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604