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

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Printed Taylor Daily Press - 4 Nov 1999

Austin History Center

Genealogists will not want to overlook the resources available at the Austin History Center (the “Center”), a division of the Austin Public Library system. The Center strives to provide the public with information about history, current events and activities of the City of Austin and Travis County, Texas.

The Center’s goal is to collect and preserve information about local government, businesses, residents, institutions, and neighborhoods. Additionally, the Center provides a highly trained staff and detail-finding aids to assist researchers who visit the library or submit inquires by telephone or e-mail.

Because many of the items in the Center’s collection are either delicate or rare, material cannot be removed or loaned via inter-library loan. Handbags, notebooks, backpacks, and any personal or notepapers must be stored in lockers provided. All files and books are located in “closed stacks” and the staff will locate and bring requested items to you. Lastly, researchers are required to use only pencils and notepaper provided by the Center.

Researchers are allowed to bring laptop computers at the Center and electric plugs are provided. However, the computer carrying case must be left in lockers provided.

Non-profit groups can take advantage of the Center’s two conference rooms, which are available for meetings. Also, the Library Staff will conduct short tours of the Center for groups of six people or more. Contact the Center to make arrangements to reserve one of the meeting rooms or to arrange for a tour.

The General Collection includes: books by local writers, books related to local history, transcripts of oral history interviews, directories of local organizations, budgets of area governments, annual reports of governments and businesses, archaeology reports, school and university yearbooks, and environmental reports.

One of the Center’s best resources for genealogists is the “City of Austin Cemetery System Interment Report.” This microfiche set is an alphabetical collection of the names of the deceased, cemetery of interment, and dates of interment from the 1800s to present.

The Photographic Collection includes 750,000 photographic images dating from the 1850s to the present related to street scenes, class portraits, architectural photographs, personal snapshots, school and university events, and celebrity visits.

Another unique feature of the Center is their in-house Photographic Laboratory, which produces copy negatives, slides, and prints. Researchers can purchase copies of photographs or other rare documents from the collection. To contact the Photograph Laboratory telephone (512) 449-7396 or (512) 499-7386.

The Manuscript Archives includes: records of city and county departments, minutes of civic organizations, papers of local governments, personal diaries, school scrapbooks, and business records. Papers in this collection include those of local families, businesses and individuals, both celebrities and obscure.

The Center has over 2,000 titles of current and defunct magazines, newspapers, and government publications including: the Austin Chronicle, Nokoa, Texas Triangle, Austin Business Journal, Westlake Picayune, El Vanguardia, Texas Posten, Texas Vorwarts, Texas State Gazette, West Austin Neighbor, and the Austin American-Statesman (beginning in 1871 as the Daily Democratic Statesman).

Additionally, the Center has three categories of vertical files which include: (1) the Austin Files which consists of 9,000 files documenting local groups, businesses, places, and events; (2) Biography Files which provides information about the lives of more than 12,000 area residents and public figures, past and present; and (3) House/Building Files related to information on 600 buildings and structures in the area.

There is an Architectural Archives of more than 33,00 drawings of buildings and a Map Collection dating from the mid-1800s to the present.

The Center is located at 9th & Guadalupe Streets, Austin, Texas and its hours of operation are: Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; and, Sunday, 12 Noon to 6:00 p.m. Remember to bring change for the parking meters.

You can visit the Center’s website at: http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/library/lbahc.htm.

The Center’s staff will answer short questions either by telephone (512) 499-7480, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or by e-mail at: ahc_reference@ci.austin.tx.us or write the: Austin History Center, P. O. Box 2287, Austin, Texas 78768

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/Athens/Academy/2670/ 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 25 Oct and was last revised on 10 Jan 2000

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