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New Texas Digital Archive launches

Okay, so the headline of today’s post is a little misleading.

The Legal Genealogist — daughter, granddaughter, and great granddaughter of Texans born and bred — really is well aware of many of the fabulous digitized resources for researching Texas history and genealogy. From the map collection at the Perry-Castañeda Library of the University of Texas at Austin to the Handbook of Texas Online at the Texas State Historical Association, there are some neat online Texas research portals.

But there’s a new one, and that’s big news!

TSLACThe Texas Digital Archive, an online offering of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC), has just launched online with “infrastructure needed to manage, preserve, and provide access to records of Texas state government agencies in a variety of digital formats.”1

What does that mean? It means online access to all kinds of records, both historic and governmental, of value to Texas researchers, limited now but ready to grow in the future:

In January, 2015, the TSLAC received approximately 7 TB of electronic records, along with 4000 cubic feet of paper records, from the administration of outgoing Governor Rick Perry (2000-2015). At the same time TSLAC has had a robust digitization program for the last decade generating over 150,000 digital files, including the conversion of 25,000 audio cassette tapes of the Texas Senate (from 1972-2006) producing 18 TB of digital audio files. TSLAC used this collection of electronic records and support from the Governor’s Office as the foundation of the Texas Digital Archive.2

The strongest piece of the Texas Digital Archive for genealogical researchers right now is the Prints and Photographs Collections, with more than 750,000 original images in a variety of processes and formats. These “relate to Texas history and important Texas figures or events. This includes construction of the various State Capitol buildings, documentation of Texas Governors and political leaders, Texas Rangers and military service in Texas, the geographically and culturally diverse regions of Texas and generations of Texas families and immigrants.”3

Portraits of people, photographs of buildings, street scenes, homes and events, even a collection of more than 1,400 postcards and picture postcards from southeast Texas make up the collections.

These aren’t all of the online collections of TSLAC, of course. Other online collections of value to genealogists include:

Civilian Conservation Corps Drawings: Searchable database to over 3,900 large-format drawings documenting park development and construction activities by the Civilian Conservation Corps in Texas from 1933-1958.

Fire Insurance Maps: Searchable database of fire insurance maps and/or Sanborn maps listed by the location mapped. The maps date from the mid-1920s to the 1970s.

Map Collection: Searchable database to original, photoreproduced, and compiled maps of Texas covering the period from the 17th-20th centuries.

Republic Claims: Searchable index of Comptroller’s records submitted by citizens to the Republic of Texas government from 1835 -1846, including claims for payment, reimbursement, or restitution. It also includes records relating to Republic pensions and claims against the Republic submitted as public debt claims after 1846.

Republic of Texas Passports: Alphabetical listing with images of records relating to individual passport files in the Republic of Texas, including requests for passports, orders to issue passports, and one proclamation granting entrance to the Republic.

Texas Adjutant General Service Records, 1836-1935: The Service Records series combines both official service record files from the Adjutant General’s Office and alphabetical files created by other agencies that contain records related to an individual’s service in a military unit. The information contained in an individual’s file varies considerably.

So check out the new Texas Digital Archive and all of the online resources of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.


Image: First Capitol Built by the Republic. Austin, Texas. 1893- [1852]. Drawing by Ilse. Prints and Photographs Collection, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

  1. About the Texas Digital Archive (TDA),” Texas Digital Archive ( : accessed 21 Jan 2016).
  2. Ibid.
  3. Prints and Photographs Collections,” Texas Digital Archive ( : accessed 21 Jan 2016).
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