Following our Ancestors on the Texas Trail – part 1

“Gone to Texas” – that’s what many families claimed in the early 1800s to depict their migration to find new opportunities.   In 1824, Mexico passed the General Colonization Law, formally opening Texas to colonization.  Empresario grants were offered to individuals to encourage settlement and economic growth in what was then the remote Mexican land of Texas. The result was an influx of people seeking to find a better life for their family. In many cases they left signs posted on doors or carved in fences that said simply “G.T.T.” – “Gone to Texas.” Even today, those letters appear in penciled notations in records from that period in many other states.

FGS invites you to join us in San Antonio, Texas on August 27-30, 2014, for the 2014 Conference that draws genealogists from around the world. This year, we can all say we’ve “Gone to Texas.”

San Antonio offers a number of research opportunities during the conference. However, why not take this opportunity to take a research trip to other repositories throughout the state. Start now to plan your trip. We are fortunate that early Texans valued historic records; thus we have a number of repositories throughout the state. Texas is home to two of the top genealogical libraries in the country as well as a the NARA’s Southwest Regional Archives.  Watch for information about other research sites in the coming weeks.

Dallas Public Library Genealogy and Special Collections – The J. Erik Jonsson Central Library in downtown Dallas is home to one of the largest and most comprehensive collections for family history research in the Southwest. Named one of the Top 10 genealogy collections in the U.S. by Family Tree Magazine, the collection includes books, microfilm, microfiche, maps and charts related to all states and counties of the U.S. as well as resources for many foreign countries. Plus, the library maintains special collections on the 7th floor that include historical photographs and maps and other materials related specifically to Dallas and the surrounding area.

National Archives at Fort Worth – The Federal Records Centers for the National Archives have been preserving the nation’s records for more than 50 years.  There are two facilities in Fort Worth: one for archival records and one for microfilm research and public access computers. Records housed at the John Burgess facility date from the early 1800s to the late 1900s and include materials from over 100 Federal agencies and courts in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. Appointments may be scheduled to view the records at this facility. The Montgomery Plaza facility located in downtown Fort Worth is open to the public Monday-Friday and the third Saturday of each month. Here you’ll have access to federal population censuses, military and pension records, Dawes rolls and other records for the Five Civilized Tribes. Access to records is free. Visit their web site for hours and additional information.

HoustonClayton Library Center for Genealogical Research – The Clayton Library is a branch of the Houston Public Library. Named one of the top genealogy research libraries in the country by Family Tree Magazine, It is located in Houston’s Museum District in one of four building that include the original Clayton House, the Carriage and Guest House.  Its collection contains approximately 100,000 books, 3000 periodical titles; 70,000 reels of microfilm, and a microfiche and microcard collection.

There are 254 counties in Texas, all with resources and stories to tell. This is just the beginning. Over the next few months, you will learn more about Texas resources. Start now to make your plans for San Antonio in 2014.



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