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Texana Genealogy


Jo Myler is a Librarian III, Supervisor of the Texana/Genealogy Department at the San Antonio Public Library.

The Texana/Genealogy Department at the San Antonio Public Library is located on the sixth floor of Central Library at 600 Soledad. It occupies approximately 10,000 sq. ft. of which 6,680 sq. ft. is in the public area. It is open the same hours as the Central Library: 9-9 Monday through Thursday, 9-5 Friday and Saturday, and 11-5 on Sunday. It is staffed by six full time professionals supplemented by an average of 18 volunteers each month. All are eager to help you with your search. All materials in this area are reference and cannot be removed from the room.

Equipment includes two stand-alone computers with the “Family Search” suite of databases which include the IGI (International Genealogical Index) and the Ancestry File, Social Security Death Benefits Index, Catalogue of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Other CD-ROM resources are census and other indexes including the national index for the 1880 U.S. census and the 1881 British Census and National Index. There are also three computers with the Library catalog, but there is no Internet access in the Department at this time. There are 14 microfilm readers and 5 microfilm reader/printers. Copies are ten cents a page, and you should bring exact change (i.e. dimes). We do not keep change in the Department. Resources include more than 30,000 books and 60,000 microforms.

The San Antonio Public Library Catalog can be accessed from your home computer so you can plan your search before you leave home. Entries for most of the genealogical books can be searched by county, state, or family name as well as author and title. This site will tell you if the library owns the book and give full bibliographic information. Items in the collection will have a prefix GENEALOGY or TEXANA on the call number. The Department’s web page has a more complete listing of microform holdings than can be covered in this article.

The Library owns census film for the entire continental United States 1790 through 1920 and indexing for all states through 1880. It also owns Soundex indexes for Texas 1900, 1910, and 1920 and for Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory 1900 and the State of Oklahoma 1910. Since census records are the platform for genealogical searches, it is hoped that funds will be found to order the entire 1930 census in 2002. 

A sampling of additional microfilm collections includes tax rolls for all Texas counties from the earliest extant record through 1910, various San Antonio newspapers dating from the 1840’s to the present, the Cathedral Collection of early San Fernando Cathedral and mission sacramental records, City Council minutes, and Bexar County records. More of the microfilm collections are listed on the Texana/Genealogy web page.

Of interest to Hispanic researchers is the Frank Cushman Pierce Collection which includes information on settlements in the Rio Grande Valley on the Mexican side of the border, Mexican Border Crossing records, and Garcia Carraffa’s Enciclopedia Heraldica y Genealogica Hispano American. Native American records include microfilm of the final rolls of the Five Civilized Tribes and the enrollment cards for these tribes.

The Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations are of interest to both White and Black researchers. They include a wide variety of materials from business records to personal diaries and journals for plantations across the south. Newly acquired are slave manifests for the port of New Orleans which list both owners and slaves by name.

The book collection can be searched in the Library's on-line catalog site. For listing of microforms click on Library Information on the home page and then click on Department Web Pages and click on Texana/Genealogy. 

We are looking forward to seeing you in the Department. If you have any questions, you can call 207-2500 and ask for Texana/Genealogy.

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