Archives & Manuscripts


The Texas State Archives preserves and documents the heritage and culture of Texas by identifying, collecting, and making available for research the permanently valuable official records of Texas government, as well as other significant historical resources. Maintaining the official history of Texas government, the State Archives includes archival government records dating back to the 18th century, as well as newspapers, journals, books, manuscripts, photographs, historical maps, and other historical resources. By these records, all three branches of Texas government are accountable to the people. Taken together, the holdings of the Texas State Archives provide a historical foundation for present-day governmental actions and are an important resource for Texas studies.

*Note to researchers: As per requirements of HB 4181 and HB 1962 (86th Legislature), legislative branch records are administered by the Legislative Reference Library.  To access those records, you may contact the Legislative Reference Library at 512-463-1252.

Guidelines for Researchers

Every researcher is responsible for assisting in the preservation of the documents deposited in the Texas State Archives. Our rules are intended to protect and preserve these materials to ensure that the information they contain is available for subsequent visitors. Visitors to the Texas State Archives are asked to review the following:

Public Information Act Requests

Records of the legislative and executive branches of state government and local government records held by the State Archives are subject to the provisions of Chapter 552 of the Texas Government Code, also known as the Public Information Act. The Act makes records open for research with certain exceptions. The Texas Office of the Attorney General publishes its Public Information Act Handbook biennially, as a guide to understanding the Act. For additional information, please review our page Texas Public Information Act and Research in the State Archives.

To submit a Public Information Act request to the Texas State Archives, please view our page The Public Information Act.

Learn more about requesting Governor George W. Bush records.

Citing Archival Materials

When citing materials used from the Archives collections, please use the suggested formats outlined in the Texas State Archives Citation Form.

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Descriptive Guides

Descriptive guides help researchers in the use of archival holdings that have been prepared for research. Many of the finding aids to the holdings of the State Archives are available on the Web at TARO (Texas Archival Resources Online).

Processed State and Local Records and Processed Manuscript and Photograph Collections are indexes to the finding aids of the prepared holdings of Texas State Archives. The indexes include finding aids available only in print in the Archives search room as well as links to those finding aids that are also available on the Web at the TARO site. Finding aids that have been newly added or revised in the last 90 days are also listed at Archives: Finding Aids (New & Revised).

Guides to Specific Collections

Index to Confederate Pension Applications is a database which provides the name, county of residence, and pension number for some 54,634 approved, rejected, and home pensions issued by the Texas government between 1899 and 1975.

Confederate Indigent Families List is an index to the names of families that received aid through the 1863 "Act to Support the Families and Dependents of Texas Soldiers."

Annual Reports of Railroad Companies is an index to reports 1859-1867, 1873-1885, 1890-1996. Each report details the company's organization, operation, and financial condition. The index includes the names of the railroad companies and the dates of the reports as well as the call numbers for the reports, annotations made on the reports, the forms used, and the companies' alphabetical rankings.

The Andrew Jackson Houston collection database is a searchable index of the collection, which is comprised of papers inherited by A.J. Houston from his father, Sam Houston. The collection of approximately 4,800 items contains correspondence, reports, resolutions, proclamations, affidavits, depositions and a wealth of other material dated, primarily, between 1835 and 1859. As Governor of Tennessee, Commanding General of the Texian Army during the Texas Revolution, twice President of the Republic of Texas, U.S. Senator from Texas and Governor of Texas, Sam Houston witnessed and participated in significant political, military, and governmental affairs. Topics covered in the collection include Texas politics during the Republic era and the pre-Civil War period of statehood, annexation, secession, and Indian affairs, to name a few. Correspondents include many Texas political and military figures of the era, as well as members of the public.

1867 Voters' Registration On March 23, 1867, Congress passed legislation that called for a registration of qualified voters in each military district. The text of this legislation can be found in the Statutes at Large in volume 15, page 2 (15 Stat 2). The commanding officer in each district was required to have, before September 1, a list of these voters from each county. These lists would be used to determine all who would be eligible to vote for any proposed Constitutional Convention in the state.

Election Registers The law defining the duties of the Secretary of State, passed in 1846, includes a provision that he shall, "in a separate book, suitable for the purpose, keep a complete register of all officers appointed and elected in the State..."

Executive Record Books "Executive Record Books" is a general title including 1) records of the Executive Department filed in the Secretary of State's Office, and records proceeding from executive functions which were originally filed by law in the Office of the Secretary of State, and 2) records created by the Department or Secretary of State.

Nacogdoches Archives These archives include a variety of records maintained by national, regional, and local officials--both political and military--of the Mexican government from the mid-eighteenth into the early nineteenth century.

Texas Convict Record Ledgers and Indexes The record ledgers are excellent sources of individual convict descriptions and information regarding their incarceration.

Index of County Records on Microfilm is available online, along with instructions for borrowing rolls through interlibrary loan. Although the microfilm is housed in depository libraries throughout Texas, the Genealogy Collection houses the film for the following counties: Atascosa, Bandera, Bastrop, Bexar, Blanco, Caldwell, Comal, Frio, Galveston, Gillespie, Grayson, Guadalupe, Hays, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Kinney, Llano, McMullen, Medina, Uvalde, and Wilson.

The Prints and Photographs Collection at TSLAC research guide includes information about finding prints and photographs within the State Archives collections.

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Local Records

Index of County Records on Microfilm is available online, along with instructions for borrowing rolls through interlibrary loan. Although the microfilm is housed in depository libraries throughout Texas, the Genealogy Collection houses the film for the following counties: Atascosa, Bandera, Bastrop, Bexar, Blanco, Caldwell, Comal, Frio, Gillespie, Grayson, Guadalupe, Hays, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Kinney, Llano, McMullen, Medina, Uvalde, and Wilson.

Local Records Available at the Sam Houston Center are available only for on-site use in Liberty, Texas. The county records listings shown here represent the paper holdings of the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center only. The records represent the following counties: Chambers, Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Newton, Orange, Polk, San Jacinto, and Tyler.

Finding aids of the prepared holdings of local records held at the Texas State Archives are listed in the index Processed State and Local Records.

The Regional Historical Resource Depository program collects, preserves, and makes available for public use historical records of local governments of Texas. There are twenty-three depositories in Texas.

Conservation and Preservation

The State Archives provides Preservation Tips for book- and paper-based collections held by smaller institutions and for personal treasures in the care of individuals.

TSLAC Conservation chronicles events in the conservation lab at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Focusing on the treatment of book and paper items, issues addressed include conservation processes and decision-making, as well as broader challenges within library and archives collections.

Texas Historical Foundation - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission received grant monies from the Texas Historical Foundation for the preservation of early Supreme Court files dating from 1840 through 1870. The files from this period are tri-folded or rolled and need humidification and flattening to make them available for research and digitization. The Foundation’s gift will fund an intern to humidify, flatten, arrange, describe and index the case files and identify items for evaluation and possible conservation treatment.

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Page last modified: August 10, 2020