*Please note: TSLAC interactive exhibit spaces are closed to the public until further notice, and on-site visitor services are currently limited, due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). See our services page for further information, updated regularly.
The Texas State Library and Archives' reading rooms are open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. and the second Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Our Reference collections include federal documents distributed by the U.S. Government Printing Office, Texas state agency publications, and publications about Texas history and government. To learn more about our collections, search the online library catalog.
Researchers intending to use archival materials are encouraged to review the online descriptive guides and contact staff ahead of their visit. For more information about visiting the Texas State Library and Archives, please visit our Before You Visit page.
To assist you as quickly as possible, we've listed answers to our most frequently asked questions below. Click a topic to find out more.
Our public service areas are open to visitors without appointment. Our hours are:
- Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
- Second Saturday each month from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
You may request to have materials placed on hold ahead of your visit by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the details of the specific items you want to view, especially the item’s title, author, and container number (for archival materials) or call number (for books).
For archival items: Typically, staff can place on hold for you as many requested materials as will fit onto a single cart. Material will be held for 2 weeks and then will be returned to its normal shelf location. Search our finding aids to locate items of interest within our:
For books: Patrons may have 10 items on hold at a time. Material will be held for 7 business days and then will be returned to its normal shelf location. Search our library catalog to locate titles.
Be sure to review the following webpages before your visit:
Other helpful information for preparing your visit, including a map of our public service areas, is on our Visit Us webpage.
See our webpage to learn about our current lobby exhibit.
We do not have the Texas Declaration of Independence or William B. Travis’ 1836 Victory or Death Letter (the “Travis Letter”) on display. Due to preservation concerns, we no longer pull these items for patrons. Both of these important documents have been made available digitally:
- Images of the Texas Declaration of Independence handwritten manuscript are available through our website.
- A high resolution image of the Travis Letter is available to view and download from the Texas State Archives Flickr account. Images of the Travis Letter area also available through our webpage from a previous Lobby Exhibit.
Our archival collections also include drafts of the Texas Declaration of Independence and other letters written by William B. Travis from the Alamo during January and February 1836. You are welcome to view these materials in person. For more information, email email@example.com.
You can explore other commonly requested TSLAC Texas Treasures online.
Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a service that allows us to share resources with other libraries. We will lend our materials to other libraries, and we may request to borrow materials from other libraries. Please note that we borrow materials through ILL on behalf of our registered patrons who are also Texas residents. See TSLAC’s registration requirements.
Registered TSLAC patrons receive a login that allows them to place ILL requests online through the Texas Group Catalog portal. See our Interlibrary Loan webpage for ILL policies and step-by-step instructions.
If you do not live locally, contact your local library for assistance in locating and borrowing items through the ILL network. If you are interested in an item from our collection, we will work with your local library to arrange a loan depending on the item availability and our circulation policy. Your local library may be able to assist you in locating libraries closer to you that have the materials of interest. Specific regulations for ILL vary by individual library, so call or visit your local library for details.
Common Research Topics
Although we do not have the official copies of Texas birth, death, marriage, and divorce records in our collections, we do have resources that can assist you with locating these types of records, such as the Texas vital statistics indexes. The Texas vital statistics indexes list the name(s) of the individual(s), date of event, county where the event occurred, and in some cases a certificate or file number.
For more information about Texas vital statistics, please visit our Vital Statistics webpage.
U.S. military service records, including separation documents such as DD Form 214, can be ordered from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) through their webpage: Request Your Military Service Records .
For more help, we suggest contacting NARA’s National Personnel Records Center .
If you chose to file a copy of your discharge papers with the office of the County Clerk in your county of residence, you may want to contact them for a copy of your DD214. A complete listing of County Clerk addresses can be found on the County and District Clerks’ Association of Texas website.
The Texas State Library and Archives has many resources that may be helpful for genealogy research. For more information on the resources available, please see our Genealogy Resources webpage.
The Texas State Library and Archives (TSLAC) newspaper collections include newspapers on microfilm, original print newspapers, and online newspaper subscriptions. More information is on our Newspaper Research at the Texas State Library and Archives webpage.
The Texas State Archives does have many records from Texas appellate courts—the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the Texas Supreme Court, and several of the 14 other Courts of Appeals. Although we do not have a single, comprehensive source for all court records and filings in our collection, our descriptive guides are listed on our Processed State and Local Records webpage.
These descriptive guides do not usually lend themselves to a name search, since most court records are accessed through the case file number assigned by the specific court of appeals, though there are some indexes described in the guides. For more help accessing court records in our holdings, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some individual courts in Texas may have digitized their records and provided access to them on their websites. Information concerning the Texas court system and links to Texas courts are available through the Texas Judiciary Online .
In Texas, the district courts are the trial courts of general jurisdiction. To locate records from Texas district courts, contact the district clerk's office in the county where the court case took place. A complete listing of District Clerk addresses can be found on the County and District Clerks’ Association of Texas website. Links to some Texas county websites can be found through the Texas Association of Counties website.
A law library in your area may offer access to subscription court records and public records databases. Find Texas law libraries near you through the Texas State Law Library webpage: Law Libraries of Texas .
Search the Texas State Archives Map Collection.
Many other resources for Texas maps are listed on our About Texas webpage under the Map section.
Not finding an answer to your question?
Email email@example.com or call the Reference Desk at 512-463-5455.