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Genealogy Section

J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 8th floor
1515 Young Street | Dallas, TX 75201
genealogy@dallaslibrary.org | 214-670-1433

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Genealogy Resources

  • State and County Resources -- The bulk of this collection is material dealing with specific states and counties. Thousands of volumes and many rolls of microfilm concern the records of a single locality, county, or state. The most frequently consulted county records are marriage, probate, deed, and tax records. The Genealogy Section has books containing abstracts of some of these records for most counties in the United States. For some counties there will be microfilm copies of the original records.


  • Census Records -- The Genealogy Section owns all the presently available United States decennial censuses, including the remnants of the 1890 census destroyed by an office fire. The library has all the printed indexes from 1790 to 1850 and many of the available later indexes. For the years 1880 to 1930, the indexes are in the form of Soundex. Only 21 states have a Soundex for 1910 and only 12 have a Soundex for 1930. The library has the complete 1880 Soundex for all states and owns the complete 1900, 1910, and 1920 Soundex for Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas with very limited Soundex for other states. Some states also took censuses and the Genealogy Section has many of these state censuses as listed in this section. The census and the Soundex indexes are on microfilm and are arranged alphabetically by state and chronologically by census year in the microfilm cabinets. The Soundex film is filed after the census of the same year. The printed indexes are located in the low book shelves in the center of the section. Microfiche indexes for 1790-1850 are available.


  • Military Records -- The Genealogy Section has one of the most complete collections of military records in the nation. There are records from the Revolutionary War to the Philippine Insurrection and a few World War I and World War II records. The library owns the major microfilm series together with the important published sources listed in this section. Hundreds of other useful sources may be found by searching the catalogs.


  • Vital Records -- This collection has some statewide indexes of births, deaths, and marriages. Some of the more localized indexes and abstracts such as early Massachusetts vital records are available by town, either printed or on microfiche. Charleston, South Carolina deaths from 28 January 1821 to 9 July 1926 are available on microfilm. These and other similar records can be found by checking the card catalogs for the state and county needed.


  • Passenger and Immigration Records -- Early passenger lists from 1600 to 1820 if they exist were private records. When discovered these have been published in the genealogical journals and books. There are several guides to these early lists but the most comprehensive index is Passenger and Immigration Lists Index by P. William Filby and Mary K. Meyer. This set will identify many sources, most of which may be found in the collection. The government started keeping passenger lists in 1820 and these records are arranged by port of entry. There are indexes and actual passenger lists on microfilm for most ports both large and small.


  • Guide to the Microform and CD-ROM Holdings -- This guide serves to make users aware of the information available in microform and how to locate these resources which are not listed in the online catalog. Each entry indicates the format(s) of the item—microfilm, microfiche, microcard, or CD as well as the number of items in the set. This guide does not include US population censuses and Soundex or genealogies on microform. Clicking on the heading for each state will open a list of the items available for that state.


  • Black Biographical Dictionaries 1790-1950 -- Sometimes referred to as "The Black Biography Project," this microfiche collection contains nearly 300 titles and more than 30,000 biographical references. The titles come from more than 100 public and private repositories across the U.S. and Britain and deal primarily with Black Americans. A variety of biographical compendiums are included such as: national activists; state and local figures; prominent women; legal, medical, educational, business, and other professional directories; music, art, literary directories; church and missionary society leaders; social club and fraternal order members; reform organization members; and pictorial histories of individuals and institutions.


  • Naturalization -- The collection contains printed and microfilm abstracts and indexes of naturalization records, including some statewide indexes, U.S. District Courts, and some Texas county court naturalization records.


  • Regimental Histories of the American Civil War, UMI® -- [Filmed at the U. S. Army Military History Institute at Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania] The Civil War soldiers who fought the battles bequeathed to posterity many traces of their lives and their military struggles in journals, remembrances, and personal accounts that include regimental rosters, transportation documents, honor rolls and casualty statistics, promotion and court martial documents, memoranda, and home addresses of veterans. The material begins in 1861 with early regimental recruitments and spans battles, negotiations, and the post-war lives of soldiers. Titles filmed in Regimental Histories of the American Civil War were previously unpublished works or materials published before 1915 and cover a variety of topics. The criterion for selection of these materials is based on C. E. Dornbusch's Military Bibliography of the Civil War. 016.97374 D713R 1961

    Researchers should be aware that a number of these titles have subsequently been published in book format that may be more easily read than the microfiche. Published editions and selected microfiche titles that are owned by Dallas Public Library are listed in the library's online catalog. Other microfiche titles may be identified in the card catalog in the Genealogy Section and in this list. Most of these regimental histories have also been scanned by the Google Book Search. Some may be read in their entirety online while others provide partial content or bibliographic information only. These histories are not indexed, so the Google Book Search can also be used in lieu of an index to discover whether an individual’s name is mentioned and the page where such mention occurs.


  • Dallas Genealogical Society Resources -- The Dallas Genealogical Society has a long history of providing information of interest to genealogists through the Genealogy Section of the Dallas Public Library. Recently, the organization has also dedicated many volunteer hours in an effort to make more information available in a digital format on their website. This information, available through the DGS Resources webpage, includes links to popular genealogy websites; transcribed mortality schedules for Dallas County 1850-1870; and abstracts of Minute Book A, 14th District Court, Dallas County, Texas, covering 1846-1855 (microfilm copies of these court records may also be viewed in the Texas/Dallas History Section of the library). Also included is a growing list of Dallas County cemeteries that are on-line. The DGS has added transcriptions of burials at some cemeteries, created links to an interactive map showing the locations of the cemeteries in Dallas County, and has provided brief information about each cemetery as needed.