Texas Counties and Historical Facts

Texas County records vary widely from county to county in both quality and quantity. Some have been carefully preserved while others have been much abused and neglected. Some Texas records have simply disappeared.

For genealogists doing research in Texas there is no effective replace for an on-site search of county courthouse records.

Map of Texas Counties
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Map of Texas Counties

Texas County Records

The Texas legislature created a uniform statewide record preservation system in 1972. That led to historical depositories across the state receiving copies of important Texas records. The act led to the Local Records Division of the Texas State Library collecting and maintaining local government records, including city and county records. All of those records are available to researchers.

Each county has a designated repository for county records. Those records include probate, property, and naturalization records, as well as marriage records, wills, and district court minutes. Since each county keeps its own records, there is no complete collection of those records available at the state level.

There are 26 depositories across the state. They all contain some manuscripts and original records. Many county records have been microfilmed, but some have not. Out of 254 county courthouses, approximately 80 have had inventories of their records done. It is also worth noting that thefts, fires, and floods have destroyed many courthouse records in Texas. So, availability dates may vary.

There were 27 more counties formed by the legislature at later dates. Also, certain counties were organized and then organized again later, often due to boundary changes. The 27 additional counties, which included Foley, Buchel, and Encinal, were never officially organized. Only records for those three exist. Later, Buchel and Foley counties were merged into Brewster County. Encinal county was absorbed by Webb County. The county clerk holds deeds, while probate records may be found at the probate clerk’s office or the county clerk’s office, depending on the size of the county. County or district court clerk offices hold court records.

Some counties were organized twice. Although twenty-seven additional counties were created by the legislature, none were organized. Of these only Buchel, Encinal, and Foley counties had records. Buchel and Foley were incorporated into Brewster County, while Encinal was included in Webb County. Deeds are located through the county clerk, probates at the county clerk’s or the probate clerk’s office in larger counties, and court records through the county or district court clerk. Letters should be addressed to the appropriate clerk. So, researchers must address inquiries to the appropriate offices. See also a list of links to county and county seat government run websites.

List of Texas Extinct Counties

Texas has counties that no longer exist because they were discontinued, renamed or merged with another county.

A lot of these counties were established and disbanded within the 19th century; county borders have changed very little since 1900.

These are important for genealogy research purposes. Pay attention where the courthouse records went to if the county was eliminated or joined with some other county.

See the History of Texas Counties for more details.

List of Texas Counties with Burned Courthouses

Texas burned county courthouse
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The damage to courthouses greatly has a bearing on genealogists in every way.

Not only are these historic structures torn from our lifetimes, so are the records they housed: marriage, wills, probate, land records, and others.

Once destroyed they’re lost forever. Although they have been placed on mircofilm, computers and film burn too.

However, not all records were damaged or lost in some counties.

  • Angelina County Courthouse burned on November 19, 1891.  Many of the county records – including those in the assessor’s office and the justice of the peace office were destroyed.
  • Austin County Courthouse was built in 1888, was destroyed by fire on April 5, 1960. Courthouse records were saved
  • Cass County Courthouse – damaged by fire in August 1933. Courthouse rebuilt and enlarged.
  • Crosby County Courthouse in Estacado caught fire on October 9, 1889 and destroyed the judges’, treasurer’s and county clerk’s offices.
  • Delta County Courthouse at Cooper was destroyed by fire on 9 March 1899. Nearly all of the county records were stored in a fireproof vault and were saved. Records in the district clerk’s office, probably records on current cases, were destroyed.
  • Denton County Courthouse and almost all county records were destroyed by fire in December 1875.
  • Eastland County Courthouse, a three-story stone building, burned on November 29, 1896.  The records are believed to have been saved.
  • Erath County Courthouse and most of the county records were destroyed by fire in the summer of 1866.
  • Gillespie County Courthouse and many county records were destroyed by fire in July 1850.
  • Galveston County Courthouse was destroyed by the Galveston Hurricane in September 1900, swept the island clean, therefore, it is likely the record was destroyed in the hurricane. Check in nearby counties for any such replications of any records from the Galveston area prior to 1900.
  • Goliad County Courthouse and almost all county records were destroyed by fire in June 1870.
  • Gray County Courthouse Annex destroyed by tornado in 1970.
  • Grayson County Courthouse was burned by a mob on May 9, 1930. However ALL of the vital records, land records, and most court records were saved from this fire. The courthouse had records in fire proof rooms and storage areas.
  • Grimes County Courthouse records were destroyed by fire in late 1848.
  • Hamilton County Courthouse and many county records were destroyed by fires in September 1863, March 1877, and February 1886.
  • Hardin County Courthouse burned about August 8, 1886. Early county records were destroyed in the conflagration. Some records were destroyed including the assessment rolls of the county, surveyor’s records, and the county judge’s records, including the probate records. The only records that may have been saved were those that were stored in an iron safe.
  • Hill County Courthouse caught fire on 18 Sept 1872.  Many county records were destroyed. Courthouse, built in 1890, caught fire on 1 Jan 1993, destroying most of the building.
  • Hood County Courthouse and most of the county records, if not all, were destroyed by fire in March 1875.
  • Hopkins County Courthouse built in 1882, was destroyed on Feb. 11, 1894 by a fire that also burned the jail and several nearby structures. Nearly all of the records were saved.  Those destroyed were in the office of Judge Morris.  The fire additionally destroyed the jail, part of the Courthouse square and the offices of the Hopkins County Echo newspaper.
  • Houston County Courthouse , a brick building, which replaced the first courthouse in 1851, was destroyed by a fire of mysterious origin in February 1865 . The third courthouse and jail burned in November 1882 . Most early records were destroyed
  • Hunt County Courthouse , built in 1883, was destroyed by a fire on August 17, 1884 which heavily damaged the town’s commercial district. Some early records destroyed. (more).
  • Jackson County Courthouse was destroyed by fire on June 15, 1900.  Records of the County Judge, Assessor and Justice of the Peace were lost. The Jackson County Progress Newspaper plant and offices (along with part of the Edna business district) were destroyed by fire, 12 November 1906.
  • Jasper County Courthouse and all county records were destroyed by fire in October 1849.
  • Karnes County Courthouse and most records of the county clerk were destroyed by fire in July 1865.
  • King County Courthouse destroyed by a Tornado in 1905, again destroyed by fire in 1914.
  • Kent County Courthouse in Clairemont, built in 1893, was burned in April 1955.  The building was vacant because the county seat moved to Jayton in 1954.  No record loss.
  • Lamar County Courthouse was destroyed in a courthouse fire in March 1916, most records of the district clerk were destroyed. Birth, death and marriage records were not lost.
  • Lee County Courthouse, built in 1878, burned in 1897
  • Leon County Courthouse fire on the night of November 9, 1885 destroyed the courthouse. Many records were lost. Most of the records for the county were destroyed.
  • Liberty County Courthouse, built in 1857, was destroyed on December 28, 1872.  County records were destroyed
  • Limestone County Courthouse destroyed by fire in October 1873 at Springfield and most county records were destroyed. A fire at Groesbeck on February 1, 1891, records were stored in vaults and were not lost. The Old Courthouse, built in 1891, was destroyed by fire in May 1954.
  • Llano County Courthouse was destroyed and many county records were destroyed by fire in December 1873. Again courthouse was entirely consumed by fire in Oct of 1880, destroying the office of the district and county clerk, containing all the county records, etc (more). Courthouse, built in 1885, was destroyed by fire on January 23, 1892. Papers and records of the clerks office were the only records saved. The tower and parts of the interior of the Llano County Courthouse, built in 1893, was damaged by fire in Sept 1932. Also fire destroyed the courthouse Dec, 17, 1951, county’s oldest records were destroyed. (more)
  • Madison County Courthouses and county records were destroyed by fire in June 1865 and January 1873.Courthouse, built 1896, was destroyed by fire on May 14, 1967. Some county records may have been destroyed.
  • Mason County Courthouse burned on 22 January 1877 during the Mason County HooDoo War.
  • Milam County Courthouse and all county records were destroyed by fire in April 1874.
  • Mills County Courthouse, built in 1889, burned on May 5, 1912.  No records were lost in the fire.
  • Montague County Courthouse and many county records were destroyed by fire in February 1873.
  • Motley County Courthouse, built about 1904, was destroyed by fire Sept 1944.  No vital records were lost, but some were damaged by water.
  • Navarro County Courthouse Records of the district clerk were destroyed by fire in October 1855.
  • Newton County Courthouse, built in 1902, burned on August 4, 2000.  The Courthouse was rebuilt and restored in 2002.
  • Orange County Courthouse, built in 1884, destroyed by fire, April 14, 1898.  All county records were stored in a vault and were not harmed by the fire.
  • Parker County Courthouse and almost all county records were destroyed by fire in May 1874.
  • Rains County Courthouse, built in 1871, burned; All county records were destroyed.Courthouse, built in 1884, burned. County records were save in a fireproof vault.
  • Refugio County Courthouse fire in January 1879, many records were destroyed.
  • Rockwall County Courthouse and most, if not all, county records were destroyed by fire in March 1875. Courthouse again caught fire on January 27, 1892.  All records were saved.
  • Rusk County Courthouse and many county records were destroyed by fire in March 1878.
  • Sabine County Courthouse and all county records were destroyed by fire in November 1875.
  • San Patricio County Courthouse records were destroyed by fires in 1846, 1867 and 1888.
  • Shelby County Courthouse burned May 31, 1882 destroying all records. Tax lists were forwarded to Austin so still exist. Deed records were “reconstructed” by the county commissioners.
  • Somervell County Courthouse and many, if not all, court records were destroyed by fire in February 1893.
  • Stonewall County Courthouse burned on August 9, 1910. Records of the county judge, sheriff, tax collector, and some of the surveyors office were lost in the fire.
  • Tarrant County Courthouse burned in a fire in 1876 which destroyed all county documents
  • Titus County Courthouse and all county records were destroyed by fire in September 1895.
  • Tom Green County Courthouse in Ben Flicken, then the county seat, was destroyed by flood in 1882. The second floor of the Tom Green County Courthouse caught fire on June 28, 1886, possibly from mice eating matches. The fire started in the office of the Clerk of District Courts. Many of the records in the clerk’s office were destroyed.
  • Trinity County Courthouses and most county records were destroyed by fire in December 1872 and February 1876.
  • Wise County Courthouse and many county records were destroyed by fire.
  • Wood County Courthouse and all county records were destroyed by fire in December 1878.
  • Yoakum County Courthouse destroyed by fire in December 1926.  All county records were stored in a vault and were saved.
  • Zapata County Courthouse lost most, if not all, county records were destroyed during military action in 1863.

List of Texas Counties

CountyDate FormedParent CountyCounty Seat
Anderson1846Houston CountyPalestine
Andrews1876Young TerritoryAndrews
Angelina1846Nacogdoches CountyLufkin
Aransas1871Refugio CountyRockport
Archer1858Unorganized TerritoryArcher City
Armstrong1876 Young TerritoryClaude
Atascosa1856Bexar CountyJourdanton
Austin1836Original CountyBellville
Bailey1876 Young TerritoryMuleshoe
Bandera1856Non-County Area, Bexar and Uvalde CountiesBandera
Bastrop1836Original CountyBastrop
Baylor1858 Young TerritorySeymour
Bee1857Live Oak, Goliad, Refugio, San Patricio and Karnes CountiesBeeville
Bell1850Milam CountyBelton
Bexar1836Original CountySan Antonio
Blanco1858Gillespie, Burnet, Comal and Hays CountiesJohnson City
Borden1876Bosque CountyGail
Bosque1854MeLennan CountyMeridian
River County
Brazoria1832Original CountyAngleton
Brazos1841Washington and Robertson CountiesBryan
Brewster1887Presidio CountyAlpine
Briscoe1876Young TerritorySilverton
Brooks1911Starr, Hildalgo and Zapata CountiesFalfurrias
Brown1856Travis County and Non-County AreaBrownwood
Burleson1842Milam and Washington CountiesCaldwell
Burnet1852Bell, Williamson and Travis CountiesBurnet
Caldwell1848Gonzales CountyLockhart
Calhoun1846Jackson and Victoria CountiesPort Lavaca
Callahan1858Non-County Area, Travis and Bexar CountiesBaird
Cameron1848Nueces CountyBrownsville
Camp1874Upshur CountyPittsburg
Carson1876 Young TerritoryPanhandle
Cass1846Bowie CountyLinden
Castro1876 Young TerritoryDimmitt
Chambers1858Liberty and Jefferson CountiesAnahuac
Cherokee1846Nacogdoches CountyRusk
Childress1876Hardeman County and Young TerritoryChildress
Clay1857Cooke CountyHenrietta
Cochran1876 Young TerritoryMorton
Coke1889Tom Green CountyRobert Lee
Coleman1858Brown and Travis CountiesColeman
Collin1846Fannin CountyMcKinney
Collingsworth1876Young TerritoryWellington
Colorado1836Old Mexican Municipalities and Counties of Mina and Matagorda. Original CountyColumbus
Comal1846Bexar, Travis and Gonzales CountiesNew Braunfels
Comanche1856Non-County Area, Coryell and Bosque CountiesComanche
Concho1858Bexar CountyPaint Rock
Cooke1848Fannin CountyGainesville
Coryell1854Bell and McLennan CountiesGatesville
Cottle1876Hardeman County and Young TerritoryPaducah
Green County
Crockett1875Bexar Land DistrictOzona
Crosby1876Young TerritoryCrosbyton
Culberson1911El Paso CountyVan Horn
Dallam1876Young TerritoryDalhart
Dallas1846Nacogdoches and Robertson CountiesDallas
Dawson1858Young TerritoryLamesa
Dewitt1846Gonzales County, Goliad County and Victoria CountyCuero
Deaf Smith1876 Young TerritoryHereford
Delta1870Lamar and Hopkins CountiesCooper
Denton1846Fannin CountyDenton
Dickens1876 Young TerritoryDickens
Dimmit1858Bexar, Maverick, WebbUvalde CountiesCarrizo Springs
Donley1876Young TerritoryClarendon
Duval1858Nueces and Live Oak CountiesSan Diego
Eastland1858Non-County Area and Palo Pinto CountyEastland
Green County
Edwards1858 Bexar Land DistrictRocksprings
El Paso1850 Non-County AreaEl Paso
Ellis1849Navarro CountyWaxahachie
Erath1856Bosque and Coryell CountiesStephenville
Falls1850Milam and Limestone CountiesMarlin
Fannin1837Nacogdoches County Bonham
Fayette1837Colorado and Bastrop CountiesLa Grange
Fisher1876Jones County and Young TerritoryRoby
Floyd1876 Young TerritoryFloydada
Foard1891Knox, Hardeman and Cottle CountiesCrowell
Fort Bend1837Austin, Harris and Brazoria CountiesRichmond
Franklin1875Titus CountyMount Vernon
Freestone1850Limestone CountyFairfield
Frio1858Uvalde and Atascosa CountiesPearsall
Gaines1876Young TerritorySeminole
Galveston1838Brazoria and Liberty CountiesGalveston
Garza1876 Young TerritoryPost
Gillespie1848Bexar CountyFredericksburg
Glasscock1887Tom Green CountyGarden City
Goliad1836Old Mexican Municipality. Original CountyGoliad
Gonzales1836Old Mexican Municipality. Original CountyGonzales
Gray1876Young TerritoryPampa
Grayson1846Fannin CountySherman
Gregg1873Upshur CountyLongview
Grimes1846Montgomery CountyAnderson
Guadalupe1846Gonzales and Bexar CountiesSeguin
Hale1876 Young TerritoryPlainview
Hall1876Young TerritoryMemphis
Hamilton1858Comanche, Bosque and Lampasas CountiesHamilton
Hansford1876Young TerritorySpearman
Hardeman1858 Young TerritoryQuanah
Hardin1858Liberty, Tyler and Jefferson CountiesKountze
Harris1836Old Mexican Municipalities and Counties of Austin and Liberty. Original CountyHouston
Harrison1839Shelby CountyMarshall
Hartley1876Young TerritoryChanning
Haskell1858 Young TerritoryHaskell
Hays1848Travis CountySan Marcos
Hemphill1876Young TerritoryCanadian
Henderson1846Houston and Nacogdoches CountiesAthens
Hidalgo1852Cameron CountyEdinburg
Hill1853Navarro CountyHillsboro
Hockley1876 Young TerritoryLevelland
Hood1865Erath, Johnson and Palo Pinto CountiesGranbury
Hopkins1846Lamar and Nacogdoches CountiesSulphur Springs
Houston1837Nacogdoches CountyCrockett
Howard1876Tom Green County and Young TerritoryBig Spring
Hudspeth1917El Paso CountySierra Blanca
Hunt1846Fannin and Nacogdoches CountiesGreenville
Hutchinson1876Young TerritoryStinnett
Irion1889Tom Green CountyMertzon
Jack1856Cooke CountyJacksboro
Jackson1836Old Mexican Municipality Matagorda County. Original CountyEdna
Jasper1836Old Mexican Municipality Liberty County. Original CountyJasper
Jeff Davis1887Presidio CountyFort Davis
Jefferson1836Old Mexican Municipality Jasper County. Original CountyBeaumont
Jim Hogg1913Brooks and Duval CountiesHebbronville
Jim Wells1911Nueces CountyAlice
Johnson1854McLennan CountyCleburne
Jones1858 Young TerritoryAnson
Karnes1854Bexar, Dewitt, Goliad and San Patrico CountiesKarnes City
Kaufman1848Henderson CountyKaufman
Kendall1862Kerr and Blanco CountiesBoerne
Kenedy1921Hidalgo and Willacy CountiesSarita
Kent1876 Young TerritoryJayton
Kerr1856Bexar CountyKerrville
Kimble1858Bexar CountyJunction
King1876Young TerritoryGuthrie
Kinney1850Bexar CountyBrackettville
Kleberg1913Nueces CountyKingsville
Knox1858Young TerritoryBenjamin
La Salle1840Red River CountyLampasas
Lamar1876 Young TerritoryCotulla
Lamb1856Bell and Travis CountiesParis
Lampasas1858Nueces, Bexar and Webb CountiesLittlefield
Lavaca1846Colorado, Gonzales, Jackson and Fayette CountiesHallettsville
Lee1874Burleson, Bastrop, Fayette and Washington CountiesGiddings
Leon1846Robertson CountyCenterville
Liberty1836Old Mexican Municipality Nacogdoches County. Original CountyLiberty
Limestone1846Robertson CountyGroesbeck
Lipscomb1876Young TerritoryLipscomb
Live Oak1856San Patrico and Nueces CountiesGeorge West
Llano1856Bexar and Gillespie CountiesLlano
Green County
Lubbock1876Young TerritoryLubbock
Lynn1876Young TerritoryTahoka
Madison1853Grimes, Walker and Leon CountiesMadisonville
Marion1860Cass and Titus CountiesJefferson
Martin1876Young TerritoryStanton
Mason1858 Bexar Land DistrictMason
Matagorda1836Old Mexican Municipality Nacogdoches County. Original CountyBay City
Maverick1856Kinney CountyEagle Pass
McCulloch1856 Bexar Land DistrictBrady
McLennan1850Milam, Navarro and Limestone CountiesWaco
McMullen1858Nueces, Atascosa and Live Oak CountiesTilden
Medina1848Bexar CountyHondo
Menard1858 Bexar Land DistrictMenard
Midland1885Tom Green CountyMidland
Milam1836Old Mexican Municipality. Original CountyCameron
Mills1887Brown, Lampasas, Hamilton and ComancheGoldthwaite
Mitchell1876Young TerritoryColorado City
Montague1857Cooke CountyMontague
Montgomery1837Washington CountyConroe
Moore1876Young TerritoryDumas
Morris1875Titus CountyDaingerfield
Motley1876Young TerritoryMatador
Nacogdoches1836Old Mexican Municipality. Original CountyNacogdoches
Navarro1846Robertson CountyCorsicana
Newton1846Jasper CountyNewton
Nolan1876Young TerritorySweetwater
Nueces1846San Patrico CountyCorpus Christi
Ochiltree1876Young TerritoryPerryton
Oldham1876Young TerritoryVega
Orange1852Jefferson CountyOrange
Palo Pinto1856Bosque and Navarro CountiesPalo Pinto
Panola1846Harrison and Shelby CountiesCarthage
Parker1855Bosque and Navarro CountiesWeatherford
Parmer1876Young TerritoryFarwell
Pecos1871Presidio CountyFort Stockton
Polk1846Liberty CountyLivingston
Potter1876Young TerritoryAmarillo
Presidio1850Bexar CountyMarfa
Rains1870Hopkins, Hunt and Wood CountiesEmory
Randall1876Young TerritoryCanyon
Reagan1903Tom Green CountyBig Lake
Real1913Edwards, Kerr and Bandera CountiesLeakey
Red River1836Old Mexican Municipality Nacogdoches County. Original CountyClarksville
Reeves1883Pecos CountyPecos
Refugio1836Old Mexican Municipality. Original CountyRefugio
Roberts1876Young TerritoryMiami
Robertson1837Milam and Nacogdoches CountiesFranklin
Rockwall1873Kaufman CountyRockwall
Runnels1858 Bexar Land DistrictBallinger
Rusk1843Nacogdoches CountyHenderson
Sabine1836Old Mexican Municipality San Augustine County. Original CountyHemphill
San Augustine1836Old Mexican Municipality Nacogdoches County. Original CountySan Augustine
San Jacinto1869Polk, Liberty, Montgomery and Walker CountiesColdspring
San Patricio1836Old Mexican Municipality. Original CountySinton
San Saba1856Bexar CountySan Saba
Schleicher1887Crockett CountyEldorado
Scurry1876Young TerritorySnyder
Shackelford1858 Young Territory and Non-County AreaAlbany
Shelby1836Old Mexican Municipality Nacogdoches County and San Augustine County. Original CountyCenter
Sherman1876Young TerritoryStratford
Smith1846Nacogdoches CountyTyler
Somervell1875Hood CountyGlen Rose
Starr1848Nueces CountyRio Grande City
Stephens1858 Young Territory and Non-County AreaBreckenridge
Sterling1891Tom Green CountySterling City
Stonewall1876Young TerritoryAspermont
Sutton1877Crockett CountySonora
Swisher1876Young TerritoryTulia
Tarrant1849Navarro CountyFort Worth
Taylor1858Bexar Land DistrictAbilene
Terrell1905Pecos CountySanderson
Terry1876Young TerritoryBrownfield
Throckmorton1858 Young Territory and Non-County AreaThrockmorton
Titus1846Bowie and Red River CountiesMount Pleasant
Tom Green1874 Bexar Land DistrictSan Angelo
Travis1840Bastrop CountyAustin
Trinity1850Houston CountyGroveton
Tyler1846Liberty CountyWoodville
Upshur1846Harrison and Nacogdoches CountiesGilmer
Upton1867Tom Green CountyRankin
Uvalde1850Bexar CountyUvalde
Val Verde1885Kinney, Pecos and Crockett CountiesDel Rio
Van Zandt1848Henderson CountyCanton
Victoria1836Old Mexican Municipality. Original CountyVictoria
Walker1846Montgomery CountyHuntsville
Waller1873Austin and Grimes CountiesHempstead
Ward1887Tom Green CountyMonahans
Washington1836Old Mexican Municipality Austin County and Liberty County. Original CountyBrenham
Webb1848Bexar and Nueces CountiesLaredo
Wharton1846Brazoria, Colorado, Jackson and Matagorda CountiesWharton
Wheeler1876Young TerritoryWheeler
Wichita1858 Young TerritoryWichita Falls
Wilbarger1858Cooke CountyVernon
Willacy1911Hildigo and Cameron CountiesRaymondville
Williamson1848Milam CountyGeorgetown
Wilson1860Bexar and Karnes CountiesFloresville
Winkler1887Tom Green CountyKermit
Wise1856Cooke CountyDecatur
Wood1850Van Zandt CountyQuitman
Yoakum1876Young TerritoryPlains
Young1856Bosque CountyGraham
Zapata1858Starr and Webb CountiesZapata
Zavala1858Uvalde and MaverickCrystal City
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