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

County Date Formed Parent County County Seat
Anderson 1846 Houston County Palestine
Andrews 1876 Young Territory Andrews
Angelina 1846 Nacogdoches County Lufkin
Aransas 1871 Refugio County Rockport
Archer 1858 Unorganized Territory Archer City
Armstrong 1876 Young Territory Claude
Atascosa 1856 Bexar County Jourdanton
Austin 1836 Original County Bellville
Bailey 1876 Young Territory Muleshoe
Bandera 1856 Non-County Area, Bexar and Uvalde Counties Bandera
Bastrop 1836 Original County Bastrop
Baylor 1858 Young Territory Seymour
Bee 1857 Live Oak, Goliad, Refugio, San Patricio and Karnes Counties Beeville
Bell 1850 Milam County Belton
Bexar 1836 Original County San Antonio
Blanco 1858 Gillespie, Burnet, Comal and Hays Counties Johnson City
Borden 1876 Bosque County Gail
Bosque 1854 MeLennan County Meridian
Bowie 1840 Red
River County
Brazoria 1832 Original County Angleton
Brazos 1841 Washington and Robertson Counties Bryan
Brewster 1887 Presidio County Alpine
Briscoe 1876 Young Territory Silverton
Brooks 1911 Starr, Hildalgo and Zapata Counties Falfurrias
Brown 1856 Travis County and Non-County Area Brownwood
Burleson 1842 Milam and Washington Counties Caldwell
Burnet 1852 Bell, Williamson and Travis Counties Burnet
Caldwell 1848 Gonzales County Lockhart
Calhoun 1846 Jackson and Victoria Counties Port Lavaca
Callahan 1858 Non-County Area, Travis and Bexar Counties Baird
Cameron 1848 Nueces County Brownsville
Camp 1874 Upshur County Pittsburg
Carson 1876 Young Territory Panhandle
Cass 1846 Bowie County Linden
Castro 1876 Young Territory Dimmitt
Chambers 1858 Liberty and Jefferson Counties Anahuac
Cherokee 1846 Nacogdoches County Rusk
Childress 1876 Hardeman County and Young Territory Childress
Clay 1857 Cooke County Henrietta
Cochran 1876 Young Territory Morton
Coke 1889 Tom Green County Robert Lee
Coleman 1858 Brown and Travis Counties Coleman
Collin 1846 Fannin County McKinney
Collingsworth 1876 Young Territory Wellington
Colorado 1836 Old Mexican Municipalities and Counties of Mina and Matagorda. Original County Columbus
Comal 1846 Bexar, Travis and Gonzales Counties New Braunfels
Comanche 1856 Non-County Area, Coryell and Bosque Counties Comanche
Concho 1858 Bexar County Paint Rock
Cooke 1848 Fannin County Gainesville
Coryell 1854 Bell and McLennan Counties Gatesville
Cottle 1876 Hardeman County and Young Territory Paducah
Crane 1887 Tom
Green County
Crockett 1875 Bexar Land District Ozona
Crosby 1876 Young Territory Crosbyton
Culberson 1911 El Paso County Van Horn
Dallam 1876 Young Territory Dalhart
Dallas 1846 Nacogdoches and Robertson Counties Dallas
Dawson 1858 Young Territory Lamesa
Dewitt 1846 Gonzales County, Goliad County and Victoria County Cuero
Deaf Smith 1876 Young Territory Hereford
Delta 1870 Lamar and Hopkins Counties Cooper
Denton 1846 Fannin County Denton
Dickens 1876 Young Territory Dickens
Dimmit 1858 Bexar, Maverick, WebbUvalde Counties Carrizo Springs
Donley 1876 Young Territory Clarendon
Duval 1858 Nueces and Live Oak Counties San Diego
Eastland 1858 Non-County Area and Palo Pinto County Eastland
Ector 1887 Tom
Green County
Edwards 1858 Bexar Land District Rocksprings
El Paso 1850 Non-County Area El Paso
Ellis 1849 Navarro County Waxahachie
Erath 1856 Bosque and Coryell Counties Stephenville
Falls 1850 Milam and Limestone Counties Marlin
Fannin 1837 Nacogdoches County Bonham
Fayette 1837 Colorado and Bastrop Counties La Grange
Fisher 1876 Jones County and Young Territory Roby
Floyd 1876 Young Territory Floydada
Foard 1891 Knox, Hardeman and Cottle Counties Crowell
Fort Bend 1837 Austin, Harris and Brazoria Counties Richmond
Franklin 1875 Titus County Mount Vernon
Freestone 1850 Limestone County Fairfield
Frio 1858 Uvalde and Atascosa Counties Pearsall
Gaines 1876 Young Territory Seminole
Galveston 1838 Brazoria and Liberty Counties Galveston
Garza 1876 Young Territory Post
Gillespie 1848 Bexar County Fredericksburg
Glasscock 1887 Tom Green County Garden City
Goliad 1836 Old Mexican Municipality. Original County Goliad
Gonzales 1836 Old Mexican Municipality. Original County Gonzales
Gray 1876 Young Territory Pampa
Grayson 1846 Fannin County Sherman
Gregg 1873 Upshur County Longview
Grimes 1846 Montgomery County Anderson
Guadalupe 1846 Gonzales and Bexar Counties Seguin
Hale 1876 Young Territory Plainview
Hall 1876 Young Territory Memphis
Hamilton 1858 Comanche, Bosque and Lampasas Counties Hamilton
Hansford 1876 Young Territory Spearman
Hardeman 1858 Young Territory Quanah
Hardin 1858 Liberty, Tyler and Jefferson Counties Kountze
Harris 1836 Old Mexican Municipalities and Counties of Austin and Liberty. Original County Houston
Harrison 1839 Shelby County Marshall
Hartley 1876 Young Territory Channing
Haskell 1858 Young Territory Haskell
Hays 1848 Travis County San Marcos
Hemphill 1876 Young Territory Canadian
Henderson 1846 Houston and Nacogdoches Counties Athens
Hidalgo 1852 Cameron County Edinburg
Hill 1853 Navarro County Hillsboro
Hockley 1876 Young Territory Levelland
Hood 1865 Erath, Johnson and Palo Pinto Counties Granbury
Hopkins 1846 Lamar and Nacogdoches Counties Sulphur Springs
Houston 1837 Nacogdoches County Crockett
Howard 1876 Tom Green County and Young Territory Big Spring
Hudspeth 1917 El Paso County Sierra Blanca
Hunt 1846 Fannin and Nacogdoches Counties Greenville
Hutchinson 1876 Young Territory Stinnett
Irion 1889 Tom Green County Mertzon
Jack 1856 Cooke County Jacksboro
Jackson 1836 Old Mexican Municipality Matagorda County. Original County Edna
Jasper 1836 Old Mexican Municipality Liberty County. Original County Jasper
Jeff Davis 1887 Presidio County Fort Davis
Jefferson 1836 Old Mexican Municipality Jasper County. Original County Beaumont
Jim Hogg 1913 Brooks and Duval Counties Hebbronville
Jim Wells 1911 Nueces County Alice
Johnson 1854 McLennan County Cleburne
Jones 1858 Young Territory Anson
Karnes 1854 Bexar, Dewitt, Goliad and San Patrico Counties Karnes City
Kaufman 1848 Henderson County Kaufman
Kendall 1862 Kerr and Blanco Counties Boerne
Kenedy 1921 Hidalgo and Willacy Counties Sarita
Kent 1876 Young Territory Jayton
Kerr 1856 Bexar County Kerrville
Kimble 1858 Bexar County Junction
King 1876 Young Territory Guthrie
Kinney 1850 Bexar County Brackettville
Kleberg 1913 Nueces County Kingsville
Knox 1858 Young Territory Benjamin
La Salle 1840 Red River County Lampasas
Lamar 1876 Young Territory Cotulla
Lamb 1856 Bell and Travis Counties Paris
Lampasas 1858 Nueces, Bexar and Webb Counties Littlefield
Lavaca 1846 Colorado, Gonzales, Jackson and Fayette Counties Hallettsville
Lee 1874 Burleson, Bastrop, Fayette and Washington Counties Giddings
Leon 1846 Robertson County Centerville
Liberty 1836 Old Mexican Municipality Nacogdoches County. Original County Liberty
Limestone 1846 Robertson County Groesbeck
Lipscomb 1876 Young Territory Lipscomb
Live Oak 1856 San Patrico and Nueces Counties George West
Llano 1856 Bexar and Gillespie Counties Llano
Loving 1887 Tom
Green County
Lubbock 1876 Young Territory Lubbock
Lynn 1876 Young Territory Tahoka
Madison 1853 Grimes, Walker and Leon Counties Madisonville
Marion 1860 Cass and Titus Counties Jefferson
Martin 1876 Young Territory Stanton
Mason 1858 Bexar Land District Mason
Matagorda 1836 Old Mexican Municipality Nacogdoches County. Original County Bay City
Maverick 1856 Kinney County Eagle Pass
McCulloch 1856 Bexar Land District Brady
McLennan 1850 Milam, Navarro and Limestone Counties Waco
McMullen 1858 Nueces, Atascosa and Live Oak Counties Tilden
Medina 1848 Bexar County Hondo
Menard 1858 Bexar Land District Menard
Midland 1885 Tom Green County Midland
Milam 1836 Old Mexican Municipality. Original County Cameron
Mills 1887 Brown, Lampasas, Hamilton and Comanche Goldthwaite
Mitchell 1876 Young Territory Colorado City
Montague 1857 Cooke County Montague
Montgomery 1837 Washington County Conroe
Moore 1876 Young Territory Dumas
Morris 1875 Titus County Daingerfield
Motley 1876 Young Territory Matador
Nacogdoches 1836 Old Mexican Municipality. Original County Nacogdoches
Navarro 1846 Robertson County Corsicana
Newton 1846 Jasper County Newton
Nolan 1876 Young Territory Sweetwater
Nueces 1846 San Patrico County Corpus Christi
Ochiltree 1876 Young Territory Perryton
Oldham 1876 Young Territory Vega
Orange 1852 Jefferson County Orange
Palo Pinto 1856 Bosque and Navarro Counties Palo Pinto
Panola 1846 Harrison and Shelby Counties Carthage
Parker 1855 Bosque and Navarro Counties Weatherford
Parmer 1876 Young Territory Farwell
Pecos 1871 Presidio County Fort Stockton
Polk 1846 Liberty County Livingston
Potter 1876 Young Territory Amarillo
Presidio 1850 Bexar County Marfa
Rains 1870 Hopkins, Hunt and Wood Counties Emory
Randall 1876 Young Territory Canyon
Reagan 1903 Tom Green County Big Lake
Real 1913 Edwards, Kerr and Bandera Counties Leakey
Red River 1836 Old Mexican Municipality Nacogdoches County. Original County Clarksville
Reeves 1883 Pecos County Pecos
Refugio 1836 Old Mexican Municipality. Original County Refugio
Roberts 1876 Young Territory Miami
Robertson 1837 Milam and Nacogdoches Counties Franklin
Rockwall 1873 Kaufman County Rockwall
Runnels 1858 Bexar Land District Ballinger
Rusk 1843 Nacogdoches County Henderson
Sabine 1836 Old Mexican Municipality San Augustine County. Original County Hemphill
San Augustine 1836 Old Mexican Municipality Nacogdoches County. Original County San Augustine
San Jacinto 1869 Polk, Liberty, Montgomery and Walker Counties Coldspring
San Patricio 1836 Old Mexican Municipality. Original County Sinton
San Saba 1856 Bexar County San Saba
Schleicher 1887 Crockett County Eldorado
Scurry 1876 Young Territory Snyder
Shackelford 1858 Young Territory and Non-County Area Albany
Shelby 1836 Old Mexican Municipality Nacogdoches County and San Augustine County. Original County Center
Sherman 1876 Young Territory Stratford
Smith 1846 Nacogdoches County Tyler
Somervell 1875 Hood County Glen Rose
Starr 1848 Nueces County Rio Grande City
Stephens 1858 Young Territory and Non-County Area Breckenridge
Sterling 1891 Tom Green County Sterling City
Stonewall 1876 Young Territory Aspermont
Sutton 1877 Crockett County Sonora
Swisher 1876 Young Territory Tulia
Tarrant 1849 Navarro County Fort Worth
Taylor 1858 Bexar Land District Abilene
Terrell 1905 Pecos County Sanderson
Terry 1876 Young Territory Brownfield
Throckmorton 1858 Young Territory and Non-County Area Throckmorton
Titus 1846 Bowie and Red River Counties Mount Pleasant
Tom Green 1874 Bexar Land District San Angelo
Travis 1840 Bastrop County Austin
Trinity 1850 Houston County Groveton
Tyler 1846 Liberty County Woodville
Upshur 1846 Harrison and Nacogdoches Counties Gilmer
Upton 1867 Tom Green County Rankin
Uvalde 1850 Bexar County Uvalde
Val Verde 1885 Kinney, Pecos and Crockett Counties Del Rio
Van Zandt 1848 Henderson County Canton
Victoria 1836 Old Mexican Municipality. Original County Victoria
Walker 1846 Montgomery County Huntsville
Waller 1873 Austin and Grimes Counties Hempstead
Ward 1887 Tom Green County Monahans
Washington 1836 Old Mexican Municipality Austin County and Liberty County. Original County Brenham
Webb 1848 Bexar and Nueces Counties Laredo
Wharton 1846 Brazoria, Colorado, Jackson and Matagorda Counties Wharton
Wheeler 1876 Young Territory Wheeler
Wichita 1858 Young Territory Wichita Falls
Wilbarger 1858 Cooke County Vernon
Willacy 1911 Hildigo and Cameron Counties Raymondville
Williamson 1848 Milam County Georgetown
Wilson 1860 Bexar and Karnes Counties Floresville
Winkler 1887 Tom Green County Kermit
Wise 1856 Cooke County Decatur
Wood 1850 Van Zandt County Quitman
Yoakum 1876 Young Territory Plains
Young 1856 Bosque County Graham
Zapata 1858 Starr and Webb Counties Zapata
Zavala 1858 Uvalde and Maverick Crystal City
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