Texas Church Records

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Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Texas church records.png

Before 1900, the largest religious groups in Texas were the Baptist, Methodist Episcopal, Presbyterians, and Roman Catholics.[1]

Information Found in the Records[edit | edit source]

To effectively use church records, become familiar with their content. Click on these links to learn about a specific record type:

Finding the Records[edit | edit source]

Look for online records.[edit | edit source]

Ancestry.com, FindMyPast.com, and MyHeritage.com can be searched free of charge at your local family history center or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Caution sign.png

Online databases are incomplete. This can lead to two common errors:

  1. Near matches: Researchers might mistakenly accept an entry very similar to their ancestor, thinking it is the only one available. Only use information that matches your ancestor in date, place, relationships, and other details.
  2. Stopping research: Researchers might assume the database proves church records do not exist. Actually the record is still out there, just not in this incomplete collection of records. Keep searching!

FamilySearch[edit | edit source]

Dutch Reformed[edit | edit source]

Episcopal[edit | edit source]

Lutheran[edit | edit source]

Methodist[edit | edit source]

Presbyterian[edit | edit source]

Other Collections[edit | edit source]

Look for digital copies of church records in the FamilySearch Catalog.[edit | edit source]

Family History Library
Salt Lake City, Utah
  • The Family History Library (FHL) has a substantial collection of original church records and transcripts on microfilm for churches in the United States.
  • Online church records can be listed in the FamilySearch Catalog under the state, county, or town.
  • If you find a record that has not yet been digitized, see How do I request that a microfilm be digitized?
  • Some records might have viewing restrictions, and can only be viewed at a Family History Center near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations.
  • To find records:
a. Click on the records of United States, Texas.
b. Click on Places within United States, Texas and a list of counties will appear.
c. Click on your county if it appears.
d. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. Click on Places within United States, Texas [COUNTY] and a list of towns will appear.
f. Click on your town if it appears, or the location which you believe was the parish which served your town or village.
g. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
h. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the listing for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the record is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the records.

Consult available finding aids.[edit | edit source]

These aids generally provide lists of records that are known to exist and information on their location. For a history of the Baptists in Texas, see:

For a history of the Catholic Church, see:

For a history of the Methodist Church, see:


Correspond with or visit the actual churches.[edit | edit source]

Some records are still held in the local churches. Contact the current minister to find out what records are still available.

  • Make an appointment to look at the records. Or ask the minister of the church to make a copy of the record for you.
  • To find church staff available, you might have to visit on Sunday.
  • Ask for small searches at a time, such as one birth record or a specific marriage. Never ask for "everything on a family or surname".
  • A donation ($25-$40) for their time and effort to help you would be appropriate.
  • If the church has a website, you may be able to e-mail a message.
  • See the Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters.
  • Each denomination page offers an online address directory of local churches for that denomination.

Check the church records collections in archives and libraries.[edit | edit source]

Some church records have been deposited for preservation in government archives or in libraries. Watch for links to digitized, online records offered by the archives. Some archives provide research services for a fee. For others, if you cannot visit in person, you might hire a researcher.

Here you will find archive information unique to the state. Many more archives are kept by denomination. For denominational archives, go to Searching for Church Records by Denomination.

State Archives[edit | edit source]

Texas State Library and Archives Commission
Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building
Physical address: 1201 Brazos St., Austin, TX 78701
Mailing address: P.O. Box 12927, Austin, TX 78711-2927
Phone: (512) 463-5455
E-mail: info@tsl.texas.gov

University Archives[edit | edit source]

The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
The University of Texas at Austin
2300 Red River St. Stop D1100
Austin TX, 78712-1426


Baptist[edit | edit source]

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
A. Webb Roberts Library
2001 West Seminary Drive
Fort Worth, TX 76122
Phone: (817) 923-1921 (x3330)
Fax: (817) 921-8754


Baylor University
Moody Memorial Library
Box 6307
Waco, TX 76703
Phone: (254) 710-2111
Fax: (254) 710-3116


Texas Baptist Historical Collection
209 N. 8th Street
Waco, TX 76701
Phone: (254) 754-9446


Samford University Library
800 Lakeshore Drive
Birmingham, AL 35229

Telephone:205-726-2196
E-mail: referenc@samford.edu


Disciples of Christ[edit | edit source]

Brite Divinity School Collection
Mary Couts Burnett Library
Texas Christian University
2913 West Lowden
Fort Worth, TX 76129
Phone: (817) 921-7117
Fax: (817) 921-7447


Lutheran[edit | edit source]

ELCA Region4-South Archives
1090 Oestreich Dr.
Seguin, TX 78155

Phone:(830) 379-9900
E-mail: archives@swtsynod.org

  • Archives hold records for closed churches. For open churches write directly to the local church.

Methodist[edit | edit source]

Center for Methodist Studies
United Methodist Historical Collection
Bridwell Library
Southern Methodist University
6005 Bishop Boulevard
P.O. Box 750476
Dallas, TX 75275


Presbyterian[edit | edit source]

Presbyterian Theological Seminary Archives
100 E. 27th St.
Austin, TX 78705


Roman Catholic[edit | edit source]

Catholic Archives of Texas
6225 E Hwy 290
Austin, TX 78723
Phone: 512-476-6296

"Due to the high volume of records requests, we are no longer accepting requests for genealogical purposes. Our records up to and including the year 1940 are open for that purpose. We welcome individuals willing to research genealogical records yourself. " Accessed 20 July 2020.

Diocese of Amarillo
4512 NE 24th Amarillo, TX 79107
P.O. Box 5644
Amarillo, TX 79117
Phone:806-383-2243
Fax 806-383-8452

The diocese includes the counties of: Armstrong, Briscoe, Carson, Castro, Childress, Collingsworth, Dallam, Deaf Smith, Donley, Gray, Hall, Hansford, Hartley, Hemphill, Hutchinson, Lipscomb, Moore, Ochiltree, Oldham, Parmer, Potter, Randall, Roberts, Sherman, Swisher and Wheeler.[2]


Diocese of Austin
6225 Highway 290 East
Austin, TX 78723-1025
Phone: (512) 949-2400

The diocese includes the counties of: Bastrop, Bell, Blanco, Brazos, Burleson, Burnet, Caldwell, Coryell, Falls, Fayette, Hamilton, Hays, Lampasas, Lee, Limestone, Llano, Mason, McLennan, Milam, Mills, Robertson, San Saba, Travis, Washington and Williamson[2]


Diocese of Beaumont
P.O. Box 3948
Beaumont, TX 77704-3948
Phone: (409) 924-4300

  • Each parish maintains its own sacramental records. You may find the contact information for parishes of this diocese by using the Parish List.

The diocese includes the counties of: Chambers, Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Newton, Orange, Polk and Tyler[2]


Diocese of Brownsville
1910 University Blvd.
Brownsville, TX 78520
Phone: (956) 550-1517

  • Each parish maintains its own sacramental records. You may find the contact information for parishes of this diocese by using the Parish Directory.
  • Early sacramental records are on microfilm at the Catholic Archives of Texas.

The diocese includes the counties of: Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy[2]


Diocese of Corpus Christi
620 Lipan
Corpus Christi, TX 78401
Phone: (361) 693-6726

  • Each parish maintains its own sacramental records. You may find the contact information for parishes of this diocese by using the Find a Parish.

The diocese includes the counties of: Aransas, Bee, Brooks, Duval, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleberg, Live Oak, McMullen, Nueces, Refugio and San Patricio[2]


Diocese of Dallas
3725 Blackburn St.
Dallas, TX 75219
Phone: (214) 528-2240

  • Each parish maintains its own sacramental records. You may find the contact information for parishes of this diocese by using the Find a Parish.

The diocese includes the counties of: Collin, Dallas, Ellis, Fannin, Grayson, Hunt, Kaufman, Navarro and Rockwell[2]


Diocese of El Paso
499 St. Matthews St.
El Paso, TX 79907
Phone: (915) 872-8400

  • Each parish maintains its own sacramental records. You may find the contact information for parishes of this diocese by using the Parish List.

The diocese includes the counties of: Brewster, Culberson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Loving, Presidio, Reeves, Ward and Winkler[2]


Diocese of Ft. Worth
800 West Loop 820 South
Fort Worth, TX 76108
Phone: (817) 560-330

  • Each parish maintains its own sacramental records. You may find the contact information for parishes of this diocese by using the Parish Finder.

The diocese includes the counties of: Archer, Baylor, Bosque, Clay, Comanche, Cooke, Denton, Eastland, Erath, Foard, Hardeman, Hill, Hood, Jack, Johnson, Knox, Montague, Palo Pinto, Parker, Shackelford, Somervell, Stephens, Tarrant, Throckmorton, Wichita, Wilbarger and Wise[2]


Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Archives
Mail: P.O. Box 907
Houston, TX 77001 Physical address:Downtown Chancery
1700 San Jacinto
Houston, TX 77002
Phone: (713)-652-8283

  • Archives and Records
  • Each parish maintains its own sacramental records. You may find the contact information for parishes of this diocese by using the Parish Search.
  • Genealogy: 'Though the Catholic Church has been active in Texas since the 1500s, we have no sacramental records before 1840. While the Archdiocese of Galveston originally included all of Texas, our records cover only the present Archdiocese, as well as some parishes now in the Dioceses of Beaumont, Tyler, and Victoria. These records are open to researchers up to 1920. After 1920, the records are closed except to the person(s) named in the record, and proof of identity must be provided before we will issue a certificate. We do not provide sacramental certificates to genealogists, but we will provide copies of the records (if possible) or transcripts. There is no charge for the research. Requests for records may be submitted by phone, letter, email, or fax. We do not currently have facilities for researchers on site.
  • Closed Parishes: Please contact the Archives to request records from these churches. The Archives holds the records of the following closed parishes and missions:
Galveston: Catholic Chaplains Corps, Holy Rosary Church, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Queen of Peace/Reina de la Paz Mission, Sacred Heart Church, St. Mary Cathedral Basilica, St. Joseph Church, St. Patrick Church, St. Peter the Apostle Church.
Freeport--St. Henry Church,
Port Bolivar--Our Mother of Mercy Church,
Fayetteville--Espiritu Santo Mission


The Archdiocese includes the counties of: Austin, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Grimes, Harris, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Walker and Waller[2]


Diocese of Laredo
1901 Corpus Christi Street
Laredo, TX 78043
Phone: (956) 727-2140

  • Each parish maintains its own sacramental records. You may find the contact information for parishes of this diocese by using the Parish Map.

The diocese includes the counties of: Dimmit, Jim Hogg, La Salle, Maverick, Webb, Zapata and Zavala[2]


Diocese of Lubbock
4620 Fourth Street
Lubbock, TX 79499-8700
Phone: (806) 792-3943

  • Each parish maintains its own sacramental records. You may find the contact information for parishes of this diocese by using the Parish Directory.

The diocese includes the counties of: Bailey, Borden, Cochran, Cottle, Crosby, Dawson, Dickens, Fisher, Floyd, Gaines, Garza, Hale, Haskell, Hockley, Kent, King, Lamb, Lubbock, Lynn, Motley, Scurry, Stonewall, Terry and Yoakum[2]


Diocese of San Angelo
804 Ford Street
San Angelo, TX 76905
Phone: (325) 651-7500

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1829
San Angelo, TX 76902-1829

  • Each parish maintains its own sacramental records. You may find the contact information for parishes of this diocese by using the Parish Finder.

The diocese includes the counties of: Andrews, Brown, Callahan, Coke, Coleman, Concho, Crane, Crockett, Ector, Glasscock, Howard, Irion, Kimble, Martin, McCulloch, Menard, Midland, Mitchell, Nolan, Pecos, Reagan, Runnels, Schleicher, Sterling, Sutton, Taylor, Terrell, Tom Green and Upton[2]


Archdiocese of San Antonio
2718 W. Woodlawn
San Antonio, TX 78228
Phone: (210) 734-2620

  • Each parish maintains its own sacramental records. You may find the contact information for parishes of this diocese by using the Parish Locator.

The Archdiocese includes the counties of: Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Edwards, Frio, Gillespie, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Kinney, McMullen, Medina, Real, Uvalde, Val Verde and Wilson[2]


Diocese of Tyler
1015 ESE Loop 323
Tyler, TX 75701-9663
Phone: (903) 534-1077

  • Each parish maintains its own sacramental records. You may find the contact information for parishes of this diocese by using the Parish Finder.

The diocese includes the counties of: Anderson, Angelina, Bowie, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Delta, Franklin, Freestone, Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Hopkins, Houston, Lamar, Leon, Madison, Marion, Morris, Nacogdoches, Panola, Rains, Red River, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, Smith, Titus, Trinity, Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood[2]


Diocese of Victoria
P.O. Box 4070
1505 E. Mesquite Lane
Victoria, TX 77901
Phone: (361) 573-0828

  • Each parish maintains its own sacramental records. You may find the contact information for parishes of this diocese by using the Parish Finder.
  • Early sacramental records are on microfilm at the Catholic Archives of Texas.

The diocese includes the counties of: Calhoun, Colorado, De Witt, Goliad, Jackson, Lavaca, Matagorda, Victoria, Wharton and Fayette[2]


Correspond with genealogical or historical societies.[edit | edit source]

Some church records have been given to historical societies. Also, historical societies may be able to tell you where the records are being held. To find a society near you, consult these lists:

Next, go to the Wiki article for your ancestors' denomination.[edit | edit source]

There are frequently additional, nationwide or regional archives and online collections for each denomination. Find the article for your ancestors' denomination and follow the instructions there to access these sources.

Wiki Articles for Records of Major Religious Denominations



Carefully compare any record you find to known facts about the ancestor[edit | edit source]

You will possibly find many different people with the same name as your ancestor, especially when a family stayed in a locality for several generations, and several children were named after the grandparents or aunts and uncles. Be prepared to find the correct church records by organizing in advance as many of these exact details about the ancestor as possible:

  • name, including middle name and maiden name
  • names of all spouses, including middle and maiden name
  • exact or closely estimated dates of birth, marriage, and death
  • names and approximate birthdates of children
  • all known places of residence
  • occupations
  • military service details


Dark thin font green pin Version 4.pngCarefully evaluate the church records you find to make sure you have really found records for your ancestor and not just a "near match". If one or more of the details do not line up, be careful about accepting the entry as your ancestor. There are guiding principles for deciding how to resolve discrepancies between records that are seemingly close. For more instruction in evaluating evidence, read the Wiki article, Evaluate the Evidence.

References[edit | edit source]

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  1. William Chamberlin Hunt and United States Bureau of the Census, Religious Bodies: 1906 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1910), Vol. 1:355-364. Digital version at Google Books.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 Map of the Roman Catholic Dioceses in the United States of America, Office of Catholic Schools Diocese of Columbus, accessed 3 Nov 2010.



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