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Special Collections & University Archives: Genealogy Research

This is the webpage for UTRGV Special Collections & University Archives.

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Browse Digital Collections

A few archival resources have been digitized, and the images are available through the Library's Institutional Repository. Popular items include:

Gather Personal Information

Write down everything you learn. You may use forms available in libraries, genealogical societies, and the internet to record the information. Be sure to always include:

  • Names
  • Dates
  • Activity (birth, marriage, death, etc.)
  • Family names (surnames)
  • Sources (person, book, or archival collection, etc.  Be specific, include author, title, page number, or collection and folder titles)

Begin with getting as much information as you can from your family members. Ask your parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents about family members: when and where they were born, were married, etc.

Look for family papers, certificates, letters, diaries, photographs, and other sources around the home which may help in constructing a preliminary family history.

Photographs: write as much information as you can with a soft #2 pencil on the back of the photograph, including names, date, location, and event.

Review the information you have, and look for gaps, or where information is uncertain or inexact. Libraries and Special Collections may help fill in your gaps to finding additional information on earlier generations.  

Federal, State, and County Information

  1. United States Of America Census Information: Census records are an excellent place to begin expanding information on your family.  Begin with the latest census records released, and work backwards to 1850 (the State of Texas was founded in 1848).  Note: the 1890 census was destroyed by fire.
  2. Social Security Death Index (SSDI): After a person's death, their Social Security Number and information are made available as public information. The Social Security Death Index is a database of deaths reported to the Social Security Administration (SSA) beginning about 1962 that have been purchased and made available by various organizations.  For more information about the SSDI, and links to search pages, go to The Social Security Death Index: A Genealogy Records Guide
  3. Texas County Records: The University Library provides access to some county records in electronic and microfilm formats for Cameron, Willacy, Hidalgo, and Starr Counties. Although the specific records vary by each county, they generally contain information such as court documents, marriage records, deed records, and probate minutes.

Texas County Histories from Accessible Archives provides primary source resources for local historical and genealogical research. (If you are off-campus, then you must login using your UTRGV or TSC credentials.)

To see a listing of what is available on the county microfilm, search in the online catalog for the titles below

Check out "how to" guides