The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Library offers many resources for genealogists researching family histories in southern Texas and northeastern Mexico. Everyone is welcome to use the materials in the UTRGV Library regardless of University affiliation.
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:
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. Go to the UTPA Library Special Collections to help fill in your gaps, and to find additional information on earlier generations.
The UTRGV Library has the following guides which provide more information on conducting genealogical research. Please note, this is not intended to be a comprehensive listing. Please ask for assistance in finding additional materials.
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
The UTPA Library subscribes to HeritageQuest, available through the Articles and Databases page, which provides a fully keyword-searchable database of census records. To access HeritageQuest,you may either log in with a University account, or if you do not have a University account, you may use a computer that is in the Library or on campus. http://www.heritagequestonline.com/hqoweb/library/do/index
2. Social Security Death Index (SSDI)
After a person’s death, their Social Security Number and information are made available. 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 http://www.deathindexes.com/ssdi.html.
3. Texas County Records Available On Microfilm
The UTPA Library holds non-current primary county records in microfilm format 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. To see a listing of what is available on the county microfilm, search in the online catalog for the titles below
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Library, Special Collections and Archives has a strong collection of both local history and Hispanic genealogy for southern Texas and northeastern Mexico.
1. Decide if you want to search by family name or location.
Some searches may bring up irrelevant titles, for example, a search of 'Alamo' will bring up many books on the Alamo in San Antonio, as well as the city of Alamo in Hidalgo County. You may limit your search to "Special Collections" to limit your search to books within the Special Collections room regarding southern Texas and northeastern Mexico.
2. Go to the Library’s Online Catalog Advanced Keyword Search: http://lib3.utrgv.edu/search~S5/X.
3. Limit the search “Location: Special Collections”
Advanced Keyword Search:
[Subject] Hinojosa [or] Hinojosa family
[Location] Special Collections
Advanced Keyword Search:
[Subject] Ciudad Camargo
[Location] Special Collections
Note: Special Collections attempts to obtain 2 copies of books owned. Copy 1 is a Reference / Preservation copy and does NOT circulate but may be used within Special Collections. Copy 2 is a Circulating copy that may be checked out or requested via Interlibrary Loan.
The UTPA Library has both original and photocopied collections that are helpful to genealogists, including the Frank Cushman Pierce Collection, the Camargo Archives, and the Reynosa Archives. These materials are loose papers housed in folders and boxes. You must be present in the UTPA Library Special Collections Reading Room to review these materials; they are not available for checkout or Interlibrary Loan. You may bring a camera to take pictures of individual pages for personal use.
1. Go to the Library's Archive Search page http://archives.lib.utrgv.edu/
2. Enter your search term for family names or city.
TIPS: Use Filters on the left, or Icons to identify lines of interest
3. Click on the folder title to get more information.
4. When you find items you would like to view, copy and paste the very top line, and e-mail or print a copy of the information. We will need all of the information on that top line to know what collection, box, and folder you will view during your visit.
A few archival resources have been digitized, and the images are available through the Library's Local Digital Collections website.
Popular items are Church records:
And Marks and Brands books
Everyone is welcome to use the materials in the UTRGV Library regardless of University affiliation.
Typical Fall and Spring Semester hours are listed below. Click on "hours open" for a detailed schedule.
Parking permits: visitor parking permits are available at the information booth by the campus main entrance off of University Drive.
Cameras: many of our materials may not leave the room to be copied. You are allowed to use a camera to take pictures of pages for personal use.
Checking out items: all books and other items may be used within the Library. If you would like to check out materials, you may
See our library Circulation page for more information, or ask for more information at your local library