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Genealogy, History and Archives

The Genealogy, History & Archives Unit of the Fort Worth Library is located in the lower level of the Central Library. It has a large collection of family history data including federal census, books, periodicals and online databases. The collection focuses on Texas and the South, but also includes a considerable amount of information on the Midwest and the original thirteen states. The unit also collects primary and secondary materials on the history of Fort Worth, its institutions, organizations, and peoples. Moreover, it is the official archives for the City of Fort Worth municipal government.

Contact us by phone at (817) 392-7740 or send us an email to

Jump to: Genealogy Collection | Local History Collection | Archives CollectionDonating 

Digital Archives Collection

The library has been working on digitizing many of its archive collections in order to make them more accessible. Some of the collections currently online include the Shires Photograph Collection, the Gruen and Bartholomew Plans, Texas County Tax Rolls, Texas Spring Palace, Fort Worth Labor News, Fox Photograph Collection, the Federal Writers’ Project, Lake Como Weekly, Hazel Harvey Peace Collection, Tarrant County Original Land Grants, Fort Worth Housing Authority, and the Women’s History Month Collection. New collections are continuously being added.

Check out the feature of the archives by NBC5 in February 2012.

Genealogy Collection

The Genealogy Collection's emphasis is on the southern and midwestern states and the thirteen original states, although most of the United States is represented. Limited materials on foreign countries, particularly Great Britain and Western European nations, are also available. The collection includes over 40,000 volumes, 9,500 rolls of microfilm (primarily U. S. Census and City Directories), 180,000 microfiche, 80,000 microcards and several hundred maps.

  • New! HistoryGeo Available only in the Library helps you take your family history research to a whole other level: analyzing the places behind your people and the events that shaped their lives can reveal so much more than mere documents. features two unique mapping tools: the First Landowners Project and the Antique Maps Project.The First Landowners Project delivers over 8 million original landowners in a single map layer, with more to come. The Antique Maps Project, which is growing weekly, features 4000+ maps from around the United States, most of which feature landowners from different periods.

  • America's Genealogy Bank (Newsbank)  Use in Library | Use at Home
    Quickly find your ancestors in over 300 years of historical newspapers, books, pamphlets and government reports. Search over 1,000 newspapers; the American State Papers; US Congressional Serial Set and more. Find obituaries, birth & marriage notices; pension records etc. Read every article on every page of the newspaper.
     (Fort Worth Residents only)
  • HeritageQuest Online Use in library | Use at Home 
    Helps you trace your family lineage and American culture. Includes over 25,000 family and local histories, the complete U.S. Federal Census from 1790-1930, the Periodical Source Index (PERSI), the Revolutionary War Pension Applications & Bounty Land Warrant Applications, and the Freedman's Bank Records. New resources are added continuously. (TexShare)

    A guide to using HeritageQuest Online can be found here.
  • Use in library only
    Provides the U.S. Census Collection "every name" index dating from 1790 to 1930; U.S. Data Collection (birth, marriage, and death records; World War I draft registration information; and Social Security Death Index); and the U.K. and Ireland Collection (England and Wales Census Images and Indexes; England and Wales Civil Registration Index 1837-present; and England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales Parish and Probate Records, 1500s-1837); New York and San Francisco passenger lists and the New York Petitions for Naturalization Index; and download census extraction forms, ancestral charts, family group sheets, and more.

    A guide to using Ancestry Library Edition can be found here.
  • Recommended Genealogy Web Sites
    Genealogy Web sites selected by Genealogy and Local History staff.
  • Local Genealogical Resources
    National Archives and Record Administration Southwest Branch contact information, and a list of local volunteer centers devoted to assisting individuals in tracing their family histories.
  • Local Archival Resources
    A list of local archival centers
  • Genealogical Societies in Texas
    Contact information for societies across Texas

Local History Collection

The Fort Worth Library has approximately 10,000 items pertaining to the history of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. These items include city and county government documents, newspapers, directories, cemetery association records, maps as well as popular and scholarly books written by local authors or about local subjects. For information about what materials can be requested through the mail or email, please visit this webpage

  • African American Doctors in Fort Worth, Texas, 1887 – 1925 & Texas Medical Association 
    Information on the doctors and their descendants that practiced in Fort Worth between 1887 and 1925.
  • Biography Vertical Files
    A list of persons in the Library's Biography Vertical Files, along with a brief description of the file contents.
  • Fort Worth Flashback
    Weekly articles from the City of Fort Worth's City News featuring the Library's Archives Collection
  • Fort Worth Gazette
    The Fort Worth Gazette has been digitized and is now located at the Library of Congress.  The years covered are November 1, 1883 to January 1, 1888.
  • Fort Worth History Fugitive Facts Use in Library | Use at Home
    Over the years, librarians have kept the answers to the most frequently asked questions about Fort Worth's history in a card file for quick look-ups. Part trivia, part serious, always fascinating, those questions and answers are gathered here.
  • Handbook of Texas Online
    The ultimate source of information for all things Texas--history, geography, people, culture, and more
  • Junior Historian
    The Texas State Historical Association was formed in 1897 to preserve the history of the state.  In 1939 a junior division of the Association was set up for young historians.  It published the historical writings of high school boys and girls.  The purpose of the Junior Historian was to foster in young people a love of their own state by developing their knowledge of the state.  It encouraged young people to investigate the past of their own community, town, or city. 

    The Fort Worth Library has Volume 1, 1939, through Volume 48, 1988, of the Junior Historian.  There was a name change with Volume 31, 1970, when it because simply the Texas Historian.   We have indexed the Volumes in the PDF file above to reflect the young adults from Fort Worth and Tarrant County who were published within these volumes.  You may find the magazines on our shelves in Genealogy under the call number of 976.4 TEXAS.
  • Local History Photograph Collection
    The Library has hundreds of photographs documenting Fort Worth's history. Photos are available for reproduction through the Genealogy, History, and Archives Unit.  This form will be filled out by library staff and signed by the customer. Please review the blank form and contact the Unit to request copies of the photos in the library's collection.
  • Obituary Index Use in Library | Use at Home
    Online index to obituaries appearing in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram from 1966-1993 and the Fort Worth Press from 1966-1976. You can search by last name or last name, first name. The index only gives the date the obituary appeared in the paper, not the obituary itself. To obtain a copy of an obituary, e-mail the Periodicals Unit, or call 817-392-7733 for more information. There is a $6.00 research and handling charge, plus $.50 per page for photocopies.
  • School and College Yearbooks
    A list of yearbooks from local schools and colleges available at the Library
  • Texas County Tax Lists, 1836 – 1910
    A list of Texas county tax lists available at the Library
  • Texas Digital Sanborn Maps Online Use in LibraryUse at Home
    Digital access to more than 660,000 large-scale maps of over 12,000 American towns and cities. Founded in 1867 by D. A. Sanborn, the Sanborn Map Company was the primary American publisher of fire insurance maps for nearly 100 years. No maps are consulted more in academic and public libraries.

Program Videos

Through the work of mostly volunteers, complete videos of some of the programs offered in the library about different topics in genealogy are available to view on the library's YouTube page and website.  A complete listing of available programs (and the videos) can be found here.  

Success Stories

Combing through all the genealogical documents available to find just the right information can be a daunting task. The Fort Worth Library Genealogy, History and Archives staff is always available to help patrons with searching family history.  Learn about genealogy patrons and their success stories.  Who knows, the next one could be you! 

Archives Collection

Donating to the Genealogy, History, and Archives Collections

The Fort Worth Library encourages you to donate your papers and other materials relating to Fort Worth history. Learn more about the kinds of materials we're looking for.  This form will be filled out by library staff and signed by the donor. Please review the blank form and contact the Unit to donate materials to the library.

Updated 1 June 2015

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