Not long ago my research took me to Texas, in search of a family branch I was trying to link to my own. Thanks to online resources, I was able to establish what look like promising connections.
My hunt got off on the fast track when a search of the Handbook of Texas Online at www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/ turned up the ancestor I was looking for, along with the date he came to Texas, the place where he settled and the colony he belonged to. The latter information was the most valuable, because it told me this particular group of colonists came from Tennessee—the state where my branch of the family lived.
Online state resources are often an underutilized source for genealogy research. Illinois, for example, has already posted historic databases to the Web at www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/archives/databases.html, while the University of Michigan has digitized period books and journals detailing American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction at www.hti.umich.edu/m/moagrp.
Even if a state-related source doesn’t mention your ancestor by name, there’s a high probability you can find information about his town’s history, politics, economics and geography.
Here are a few of our favorite Texas sites:
• The TXGenWeb Project
Information varies by county, but can include county histories, census transcriptions, cemetery record, biographies.
• Republic of Texas Claims
Claims for payment, reimbursement, or restitution submitted by citizens to the Republic of Texas government from 1835 through 1846.
• Maps of Texas
Includes county and historical topographical maps.
• Family Search Texas Research Outline