Dockets 1894 – 1997 278 vol.
Criminal Case files are with the District Clerk
The Harris County Archives maintains many records that can be useful to family history researchers. This includes many types of records that are not traditionally considered genealogical in nature, but which can provide information about the lives of your ancestors in Harris County. If your ancestor may have interacted with Harris County government, there may be a record of that connection in the Archives.
The city directories provide a street address index (resident/business index only prior to 1908) for properties in Houston, and in some cases, the surrounding areas. Most city directories have a business section classified by occupation, grocers, physicians, etc. In addition to cross-referencing addresses with the name of an individual or business, city directories can also sometimes tell you things like a person’s occupation, their race, spouse’s name, and whether a house was owned or rented.
County court records may name ancestors as jurors, witnesses, victims, even defendants or plaintiffs in civil and criminal cases. The Harris County Archives has a selection of Justice of the Peace court records and District Attorney Records.
Tax records for both personal property and land are among the least-utilized and most valuable genealogical records. The Assessor and Collector of Taxes collection (CR001) contains records like Building and Land Assessments, Assessor Abstracts, Block Books, and tax rolls.
As Harris County's de facto social welfare agency during the first half of the twentieth century, the Probation Department (later Juvenile Probation) had jurisdiction over all children engaged in delinquent acts, dependent and neglected children, adoption investigations, custody disputes, investigations of insanity (both adult and juvenile), and intake for epilepsy and tubercular state institutions. The department also administered support funds for old-age and mothers’ pensions.
After World War II as caseloads mounted and thinking about institutionalization changed, separate departments were created to administer programs once handled by the Probation Department.
These records detail the experiences of families and individuals, employees, charitable resources, children’s home workers and foster care parents within the Harris County Juvenile Probation system. The adoption case files may include correspondence, photographs, family and case histories, medical records, crime reports, confessions and witness statements, and home and caseworker investigations. Some of these records are restricted for privacy. An application must be submitted for consideration for access.
WPA Applications, Client Case Files, Burial Records, and the Harris County Cemetery Records (1924 – 1990) document the functions of the social welfare agencies prior to and after the creation of the Harris County Social Services Department.
WPA Applications including certificates of eligibility, case worker notes, and correspondence document the lives of men, women, and families affected by the Great Depression in Harris County, Texas, 1936 – 1941.
Case files contain information on Social Services clients, State Hospital commitments, and procedures clients must follow in order to receive assistance.
Burial Records (1985 – 1988) document the work of the Department of Social Services with regard to indigent burials.
Cemetery logs, plat maps, maps, and correspondence document the history of the Harris County Cemetery and record the burials of Harris County indigents from 1924 to 1983.
Contains correspondence, printed materials, financial records, legal records and Veterans Organization records that document the activities of the Harris County Veterans Service Office 1946 – 1991.
Case files contain correspondence, military records, supporting documentation, and office forms, 1972-2001.
Print newspapers can be used for genealogical research. The Harris County Archives has print copies of the Houston Post (1880-1995), the short-lived Houston Evening Post (1922-1924), and various other community newspapers for smaller cities and suburban areas such as Kingwood, Spring, Tomball, and Southeast Harris County.
During the Republic of Texas period, until the Constitution of 1869, the office of coroner functioned primarily to identify homicides. In 1955 the Texas Legislature passed the Baker Bill, which allowed counties with a population greater than 250,000 to establish an Office of Medical Examiner to assume those duties previously conducted by the Justices of the Peace. Harris County was one of the first Texas counties to opt for this system which mandates the Medical Examiner to determine the cause and manner of death in all cases of accident, homicide, suicide, and undetermined death.
This collection contains over 1000 cubic feet of autopsy case files, reports, log books, newspaper clippings, medical articles, correspondence, memorandums, printed materials, photographs, and autopsies that document the functions of the Office of Medical Examiner (1954 – 2013).