Since 1995, the Texana/Genealogy Department has been located on the sixth floor of the Central Library at 600 Soledad Street downtown. The department occupies approximately 10,000 square feet.
Within the Department are:
This guide is designed to introduce you to books, databases, web sites, and information on microfilm held by the Texana/Genealogy Department.
The mission of the Collection is to preserve and make available to our patrons materials which chronicle the history and development of all aspects of the rich heritage of
Examples of collections include:
Please note: Our microfilm reader/printers are attached to coinboxes that do not make change. Prints from microfilm are ten cents per page. Please bring dimes for printing. You will have to go to the first floor or the bank across the street to get change.
The staff of the Texana/Genealogy Department has two main goals with regard to the Genealogy Collection. The first is to continue to acquire materials to meet the ever expanding needs of our patrons. Virtually every state east of the Rockies is requested, as well as
The second goal is to educate family historians as to what materials we can provide and the proper historical and genealogical research methods to use. To this end the Department offers monthly classes, special events, and community outreach programs.
The types of records purchased as books or microfilm include court records (deeds, probate, marriage, etc.), church records (baptisms, burials, marriages, membership lists, etc.), cemetery readings, local histories, military records, passenger lists, and others. Some examples from the collection include:
The Texana/Genealogy Department was designated a depository for selected
The archival collections are generally non-published materials representing individuals or organizations. In preserving our local history for future generations such collections are very important as they contain information not likely to be found elsewhere. When lost, the place of that individual or organization in history may be gone forever along with any references to the important contributions made to society. As the primary location in
These are groups of materials given to the Library by local individuals and are designated as special due to the nature of the collection or the original owner. Examples include,
The Rosengren Collection consists of a group of rare 18th, 19th, and early 20th century children’s books given by
Edward W. Heusinger Geographical Collection was presented to the Library by Mr. Heusinger, a local merchant, a founder of the San Antonio Scientific Society and member of the Royal Geographical Society. There are approximately 160 books on geography and travel published from the 1800s to the mid-1950s, recording accounts during the Age of Exploration.
In 1925 Mary Ellen Slayden donated 325 volumes from her husband’s (James L. Slayden, U.S. Representative from
San Antonio’s long love affair with the military is represented in several collections: Col. Martin Giesecke (World Wars I & II, San Jose Cattle Co. and Liberty Mills) Collection; Birkhead (commander of Randolph AFB) Collection; Ann Flores collection of German publications from World Wars I and II; a collection of newspapers (on microfilm) published by German POWs while in the United States and Canada, a collection of published primary accounts of the two world wars, and a number of other primary source collections.
The Hertzberg Rare Book Collection includes several thousand books on all subjects. While most of the books are not actually rare, there are some, for example: a first issue of the first edition of the 1611 King James Bible, Biblia Latina (A.D. 1250), numerous illuminated manuscript pages, two volumes of English broadsides, and many more items.
Oral Histories are an important source of personal and community information.
Texana/Genealogy, on its own, and with partners, records, transcribes, and houses oral histories of individuals with local connections. The department is a depository for oral histories of the Bexar County Historical Commission and the San Antonio Symphony.
Using the Online Catalog
While almost all Texana and genealogy books are listed in the online catalog, items in the specials collections, maps, clipping files, archive collections, and those on microfilm and microfiche do not appear in the catalog.
Books in the Texana Collection follow the Dewey system. Books on individual counties are given a specific county number, and then filed by author, title entry, etc.
Books in the Genealogy Collection also follow the Dewey system. Books about individual states are file according to the appropriate state number and then filed by individual county in possible. Those items with material on several counties or general topics are filed by author or title entry. Patrons should use the catalog because some materials on a county of interest may be filed in one of these more general titles.
Books on specific families are filed in 929.2, and then by the first surname that appears on the title page. The catalog will contain all surnames on the title page. Other surnames listed in the text or index will not be in the catalog. Patrons should check the catalog under “_____ family” or “_____ genealogy”
The Texana/Genealogy Department is a Reference Only Collection. The materials are not allowed to leave the department, however, copies of some of the books are available for check out in the circulating collection.