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  Denton County Research Resources

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Compiled by Diana Pearson White

The Denton Public Library

The Denton Public Library (DPL) has a significant genealogical and local history collection for a town the size of Denton. The Benjamin Lyon Chapter of the DAR donated its library to the public library as the foundation of its collection. Over the past 20 years, the Denton County Genealogical Society has supported the library in its acquisition of genealogical materials. Frequently, the Denton Benefit supports the library with grants, as does the Friends of the Library. A beginning genealogist can be quite successful in the city's library, especially if the ancestors are from the South. Denton Public Library is weak in works on mid-western, western, and New England states. Many "how books," general reference works, and census indices are available, as are many county and state books.

The following are suggestions for your research at Denton Public Library.

  • Denton Public Library of Denton, Texas has a genealogy collection as well as a room called theTexas Room, where Texana is housed. It is necessary to use the card catalog to find materials housed in the Texas room and then ask the reference librarian to get it for you. Two days a week, volunteers serve in the Texas Room to assist patrons.

  • DPL has a significant number of genealogies and family histories in book form. The library does not purchase these; the collection is dependent upon donations.

  • DPL has several bibliographies of family histories and genealogies. In the collection are Kaminkow's Genealogies in the Library of Congress, the supplements to it, as well as Genealogies Cataloged by the Library of Congress Since 1986. Also, it has the Daughters of the American Revolution Library Catalog, Volume I: Family Histories and Genealogies, and Volume II: State and Local Histories. Another bibliographical work available (in several editions) is Genealogical Books in Print by Netti Schreiner Yantis.

  • DPL also has Crowther's Surname Index to Sixty-five Volumes of Colonial and Revolutionary Pedigrees; Filby's American and British Genealogy and Heraldry; and Virkus' Abridged Compendium of American Genealogy.

  • DPL Public Library has several histories available for the Denton County area, including Ed. F. Bates' History and Reminiscences of Denton County, compiled in 1918. (It has been reprinted twice, and an every name index was published 1987.) This is a county-wide history of the early settlers of Denton County, including muster rolls from the Civil War and World War I. It has community histories and family histories.

  • Another is C. A. Bridges' History of Denton, Texas From its Beginnings to 1960. Dr. Bridges' history of the city of Denton is more concerned with the development of the institutions in the city than with specific families. He used old newspapers, personal interviews, business records, county records, and some printed histories and genealogies. Most of the sources were secondary sources.

  • In the genealogy collection are various histories of churches and civic organizations; histories of other communities in the county; extracted records of Denton County; census records. Furthermore, there are many books of records of other Texas counties, including land records, court records, marriage records, etc. There are books of records of some cemeteries in the county.

  • Several histories of smaller communities in Denton County are available in DPL, including Ponder, Sanger, and Little Elm, as well as others. These are only a few examples of the various local history books available at the library. In the Texas Room are county histories for most of the counties of Texas, as well as many of the materials mentioned above.

  • The philosophy of the Denton Public Library is not to show preference to any specific region by choice of periodicals, so it subscribes only to publications with national coverage. There are numerous scattered volumes of genealogical publications which were donated to the library, after the subscribers studied them.

  • A few periodical indices are available at EFPL, including the NGS Topical Index, indices by Kip Sperry, and Donald Jacobus. It also has Michael Barren Clegg's Bibliography of Genealogy and Local History Periodicals with Union List of Major U. S. Collections, 1st ed., published by the Allen County Public Library Foundation. DPL has Swem's Virginia Historical Index, and all of the publications are available at UNT or TWU except the Lower Norfolk Antiquary.

  • DPL does not have a manuscript or special collections department per se, but it does have a vertical file of local history in the Texas Room. It contains newspaper clippings, manuscripts of certain families, churches, civic organizations, etc. This material is not fully cataloged and must be examined folder by folder, although it is cataloged by general topic. Also, in the Texas Collection are scrap books of organizations, business publications relating to Denton, City Directories for Denton, and many other items of local history.

  • DPL has the complete run of the Denton Record-Chronicle newspaper available from September 1908 to the present. It also has much of the early Wise County Messenger from before the turn of the century, but it is very difficult to read. (Wise County is the county west of Denton.) The DPL has Gale's Directory of Publications. There is a significant number of newspaper abstracts, such as Eddlemon's Genealogical Abstracts from Tennessee Newspapers, and the series of abstracts from Mississippi newspapers. In DPL two important finding guides are Wittenmyer's Union List of Newspapers in the Libraries of Fort Worth and Dallas and the Texas Press Association's Newspapers in Texas.

  • The library has the Dictionary of American Biography, various Who's Who editions, as well as other general reference works of collective biographies; many of the lineage books of the DAR are available; multi-volume passenger lists, etc. The library's genealogical collections of Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas, and the Carolinas are significant. DPL Public Library has the complete set of Pauline Gandrude's Alabama Records and most of the multi-volume genealogies from the various publications reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Company, including those from Virginia, Pennsylvania, etc.

  • DPL has several copy machines, including a coin-operated microform printer.

  • here are four microfilm readers and six microfiche readers available.

  • DPL participates in inter-library loan. An important aspect of inter-library loan is the availability of Texas County records on microfilm from the State Archives and Library, local records division. Records of most Texas counties circulate in the collection, although some counties, including Dallas County, do not. People from outside of the state can borrow these on inter-library loan. There is an index to Texas County Records: A Guide to the Holdings... available from the state. There are several bibliographies of manuscripts. One is the Guide to the Microfilm Holdings of Manuscripts Section in the Tennessee State Archives, which are available on inter library loan. Also available is the microfilm copy of an index to Virginia Records available for inter-library loan.

  • Other important resources available include microfilms of the 1850 census of the United States for most of the Southern states; census indices for most of the Southern states; microfilm of Texas birth and death records from 1903-1973 and Texas probate birth and death records filed up until about 1973. City of Denton Birth and Death records from 1900-1957 are on micorfilm. There are many scattered issues of donated genealogical publications.

  • The Denton County Genealogical Society has compiled a notebook with family group sheets of ancestors of its members. Also, there is a file with much of the research that the society has done on request for people needing assistance with families who lived in Denton County. It is filed according to the primary family with a separate card index of allied families mentioned in the letters. This is on the open shelf for researchers to use.

  • For patrons doing Texas research, the library has all published volumes of Inventory of County Records, compiled at state expense as a Bicentennial Project. Unfortunately, most of the 254 counties were not included in the project, as the state ran out of money for the project before it was completed.

  • In the past year, the Friends of the Library group donated computers and software to allow patrons to research electronic media. There are two computers with a printer for those using the compact disks of genealogical data research. These include some of the cds from Broderbund, PERSI, and ,many more.

  • The Denton County Historical Museum and Texas Heritage Center, located at Highway I-35, exit 471, has archives of documents, thousands of photographs, and a library of local history. The Museum has exhibits of local history and families.

  • The The museum at the Courthouse on the Square is a major source for cemetery records in Denton, as well as exhibits. A significant part of this collection belongs to the University of North Texas, including a large collection of glass and dolls donated many years ago by Gustine Courson Weaver.

Univeristy Libraries
  • Significant is the fact that Denton is a two-university city, and the university libraries are available to the townspeople. In them, genealogists have map collections, microfilmed sets of newspapers from all over the United States, reference sections, and historical collections as wonderful gold mines of information. Especially useful are the collections of colonial records, territorial papers, state archival collections, etc. The University of North Texas has the complete set of Texas census records, 1850-1920, including the Soundex for 1900. Furthermore, UNT has the complete microfilm collection of United States census from 1790-1820, including non-population censuses. Many of the New Mexico census records are available, too. Texas Woman's University has the entire Pennsylvania Archives Series available on the open shelf! UNT has the American State Papers Series in its entirety, but one must go to DPL or TWU to use the index to the land records series, Grassroots of America. Both university libraries have the Official Record of the War of the Rebellion, but TWU has it in a closed collection; UNT has it on the open shelf. UNT has many of the DAR lineage books, as well as most of the Compendium of American Genealogy. Very important is the fact that the university libraries have historical journals for all states.

Although this is not an exhaustive list of materials available here in Denton, this should help both the beginner and the experienced researcher in researching in Denton.

Good Luck!


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