A Survey of Selected Genealogical Resources in Denton, Texas
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
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
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
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.
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.