Pathfinders


Abstracts of Title

  • This inventory contains all the abstracts of title currently in the Harris County Archives. The archives also has 33 volumes of Abstract of Titles of Texas, 1877 - 1909 which cover the land donations and grants of all the Texas counties.

County Officials

  • A frequent request from the archives is for a list of county office holders. The following compilations used Margaret Henson’s City of Houston and Harris County Officials 1837 – 1975, 1976, various editions of City Directories, Elections Results published online at http://harrisvotes.com/ElectionResults.aspx, Harris County Telephone Directories, and the Squatty Lyons Scrapbooks, E. A. Squatty Lyons Papers, Harris County Archives. Please direct any comments or corrections to sjackson@cco.hctx.net.
  • Assessor Collector of Taxes (1840 – 2013) - compiled from Henson, updated 2016.
  • Constables (1879 – 2016) – compiled by Margaret McCollough, updated 2016.
  • County and District Attorneys (1837 – 2013) – compiled from Henson with additional information. Oftentimes a single office carried out the duties of both the criminal and civil attorney.
  • County Clerk (1837 – 2010) – compiled from Henson, updated 2016.
  • Court Members (1836 – 2016) – compiled by Rose Sprott Swain, Office of Management and Budget, 2005; modified 2016.
  • District Clerk (1837 – 2011) – compiled from Henson, updated 2011.
  • Justices of the Peace (1879 – 2016) – compiled by Margaret McCollough, updated 2016.
  • Sheriff (1837 – 2015) – researched and verified by Doug Hudson, correcting several published errors.
  • Surveyor (1837 - 1989) - compiled from Henson, updated through County Telephone Directories. The office was eliminated by Constitutional Amendment January 1, 1990.
  • Treasurer (1837 – 2006) – compiled from Henson, updated 2016.

Inquest Records (1889 - 1956)

  • From 1876 – 1957 the Justices of the Peace in Harris County presided over inquests. Texas law requires a determination of the cause and manner of death in all cases of accident, homicide, suicide, and undetermined death and in cases of natural death when the person is not under a doctor’s care.
  • Each JP court maintained its own inquest dockets. The majority of the inquests were likely held in JP Precinct 1 since it was located in Houston. Few inquests survive from the rural areas of the county. The table includes all the inquest dockets in the Harris County Archives and is arranged by date according to Justice of the Peace office. The later dockets contain indexes.
  • Records from 1889 to 1895 are available online from the Portal to Texas History. Individual records can be assessed through an excel index.
  • Inquest Case Files (1937 - 1956) are the files held by the Justices prior to the information being entered into the docket books. In addition to copies of the forms in the docket books they may also contain original, signed witness statements, autopsies, and investigators reports.
  • In 2009 volunteers from PacoTech indexed 4435 Inquest Case Files (1903 - 1944) used in court proceedings and held with the records of the District Clerk. Please contact the archives to search for a specific name.
  • In 1957 the Medical Examiner’s Office took over the inquest responsibilities. Please see the Medical Examiners Finding Aid for further information.

Schools

  • Few records survive documenting the county school system in Harris County. Those records that do exist pertain primarily to financial transactions and are scattered between county offices. The pathfinder organizes the records by the office of record.
  • The Director's School Record for Harris County, Texas (1876 - 1877) is available in three parts:
  • The Bond Certification Records, created by the office of the Texas Attorney General and donated to the archives, are a rich resource for information about Houston, County, and Independent School Districts in Harris County.
  • American Schoolhouses, published by the United States Bureau of Education in 1911, documents school architecture of the time and is available in the Harris County Archives. A Survey of the Rural Schools of Harris County, Texas, a Masters Thesis written in 1933, analyzes the state of the county schools from physical buildings to competency of teachers.

Scrapbooks (1918 - 2009)

  • Over 600 scrapbooks compiled primarily of newspaper clippings by county offices, elected officials, and county employees are an incredibly rich source for Harris County history. Some of the scrapbook series also contain campaign materials, invitations, certificates, programs, invitations, and other ephemera. Of particular interest is the H. M. Hobbs Collection (1918 - 1975) of newspaper clippings including obituaries (index).
  • The Ethel Claxton Scrapbooks (1914 - 1939) are digitized and accessed under Juvenile Probation Records on the County Records page.

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