harris county records preservation
september 22, 2014
Changes come to moldering records on the rich history of Harris County. Over a decade ago, the old red brick building in downtown Houston housed these valuable records such as docket sheets, judgments, orders, evidence and appeals, many dating back to the decade-long Republic of Texas. It had no climate control and was cooled by a window unit dating back to the 50s, therefore, the acidity, high humidity, water damage and bugs, plus years of neglect was destroying the county’s judicial history.
This began to change in 1998 when Francisco Heredia and Michael Strum began the slow process of preserving century-old records. They knew the county had to act soon to preserve its historic legal history for future generations. Also recognizing the extent of damage of the documents were District Court Judge Mark Davidson and District Judge Charles Bacarisse. Together, they all began to take steps to correct the damage. They moved the records to Harris County’s Civil Courthouse and launched the Historical Document Room which now provides access for viewing the documents dating from 1837-1925 to the public. This includes 35,000 pages dating back to the Republic of Texas.
Thanks to the foresight of these people, the documents are available free to historians, lawyers, judges and the public at www.hcdistrictclerk.com/common/historicaldocument/HistoricalDocumentsMain.aspx. You can view a display of the records in person by visiting the first floor of the Civil Courthouse.
For more on the actual records, the display available and hours of operation, read more at the Appellate Lawyer site, www.hbaappellatelawyer.org/2014/09/to-preserve-and-protect-harris-countys.html.
GENEALOGY CLASS AT COLLIN COLLEGE: Online Genealogy will be offered at Collin College on Wednesday nights from October 1 to November 5, 6:30 to 9 p.m. This is a hands on class taught by Barbara Coakley. The class focuses on using online resources in your family history research. You can register online on the Collin College web site.
GENEALOGY WORKSHOP SCHEDULED: Join Genealogy Friends at their all-day workshop, October 25, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Plano Bible Chapel, 1900 Shiloh Road. The theme for the all-day workshop is, “Follow Your Ancestors Home.” The speakers begin at 9:30 a.m. with Cheryl Smith talking on Find Your Ancestors’ Home. Barbara Coakley speaks on Research in Germany and Tresa Tratyrek will speak on Researching Irish Records and Northern Ireland Research. Bring your own lunch and network with other attendees interested in trading research tips. Registration begins at 9 a.m. Wonder who will win the door prizes over the lunch break? For fee and other information visit Genealogy Friends website, www.genealogyfriends.org. Genealogy Friends is a nonprofit organization certified under Section 501[c] of the Internal Revenue Code.
SAR MEETS OCTOBER 7: Join the Plano Chapter #37 Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) at 7 p.m. to hear UT-A’s Donald Gross speak on Nathaniel Greene. The new meeting location is at Anamia’s Tex-Mex Restaurant, 3408 Preston Road in Plano at 7 p.m.
PLANO SAR CHAPTER WINS MANY AWARDS: Dan Reed just told me about the many Awards for all the Texas Chapters that Plano Chapter #37 Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) recently acquired. These will be awarded at the next State Board meeting in Temple on November 8. The chapter was presented with the following National Awards at the 124th National Congress:
- The USS Stark Memorial Award to the chapters with the best record for service to Veterans during the past year.
- The Liberty Bell Americanism Award to the chapter, that presents evidence of best implementing SAR Resolutions and Principles.
- The President General’s Cup to the chapter that presents evidence of the most complete program of activities.
Join the Plano Chapter of SAR at their new meeting location at Anamia’s Tex-Mex Restaurant, 3408 Preston Road in Plano. The meeting and dinner begins at 7 p.m.
Brenda Kellow has a bachelor's degree in history, teaches, and lectures on genealogy. Before retiring to publish her family’s histories in 2007, Brenda held certification as a Certified Genealogist and as a Certified Genealogical Instructor. Send reunion announcements, books to review, and genealogy queries to: firstname.lastname@example.org.