Frequently Asked Questions
Questions about the TSHA
What does TSHA do?
The Texas State Historical Association is a group of independent and professional historians who are interested in promoting and preserving the history of Texas and its many peoples. The founding mission of the TSHA since 1897 is “to foster the appreciation, understanding, and teaching of the rich and unique history of Texas and, by example and through programs and activities, encourage and promote research, preservation, and publication of historical material affecting the state of Texas.”
We pursue this mission through educational events, programs, and publications. For over a century, TSHA has been the leading authority on Texas state history, and we hope to continue to serve the people of Texas well into the future.
I recently placed an order on Legacy of Texas, and I have questions related to shipping or billing. Who can help me with that?
For questions about Legacy of Texas orders, please contact [email protected] with your order number.
I am interested in donating gently used Texas history books to the TSHA. Who can I reach out to?
For questions related to donated books, please contact [email protected]
I am trying to renew or upgrade my membership. Who can help me?
For questions related to membership, please contact [email protected]
I am trying to contact a specific department. Who can I reach out to?
For questions regarding membership, please contact [email protected]
For questions about educational programs, please contact [email protected]
For questions related to website administration or Legacy of Texas online store, please contact [email protected]
For questions related to the Southwestern Historical Quarterly (including how to submit articles), TSHA Press book publications, or publishing a book manuscript with TSHA, please contact: [email protected]
For questions related to the Handbook of Texas, authoring or revising a Handbook entry, and Texas Day by Day, please contact: [email protected]
For questions related to the Texas Almanac, please contact: [email protected]
Questions about Texas history/genealogy research
I have found a document or object (letter, photograph, quilt, etc.) that I believe has historic value. What can I do with it?
At this time, the Texas State Historical Association is not collecting materials. We suggest that you reach out to your local historical society, or to a historical society focused on your particular topic. Here are some useful resources to get started:
- Austin History Center: https://library.austintexas.gov/ahc/about-us
- Houston History Archives: https://libraries.uh.edu/locations/special-collections/houston-history/
- Portal to Texas History: https://texashistory.unt.edu/
- Briscoe Center for American History: https://briscoecenter.org/
- Texas State Library and Archives (TSLAC): https://www.tsl.texas.gov/
You may want to search online for a more local home for your items. Many counties have their own historical societies that may be able to help you. Your local public library may also have staff to help you find a home for your documents. These organizations are too numerous to list here, but a simple online search should yield more specific results.
I have a question about a historical marker or historical state designation. How can I find help with that?
Historical markers and other state historical designations, such as historic properties, are issued and regulated by the Texas Historical Commission. We suggest that you reach out directly to them to answer your questions. Here are some useful resources from the Texas Historical Commission:
- Historic sites: https://www.thc.texas.gov/preserve/projects-and-programs/thc-state-historic-sites
- Historic markers: https://www.thc.texas.gov/preserve/projects-and-programs/state-historical-markers
- Historic property designations: https://www.thc.texas.gov/project-review/statutes-regulations-rules
- County courthouse programs: https://www.thc.texas.gov/preserve/projects-and-programs/texas-historic-courthouse-preservation
- Cemetery preservation: https://www.thc.texas.gov/preserve/projects-and-programs/cemetery-preservation
I have a private, family cemetery on my property, and I want to find out more about the people who are buried there. Where do I start?
There are a couple things you will want to find out in this search. First, it may be tricky to track down biographical information about the people who are buried there, especially if they were born before the formal registration of birth certificates (1903 in Texas). If there is no state vital data on these individuals, you may have more luck finding birth, marriage, and death information from their church, if you happen to know what church or denomination these individuals attended and if the records still exist. Failing that, search all churches in the area for their vital statistics.
If you want to survey the graves themselves, you will want to familiarize yourself with some of the laws applicable to private cemeteries. The Texas Historical Commission has put together a comprehensive guide on how to locate and handle unregistered graves: https://www.thc.texas.gov/preserve/projects-and-programs/cemetery-preservation/maintenance-conservation-and-repair/locating. If you choose to investigate the grave, you will likely need to hire a qualified archaeologist to properly conduct the excavation. A full list of qualified archeologists working in Texas is maintained by the Council of Texas Archeologists (CTA) on their website: http://counciloftexasarcheologists.org/?page_id=5.
I have recently done a genealogy search, and I am trying to find more information about my ancestors or family members. How can you help with that?
At this time, the TSHA is not offering genealogy search services. There are several online resources that you may find helpful, or you may choose to hire someone to undertake professional research on your behalf. To find more information or a proxy researcher, we suggest starting with these two guides:
- Texas State Library and Archives genealogical resources: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/arc/genfirst.html
- Library of Congress Texas Genealogical research guide: https://www.loc.gov/rr/genealogy/bib_guid/states/tx/tx.html
I believe that I have Native American ancestry and I am trying to find more information about possible connections to Texas Indigenous groups. Where can I start?
If you have questions about your possible connections to a specific Texas Indigenous group, we suggest reaching out directly to them. Some contact information is below:
- Federally recognized Texas tribes:
- State recognized Texas tribes:
- Tribes with historic populations in Texas:
For general information about Texas Indigenous groups and their land, please see: https://native-land.ca/
Before undertaking such a line of research, you may find some use in the following article written by an Indigenous DNA researcher: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22129554-400-there-is-no-dna-test-to-prove-youre-native-american/
I am looking for back issues of Texas history related journals, magazines or newspapers. Where can I find free access to these materials?
We suggest looking into The Portal to Texas History (https://texashistory.unt.edu/) for many different kinds of historical materials, including journals, magazines, photographs, newspaper articles, and many more documents.
I have a historic home/cemetery/piece of land that I want to protect from destruction. How can I best do that?
TSHA is an educational organization, and so we are likely not best suited to assist you with this particular issue. We suggest that you reach out to the Texas Historical Commission, which offers standards for historical preservation, current lists of contractors, and other useful information: https://www.thc.texas.gov/preserve.
I am interested in learning more about a specific piece of land or property. Where can I find that information?
Information on specific pieces of property can be tricky to find. One approach is to search the address in a database of newspapers, such as Newspapers.com or LexisNexis.com. Another approach is to search in the digital or physical records of the local county tax assessor, who will have a complete record of the property’s ownership and likely usage history. Best of luck with your search!
Questions about government services
I am trying to get information from or about a state agency, such as the General Land Office, the State Preservation Board, the State Comptroller, or another agency. Can you help me with this?
The Texas State Historical Association is a private nonprofit organization focused on promoting and preserving Texas history. We are not a state agency, and we do not have access to state records. We suggest that you reach out directly to the agency in question.
I am trying to find someone’s medical or school records. Can you help me with this?
Medical and educational records are both protected by federal and state privacy laws. We do not hold these records and cannot easily help find them. We suggest reaching out directly to the institution in question to find more information.
I am trying to find a verification of prior state service for myself or for a potential hire. Do you have this information?
No, we do not have employment records for any state employees. We suggest that you reach out to the state agency in question for verification of prior employment.
I have a relative or friend who is losing their vision and I am trying to find information or services for them. Who can help me?
First of all, we are sorry to hear that you are dealing with this difficult matter. There are several public resources for blind or visually impaired individuals. The following resources may be useful to you:
- Texas Health and Human Services (THHS): https://www.hhs.texas.gov/services/disability/blind-visually-impaired
- Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired: https://www.tsbvi.edu/
I have a friend or relative who is in need of mental health services. Who can help me with this?
First of all, we are sorry to hear that you are dealing with this difficult matter. We would suggest contacting Texas Health and Human Services (THHS) about their mental health assistance programs: https://www.hhs.texas.gov/services/mental-health-substance-use
Myself or someone I know is facing immediate eviction or another housing crisis. Where can I find help?
First of all, we are sorry to hear that you are dealing with this difficult matter. Resources will be different depending on where you are. The Texas State Department of Health and Human Services has a list of statewide resources, or further resources for the metro areas are below:
- Austin: https://www.austintexas.gov/department/austin-public-health-homeless-assistance
- DFW: https://www.mdhadallas.org/help-resources/
- El Paso: https://research.ppld.org/c.php?g=527775&p=3608681
- Houston: https://irp.cdn-website.com/2d521d2c/files/uploaded/Street%20Map%20080621.pdf
- San Antonio: https://www.sanantonio.gov/Portals/0/Files/NHSD/Programs/FairHousing/ResourceGuide.pdf
Questions about educational programs or services
I would like more information about Texas History Day, where should I go?
I would like to enroll my student or myself in the TSHA’s educational programs. Where should I start?
I would like to volunteer with the TSHA’s educational programs. Are there opportunities to volunteer? Who can I contact?
You can email [email protected] with any questions concerning volunteering for educational programs. Please include your interests and when you are available.
I am trying to find information or placement for a child in preschool. Where can I find more information?
We suggest visiting the Texas Head Start Association for more information: https://www.txhsa.org/about
I am looking for information about scholarships, eligibility requirements, or other matters for the Daughters of the Republic of Texas or the Sons of the Republic of Texas. Where can I find that?
I think I may have found a meteorite. What can I do with it?
The University of Texas at Austin’s Astronomy Department has a page you may consult about what to do with found objects that may be meteorites: http://outreach.as.utexas.edu/public/meteorites.html
I have this insurance policy that I am trying to collect on. Who can help me with this?
As we are not a state agency, we do not have any information regarding your insurance policy or claim. We suggest reaching out directly to the company or agency involved in your situation.
I'm looking for a list of ranches in south Texas. Do you have that? How can I find that?
This is a very interesting question. First you would need to define what precisely you mean by ranches and South Texas (what size? what boundaries?), and then you would want to narrow by time period. Questions such as this may seem very simple to answer, but they involve interpretation of a range of different kinds of sources. The Handbook of Texas is a useful resource in undertaking a historical inquiry of this nature. Best of luck with your search!
There is a sick tree in my neighborhood. Who do I call?
Your best bet is to reach out to a certified local arborist, who can consult with you about this specific tree or property. The State of Texas Law Library has a useful guide to laws regulating trees in Texas.
The power is out in my neighborhood. Who should I contact?
We suggest you contact your local utility commission for further assistance with this matter.