Genealogy Research in San Augustine, Texas

For early Texas research, the San Augustine, Texas–both city and county–are probably important stops for many genealogists. Depending upon who you talk to, it is the oldest or second oldest European settlement in Texas, and is rich in early Texas history. It sits on the the El Camino Real trail near Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacagdoches, Texas–which is also either the first or second oldest European settlement in Texas. From a historical, but not genealogical perspective, the Caddo Mounds State Historical Site and Mission Tejas State Park are both nearby and provide important historical understanding for early Texas family history research.

For research in this area, plan on at least four stops:

San Augustine, Texas

The County Clerk’s Office is located in an annex about 1/4 mile north of the County Courthouse, which is the center of a beautiful historic square. The Annex is one of the easiest-to-use clerk’s offices I have seen, with lots of spece and tables. I was able to walk in, find a probate index, find the probate record I was after, take the book to the clerk’s desk for copies and leave in under 20 minutes. The documents in this clerk’s offices, like most if not all in Texas, houses copies of early deeds and land records. I have been told that the originals are housed in the archives at Stephen F. Austin State University, but have not verified this yet.

The San Augustine Library is about 1/4 mile east of the County Courthouse and has a dedicated genealogy section of about 1,000 square feet. The most useful section are vertical files of research done by a local genealogist and donated to the library. While not a primary record, these files can point you to a host of primary records to help you in your research. If you are working in this area, make sure to ask about the vertical files. The library also has film of local newspapers that can be quite helpful.

Nacogdoches, Texas

The main stop in Nacogdoches is the archive at Stephen F. Austin State University. It houses many early Texas documents.

Caddo Mounds State Historical Site

The Caddo Mounds are three pre-Columbian ceremonial mounds from a settlement of several hundred inhabitants that dates from 800 to 1300. It is on the trail that was later named the El Camino Royale and clearly traded with other settlements hundreds of miles away, probably including Cahokia in Illinois. If in the area, you should plan to stop at the site for one to two hours.

Mission Tejas State Park

If you are camping, the Mission Tejas State Park is about an hour’s drive from San Augustine and is has very small and heavily forested campground with access to a segment of the El Camino Real trail. It also houses a historic cabin that gives one a good view of early Texas life.

Map of San Augustine County Family History Sites

San Augustine, Texas is the county seat of San Augustine County. The library and County Clerk's office are the primary family history research locations in the town.

Map of Nacogdoches County Family History Sites

Nacogdoches, Texas is the county seat of Nacogdoches County. The city is either the oldest or second oldest in Texas--a title that is disputed with San Augustine, Texas in the adjacent San Augustine County.

Map of El Camino Royale Sites

The El Camino Royale trail in Texas was originally used by the peoples of the First Nations, and later by the Spanish Colonial and Republic of Texas settlers.

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