Road Trip: The Galveston and Texas History Center (GTHC)

Its been a while since I’ve been on a genealogy road trip and it seems the only facility near Houston that has Galveston City Directories (from 1856 – to current) for me to continue my search for Lewis Chapple is the Rosenberg Library in Galveston. So Friday (9 August 2013), my genealogical journey took me to Galveston!

Map to the Rosenberg Library, Galveston, TX

My Map to the Rosenberg Library, Galveston, TX

The Rosenberg Library, named after the city’s prominent business leader and philanthropist, Henry Rosenberg, is a very nice facility! According to the library’s website, [1]

[t]he building itself was dedicated on June 22, 1904, . . .[and as] successor to the Galveston Mercantile Library, which was founded in 1871, Rosenberg Library is the oldest public library in Texas in continuous operation.”

Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Texas

Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Texas. Photo Credit: Rosenberg Library

As soon as I arrived, I was directed to the Galveston and Texas History Center (GTHC) located on the 4th floor of the Moody Memorial Wing.

The Galveston and Texas History Center

The Galveston and Texas History Center, Rosenberg Library. Photo Credit: Rosenberg Library

This center – [2]

preserves and organizes archival materials that document the history of Galveston and Texas, focusing on Galveston from the city’s incorporation in 1839 through the present. The collection also relates to Texas from the Spanish period to the end of the Civil War.”

After signing the guestbook, Archivist Carol Wood gave me a brief overview of the center and helped me locate the city directories that I needed. Because so much of what is archived in this center is unique and fragile, before I could use any of the machines and materials, I had to agree in writing to the guidelines and regulations of the center. A list of the GTHC’s guidelines for patron behavior are online at – http://www.gthcenter.org/regulations.htm.  Once my purse and the steno tablet I brought with me were stored away in a locker, Ms. Wood provided pencils and note paper for me to jot down notes as I perused Galveston City Directories in search for Lewis Chappel!

So what are some of the resources available to genealogists at the Rosenberg Library and Galveston and Texas History Center (GTHC)? LOTS! Here’s a quick sampling of what’s you’ll find and more below:

  • Census Records
  • Tax Records
  • Birth Records
  • Death Records
  • Marriage Records
  • School Records
  • Funeral Home Records
  • Cemetery Records
  • Passenger Lists
  • City Directories
  • Church /Temple Records
  • Newspapers

You can view their Special Collections online

To learn more about the various resources available at this facility, feel free to download the handout I received when I visited the center:
Genealogical Research Materials at the Rosenberg Library and GTHC

If you are unable to visit the Rosenberg Library and the GTHC in person, limited reference service is provided for a fee. Visit this link – http://www.gthcenter.org/research.htm – for more information regarding research requests.

So was my road trip a success? Did I learn any new information to assist with my search for Lewis Chappel?

Most definitely! The Galveston City Directories were enlightening, but I believe searching the library’s newspaper databases provided me with the most interesting information regarding my great-grandparents’ relationship during the mid to late 1900’s. I sure hated to leave this library – LOL! Lucky for me, I learned that their library cards are also free to residents of the State of Texas . . . woo-hoo! So with my new Rosenberg Library card, I’ve been able to pick up where I left off at their facility in the comforts of my home and I cannot wait to share my findings with you!

So stay tuned for there’s more to come in my search for Lewis Chappel!

Source Citation:

1. Library History. (n.d.). Rosenberg Library. Retrieved August 10, 2013, from http://www.rosenberg-library.org/information/about.html

2. Rosenberg Library – The Galveston and Texas History Center. (n.d.). Rosenberg Library – the Cornerstone. Retrieved August 10, 2013, from http://www.rosenberg-library.org/information/discover/gthc/gthc.html