Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research

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Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research - Houston Public Library
Clayton House Houston's Genealogy Library.jpg

Contact Information[edit | edit source]



Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research
5300 Caroline St.
Houston, TX 77004-6896

Telephone:[1] 832-393-2600

Hours:[1] UPDATE: 31 OCT 2020 - Due to the pandemic, the Clayton Library is currently closed. For information or research help please call the Library at 832-393-2600 or email

Directions, map, and public transportation:

Internet sites and databases:

Collection Description[edit | edit source]

This branch of the Houston Public Library has one of America's best genealogical collections. With an emphasis on the Gulf Coast region, the library also has an international collection and material for all fifty U.S. states. Collections include Texas and Houston-area death records including funeral home records, censuses, passenger arrival lists, manuscripts, international resources for Europe, Canada, and Mexico, military records, family histories, genealogical periodicals, maps, and family history vertical files. Clayton Library is an Affiliate Library of the Family History Library Affiliate Program.[3] Their special collections includes 25 major genealogical collections, such as the Barbour, Blake, Draper Manuscripts, and Vosburgh collections, Loredo TX Archives 1749-1872, and Nacagdoches TX Archives 1733-1836.[4]

To search Clayton Library's holdings, check the Houston Public Library Catalog for printed books, the Clayton Library Microprint Database for microprint holdings, and the Clayton Library Periodical Database for periodical holdings.

Family Histories

Clayton Library has one of the most extensive collections of published and unpublished family histories in the southern United States. The collection contains over 15,000 cataloged volumes and extensive vertical file materials. To search for cataloged books in Clayton Library's Family History collection, check the Houston Public Library Catalog. For best results, search for your surname as a subject heading phrase (example: "Watkins Family") in the Keyword Search window. A small portion of Clayton Library’s family histories can be found digitized at

Houston and Texas Area Death Records

Clayton Library contains an impressive collection of records for deaths in Texas and the Houston area. First, Clayton Library houses the original records of two Houston funeral homes: the Fogle West Funeral Home (or Fogle West Undertaking Company -- 1921 through 1975), and the Boulevard Funeral Home (or Boulevard Undertaking Company -- 1961 through 1967). Second, Clayton's book collection contains transcripts of City of Houston death certificates from 1874-1894, 1896, and January through August 1900. Third, Clayton Library's microprint collection contains the Harris County register of deaths, volume 1, 1903-1909. These deaths in the City of Houston or Harris County are not included in the statewide collection of Texas death records and index that are available through the State Vital Records Office in Austin, or in the databases of Ancestry and FamilySearch.

Clayton Library has created a searchable index to the Fogle West and Boulevard Funeral Home records database which can be searched here: Clayton Library's Death Records Database.

Texas Book Indexes Database

Clayton Library volunteers have indexed books located in the Clayton Library collection that do not contain an index in the book itself. These books are local history materials relating to Harris County and surrounding counties. A searchable database to these indexes can be found here: Harris and surrounding counties book index search.

Special Collections

These materials are generally manuscript documents from other library or archival collections that have been microfilmed and made available for research. This material normally covers 15th, 16th, and early 17th century time periods. For more information about these collections please visit the Clayton Library Special Collections page.


A variety of records are available on microfilm and microfiche, including census records, military records, vital records, and county records. Many of these records have been made available digitally, but many of the microfilms in Clayton Library’s collection have not been digitized or made available online. To search microprint materials please search the Clayton Library Microprint Database. Try searching by location and type of record such as “Texas” and “vital” if looking for birth, marriage or death records in the state of Texas.


The periodical collection covers most U.S states, many foreign countries, and many surnames. Clayton Library has over 3,000 genealogy and local history periodical titles. The material published in periodicals can be unique and is not often found in other publications; it can also help break down a brick wall in your research. Many of these periodicals are indexed in the Periodical Source Index (PERSI), which is available online through the website Findmypast. To determine Clayton Library's holdings of a specific periodical title please search Clayton Library's Periodical Database.

Tips[edit | edit source]

  • Bring a sweater because it is often chilly.
  • Free parking is available for users of the library.
  • Lockers are available for a quarter which will be returned when you return the key.
  • Bring a flash drive to save book and document scans, as well as documents from internet research. Bring small change to make photocopies.
  • Free Wi-Fi is available and you are welcome to bring in your laptop and connect to the Internet.
  • Public computers are available with a Houston Public Library MY Link card or with a temporary pass issued by staff.[1]

Alternate Repositories[edit | edit source]

If you cannot visit or find a source at the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, a similar source may be available at one of the following.

Overlapping Collections

  • National Archives at Fort Worth letters, photos, maps, settlement history, American Indians, the Civil War, slavery, Chinese exclusion, repatriation, segregation, and World Wars I and II.
  • Dallas Public Central Library 111,700 volumes, 64,500 microfilms, 89,000 microfiche, and over 700 maps, marriage, probate, deed, and tax abstracts in book form, or microfilm of originals for some states, and online databases. Outstanding for the South, Mid-Atlantic, and New England.

Similar Collections

  • Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, holds 450 computers, 3,400 databases, 3.1 million microforms, 4,500 periodicals, 310,000 books of worldwide family and local histories, civil, church, immigration, ethnic, military, and records of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana, premier periodical collection, genealogies, local histories, databases, military, censuses, directories, passenger lists, ethnic collections, and Canadians.
  • Mid-Continent Public Library Midwest Genealogy Center, Independence, MO, national censuses/indexes, 80,000 family histories, 100,000 local histories, 565,000 microfilms, 7,000 maps, and newspapers.
  • National Archives I, Washington DC, census, pre-WWI military service and pensions, passenger lists, naturalizations, passports, federal bounty land, homesteads, bankruptcy, ethnic sources, prisons.

Neighboring Collections

Sources[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 About the Library at Clayton Library Center for Genealogy Research (accessed 26 October 2013).