Wise County, Texas Genealogy

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Guide to Wise County Texas ancestry, family history, and genealogy research page. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

Wise County, Texas
Map of Texas highlighting Wise County
Location in the state of Texas, United States Genealogy
Map of the U.S. highlighting Texas
Location of Texas in the U.S.
Founded 23 January, 1856
County Seat Decatur
Address Wise County Courthouse
200 North Trinity Street
PO Box 359
Decatur, Texas 76234-0359
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for a Virginia Congressman Henry A. Wise, who had supported annexation of Texas by the United States. He was elected governor of Virginia in 1856. The County is located in the north-central area of the state.[1]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Wise County Courthouse
200 North Trinity Street PO Box 359
Decatur, Texas 76234-0359
Phone: 940.627.3351 

County Clerk has birth and death records
from 1903, marriage records from 1881,
probate records from 1882, land records
from 1852 and court records[2]

County Clerk

P.O. Box 359
Decatur 76234
Phone: 940-627-3351
Fax: 940-627-2138

District Clerk

P.O. Box 308
Decatur 76234
Phone: 940-627-5535

Wise County, Texas Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[3]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1903 1881 1903 1882 1852 1882 1829
*Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1903.
General compliance by the 1930s.

History[edit | edit source]

1855 The first white settler arrived in 1854 and the first public school opened in 1855.

1860s Just northwest of Fort Worth and Dallas, in the 1860s, "Wise County had more Indian attacks & kidnappings than any other county in Texas".

1880s In the early days of Wise County there were very large cattle ranches and homestead farms. Starting in the 1880s, coal was mined near the town of Bridgeport. Later limestone rock crushers and gas production became important.

Parent County[edit | edit source]

1856--Wise County was created 23 January 1856 from Cooke County.
County seat: Decatur [4]

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

1881, 1895--Courthouse and many county records were destroyed by fire.

Places / Localities[edit | edit source]

Town/city records in the FamilySearch Catalog

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit Hometown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[5]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places
Ghost towns

‡This populated place also has portions in an adjacent county or counties

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Cooke  • Denton  • Jack  • Montague  • Parker  • Tarrant

Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemetery records often reveal birth, marriage, death, relationship, military, and religious information.

Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county
FindAGrave Family History Library FindAGrave
Linkpendium WorldCat Tombstone Project
BillionGraves (name) Cemeteries of TX
GenWeb Archives Texas Cemeteries
BillionGraves TX Gravestones
TXGenWeb Epodunk
Names in Stone FamilySearch Places
See Texas Cemeteries for more information.

Additional Cemetery Sources

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 3,160
1870 1,450 −54.1%
1880 16,601 1044.9%
1890 24,134 45.4%
1900 27,116 12.4%
1910 26,450 −2.5%
1920 23,363 −11.7%
1930 19,178 −17.9%
1940 19,074 −0.5%
1950 16,141 −15.4%
1960 17,012 5.4%
1970 19,687 15.7%
1980 26,575 35.0%
1990 34,679 30.5%
2000 48,793 40.7%
2010 59,127 21.2%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

Church[edit | edit source]

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death/burial date and place. For general information about Texas denominations, view the Texas Church Records wiki page.

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court[edit | edit source]

Land[edit | edit source]

After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions, including deeds and mortgages, have been recorded by the county. You can obtain copies of these land records by writing to the county clerk at the county courthouse. For more information, see Texas Land and Property.

The FamilySearch Catalog lists microfilm copies of deeds, trust deeds, and mortgages of many counties.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Wise County, Texas Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section Texas Local Histories.

Maps[edit | edit source]

Montague CountyCooke CountyDenton CountyTarrant CountyParker CountyJack CountyTX WISE.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Military[edit | edit source]

Mexican-American War[edit | edit source]
Civil War[edit | edit source]
World War I[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Wise County, Texas Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:

TX Newspaper Abstracts (For instructions see WorldCat Online Catalog).

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

1960-1989 (most 1970s)
Obituaries From Local Papers
4,160 Newspaper clippings online

1910-1975 (only a few in older years)
Whole Newspaper Pages -The Bridgeport Index
Most years have names indexes

Obituaries From The Bridgeport Index
7,106 Newspaper clippings online

Obituary Text From The Wise County Messenger
5,197 Obituaries with complete text

The Wise County Messenger
Link;Decatur paper obituaries

The Bridgeport Index
Link - Bridgeport paper obituaries

Probate[edit | edit source]

Probate records of Texas, United States Genealogy have been kept by the probate clerk in each county courthouse. You can obtain copies of the records from the clerk's office. In most counties, all information pertaining to a probate case is recorded in the "probate minutes."

Content: Probate Records may give the decedent's date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their places of residence.

Record types: Wills, estates, guardianships, naturalizations, marriage, adoption, and birth and death records.

See the Wiki page Texas Probate Records for information about how to use probate records.

Online Probate Indexes and Records

Schools[edit | edit source]

Taxation[edit | edit source]

Texas tax records complement land records and can be used in place of censuses or to supplement the years between censuses. Because only persons who owned taxable property were listed, many residents were not included in tax lists. There may also be gaps of several years in the tax records of some counties. For more information, see the wiki page Texas Taxation.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents.

Certified birth and death certificates or birth and death verifications can be ordered online or by mail at the Texas Vital Records State Department of Health. Copies can also be obtained from the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred and are often less expensive.

Marriages records can be obtained from the county the marriage occurred. Only marriage verifications can be obtained from the Texas Vital Records State Department of Health.

See Texas Vital Records for more information about Vital records in Texas.

Birth[edit | edit source]

Online Birth Indexes and Records '

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Online Marriage Indexes and Records

Death[edit | edit source]

Online Death Indexes and Records

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Societies and Libraries[edit | edit source]

Wise County Heritage Museum
1602 S Trinity St
Decatur, TX 76234
Telephone Number: 940-627-5586

Bridgeport Historical Museum
812b Halsell Street
Bridgeport, Texas

Family History Centers
[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Wise, Texas" in "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wise_County,_Texas. accessed 11/27/2019
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Wise County, Texas. Page 676 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Wise County, Texas . Page 658-677 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 655-665.
  4. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Wise County, Texas," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wise_County,_Texas, Last accessed 30 August 2019.