The following important events affected political boundaries, record keeping, and family movements.
1682: Spaniards founded the first permanent settlement near present-day El Paso. Catholic missions soon followed in east Texas.
1821: Texas became part of the new nation of Mexico. Stephen F. Austin brought the first Anglo-American colonists to Texas. They settled the Austin Colony in south central Texas. Several other impresarios soon brought other colonists.
1836: Texas declared independence from Mexico after a military confrontation. Municipalities were soon organized into counties. The Republic of Texas existed until 1845.
1845: United States acquired Texas as the 28th state.
1846-1848: Mexico declared war on the United States in an effort to reclaim Texas and other territory claimed by both countries. Over 6,000 Texas citizens served in the Mexican-American War. Mexico gave up its claim to Texas.
1850: Texas relinquished its claims to Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, and Oklahoma.
1861-1865: Texas seceded from the Union during the Civil War. In 1870 it was readmitted to the Union.
1870s: Most Indians were removed to the Indian Territory in present-day eastern Oklahoma. Some escaped to Mexico.
1901: The oil boom attracted many new residents.
1987: The oil boom collapsed.
The Family History Library has many county and local histories of Texas. A good source for a general background is Frank W. Johnson, History of Texas and Texans, Five Volumes. (Chicago, Illinois: American Historical Society, 1914; FHL book 976.4 H2j; 1916 ed. is on film 1000592). Volumes 3-5 have biographical information.
Bibliographies of local histories include:
Jenkins, John Holmes. Cracker Barrel Chronicles: A Bibliography of Texas Town and County Histories. Austin, Texas: Pemberton Press, 1965. (FHL book 976.4 H2jc; film 1000609 item 2.)
Munnerlyn, Tom. Texas Local History: A Source Book for Available Town and County Histories, Local Memoirs and Genealogical Records. Austin, Texas: Eakin Press, 1983. (FHL book 976.4 H23m.)