One of the earliest tasks faced by Sam Houston, the first President of the Republic of Texas, was gathering land records for the newly formed nation. By act of the first Texas Congress, President Houston created the Texas General Land Office and directed its first commissioner, John Borden, to travel the countryside collecting every document related to Texas land. From old Spanish land grants to Stephen F. Austin’s field notes, Commissioner Borden’s acquisitions became the Archives of the Texas General Land Office.
Home to more than 35 million documents, some dating back to 1720, the present-day Texas General Land Office Archives continue to serve as the state repository for the history of Texas land. Records of land grants, sales and surveys form the legal foundation to virtually all private Texas land titles. Still used daily for research, the fragile documents are now housed at the Land Office headquarters in Austin in sophisticated temperature and access-controlled vaults.
Because of the exceptional historical value of these records, Commissioner Jerry Patterson has made preservation and access to this vast collection a top priority.
The Texas General Land Office Save Texas History™ program is a statewide initiative to rally public support and private funding for the preservation and promotion of these historic maps and documents. With the twin goals of preservation and education, the Save Texas History program seeks to conserve these documents for future generations, and educate Texans about the rich heritage found in these vital records.
The Archives of the Texas General Land Office serve as a home for the history of Texas land and is a premiere resource for historical research, including genealogy, land grant surveys, student projects, and much more. Learn more at the Archives website
Maps, sketches and letters contained in the Archives are more than just functional - they are hand-drawn works of art.
- Original Spanish and Mexican land grants
- Documents dating back to 1720 establishing Mission San Jose
- The first draft of the Texas Constitution
- Rare copies of 1836 muster rolls and military records of Texas heroes
- Confederate documents, including Scrip certificates, letters and diaries
- Letters from Alamo and Goliad defenders, including most well-known Alamo survivor, Susanna Dickinson
- Original signatures of Texas patriots such as Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston, Jim Bowie, and William Travis