Living Archives

Living Archives

County Clerk’s database contains a trove of historical treasures

When most people think of the County Clerk’s online database, scanned land records, and business filings take top billing. A mortgage here, a deed of trust there – tens of thousands of digital images available with the click of a mouse.

But Stacey Kemp’s folks have also logged some historical gems in this massive and ever-expanding collection of public records. The County Clerk's office was created in 1857, making it the repository of a wealth of historical and genealogical information. While the Clerk has plans to eventually digitize all the records in her care -- past and distant past – the database is already yielding some genealogical gems worth noting.

Since Collin McKinney gets a double namesake for the city of McKinney and the County of Collin, we recently logged on and searched the McKinney surname in vital records from 1857 to 1877, which yielded 22 marriage licenses and two birth certificates. While just one or two images of the actual documents have been posted so far (we’re working backwards through time on this project), it provided a quick and easy road map to start documenting the McKinney family in this neck of the woods.

That’s just the beginning of a much broader program currently underway.

A quick, basic tutorial on how to search: Go to the County Clerk’s webpage and select “Deed Search” at the bottom of the page. Make sure any Pop-Up blockers are turned off temporarily, since the search page and results come up in new windows. Fill in the name you are searching (sometimes it best to use just a first initial), put in a date range to narrow down results, click the “Vital” box on the right for marriages and births – or the “General” box for land records – and hit “Search.”

Meanwhile, the County Clerk still keeps “hard copy” versions of these and other historical documents. For example, some books in the archives include:

  • Deed (Land) Records 1846–1991
  • Marks & Brands 1869-1980
  • Marriage Record Books 1846-1976
  • Marriage Licenses returned to county as non-deliverable
  • School Census Records for various Collin County school districts 1940's-1960's
  • Tax Rolls 1965-1991
  • Other original pre-1980 record books

For more information on how to research and access these documents, please check these questions and procedures to help make your research go smoother.



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