Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Texas Land Records and Taxes

Have you used the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) site for land patents and related information?  If you have Texas ancestry it is important to know that the state of Texas also has a similar site for Texas land records, the Texas General Land Office (GLO).

Texas land records and tax records can be used together to discover where your ancestors were if they owned Texas land.

To view the interactive map you launch the GISWEB Viewer, which opens a new browser window or tab.

"The GISWEB, an interactive mapping application, provides access to vast collections of land and energy related data at the Texas General Land Office. The GISWEB display upland and submerged Original Texas Land Survey boundaries, Permanent School Fund land, upland and coastal leases, oil and gas well locations, and current imagery.

If you select Instructional videos it launches another viewer (which takes at least a few minutes to load so be patient), and eventually 19 minutes of short tutorials appear in the left-hand slide show directory.  I recommend spending some time getting acquainted with this. 

I knew that my 3rd great grandfather J. T. S. Warren (1825-1894) lived in the Douglassville area of Cass County, Texas:

I was unsuccessful in finding familiar names in the "Grantee" search for in Cass County, but using graphical search and the 1890 tax list for Cass County, Texas I had transcribed some years ago I found the general area.

Cass County, Texas Records of 1890
Gen 976.4195 N2 CAS (at Carlsbad Library, San Diego, CA)

Assessment of Property in Cass County Texas
Owned by Residents and Rendered for Taxation

Owner                           Abstract#     Cert#             Original Grantee      Acres     Value$
Warren, J. T. S., Sr            1071             574              M. Ward                 250        +
Warren, J. T. S.  Sr            1068             3344/3445    J. Walling                50        450

Warren, J. P.                     1071            571              M. Ward                 150       +
Warren, J. P.                       55             577              P. W. Birmingham    100       450/300*

Warren, Bill (c)                  258             546              Jno. Davis               50          75

Warren, Joe (c)****          1070            2089/2199     J. Wadkins              137       274

Warren, Pompy (c)            1077            516               E. Watson               60        120

(NOTE:  I'm not sure what the *, +stand for.  (c) is almost certainly "colored".)

M. Ward = Matthias Ward?? 
From this it appears that J. T. S. Warren probably lived south of Douglassville, along the modern Texas Highway 8, in the M. Ward and J. Walling areas (they were the original grantees).  Notice that J. P. Warren (a son of J. T. S.) also lived in the M. Ward area as well as the P. Birmingham area on the right.

I learned to use tax records in another way from genealogist Kelvin Meyers in his Ancestry Academy ($) lecture on "Texas: Researching the Lone Star State" using the abstract number that was on the tax record for each owner.

Using one of the abstract numbers in the 1890 tax list, I searched again.

This gives a more specific part of J. Walling's area where J. T. S. Warren was taxed.

****I'm almost certain this is Joseph Warren (1821-1891), a former slave and land owner and ancestor of  Darelene Warren Rothwell, who wrote the award-winning 2005 book "East Texas Biographies: A History of African-American Families and Slaveholders in Cass County, East Texas, from the Colonial Days and Slavery to the Twenty-first Century".  Darlene was the first person I talked to about Warrens in Cass County.  She was very encouraging and helpful, even though it turned out we had no common relations or ties (there were two totally separate Warren lines in Cass County, naturally LOL).  The book was a private short run publication and may only be available directly from Darelene for purchase if she still has extra copies, but you can also check on WorldCat for availability.

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.


  1. Christine,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2016/04/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-april-29.html

    Have a great weekend!

  2. Great post about land records in Texas. I'm going to investigate this, too. I have landowners but I doubt they were the original. However I've seen on tax records the original owners names listed so I can now map out the land just like you did!

    1. Thank you, Lisa. I'm so happy to be of help! :-)