Vital Records


Resources for finding the dates and information you need

Government Links

Includes Fayette County Clerk's website


Links to cemetery listings and photographs of grave markers


Current Newspapers, locating old copies

Funeral Homes

Miscellaneous Sources


Birth Records

Birth Certificates

After 1903 births were required to be recorded by the counties. However, many births were not recorded in the early years. To order birth certificates after 1903, see Department of Health - Vital Records or Fayette County Clerk.

The Fayette Archives of the USGenWeb Archives Project contain online indexes of birth records for each year from 1926 through 1934. The records include the father's name and mother's maiden name.

Church Registers

Church records are an excellent resource for determining dates of birth, death and marriage. Dates of birth can be estimated based on dates of baptism, and death dates are usually given in burial records.

Early church records, if they survived through the ages, are generally found at the local church or at the denominational archives.

Lola Pagel's baptism certificate from Trintiy Ev. Lutheran Church at Frelsburg. Click for enlarged view.
In addition, several local archives have photocopies or microfilm of the early records of select churches:
Fayette Heritage Museum & Archives in La Grange:
  • Bethlehem Lutheran Church at Round Top

Nesbitt Memorial Library in Columbus:

  • St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church at Ross Prairie (now Ellinger)
  • Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church at Frelsburg in Colorado County (contains many Willow Springs area baptism, marriage, and death records)

Texas Wendish Heritage Museum at Serbin:

  • St. Paul Lutheran Church at Serbin in Lee County (contains Warda and some Swiss Alp baptisms), from 1854
  • Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church at Freyburg and Engel, from 1869
  • Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church at Black Jack Springs, from 1875
  • Philadelphia Evangelical Lutheran Church at East Navidad and Swiss Alp, from 1867
  • Cistern Evangelical Lutheran Church, from 1889
  • Holy Cross Lutheran Church at Warda, from 1873
  • Zion Lutheran Church at La Grange, from 1928
  • Trinity Hill Lutheran Church at La Grange, from 1892
  • Mt. Calvary Zion Lutheran Church at La Grange, from 1962
  • St. Michael's Ev. Lutheran Church at Winchester, from 1888
  • Waldeck Lutheran Church and Her People, 90th Anniversary, published in October 1989, transcribed records
  • Martin Luther Lutheran Church at Carmine, May 19, 1902-1977, transcribed records
  • Czech Footprints Across the Bluebonnet Fields of Texas, Czecho-Moravian Brethren Church at Fayetteville and Ross Prairie, transcribed records of Rev. Jindrich Juren from 1875-1900, privately printed by Albert J. Blaha, Sr. and Edmond H. Hejl 1 Sep 1982

Check here for Fayette County church records available online.


Naturalization Records

Naturalization records frequently contain the petitioner's exact date of birth, sometimes just the year, but at least their age. An immigrant could apply for naturalization at any state supreme, superior, district, or circuit court, or at any federal circuit or district court. Contact the Fayette County Clerk for naturalization records. The index is in the district clerk's office, not the county clerk's office.

Katie Janda has offered to do lookups in the index for Fayette County naturalization records. Please Include the name (with expected spelling variations) and possible dates in your request.


Military and Veteran Records

Military and Pension records are a possible source of birth and death information. For more information see the military page. Discharge records are on file in the County Clerk's office.


Bible Records

Bible records are considered a valuable, credible genealogical resource. There are two reasons for this. First, the records are usually recorded at the time of the event. That means that the accuracy of the recording, whether it is a date or name or a place, is not faded by memory. Second, the person doing the recording is usually someone to whom the event is important and therefore is more apt to be accurate, as in the case of a mother recording the birth or death of her child.

The information kept in bible records varies according to the custom of the family keeping them, but often includes birth, death, and marriage dates.

See a transcript of the Marburger Family Bible

See records found in the McCuistion Family Bible

Census Records

Texas became the 28th state in 1845. The first Federal Census for Texas was taken in 1850. Census records are available for each decade (except for 1890 where the majority of records were destroyed).

Starting in 1850, the Federal Census recorded the name and gender of each family member, as well as the year and place (state or country) of their birth. Starting in 1880, the birthplace of each individual's parents was recorded. The 1900 Census provide both the month and year of birth.

From 1850 to the present, the marital status of each person is listed. This helps to narrow down dates of marriage. Beginning in 1900, the census notes the number of years of the present marriage.

Check the1850 and 1860 census images online at this site.

Check the 1870 census index online at this site.

The 1880 census images and an index are online without charge at the LDS website.

The Fayette Heritage Museum & Archives has census microfilm for Fayette and surrounding counties.

The Texas State Library and Archives has census microfilm, indexes and soundex microfilm for the entire state. These records are not online.

The National Archives and Records Administration has its census microfilm catalogs on-line. Their worldwide web page has a section tailored specifically for the genealogist. NARA also has a very reasonable microfilm rental program where genealogists may rent films through the mail and view them at their local libraries for a period of time. Contact the reference librarian at your local library for more information about that program.


Marriage Records

Early marriage records usually contained the name of the couple, witnesses, and the person who performed the ceremony. However, the format and information provided on the license depends on the date. Marriages are not necessarily performed in the county in which the license is obtained.

Texas Marriage Records, 1837-1973

Searchable, though incomplete, database at Family Search web site

The staff of the Fayette Heritage Museum & Archives will do lookups in their index of marriage records from 1838 to 1995.

Check the Online Index of Fayette County Marriages from 1966 through 2001, alphabetized by bride or by groom.

The Fayette Archives of the USGenWeb Archives Project contain yearly indexes of marriage records from 1966 through 2002, as well as a few very early marriage records.

The Texas State Library and Archives also has indexes of marriage records. They are not online.

For the actual marriage certificate, contact the Fayette County Clerk.


Divorce Records

Divorce records from the mid-nineteenth century can be found in the District clerk's office.

Check the Online Index of Fayette County Divorces from 1966 through 2001. This index includes date of marriage, number of minor children, and age at time of divorce.

The Fayette Archives of the USGenWeb Archives Project contain indexes of divorce records from 1968 through 2001.

The Texas State Library and Archives has indexes of divorce records. These are not online.


Death Records

Death Certificates

Beginning in 1903 deaths were required to be reported by the County to the State. However, this requirement was not enforced very well the first few years.

Modern death certificates contain:

Images of Texas death certificates through 1979 are now online at the Family Search web site. Access is free, though you do have to register to see the images. An index of Texas deaths through 2000 is also available at Family Search.

For official copies of death certificates after 1903, write to the County Clerk or Department of Health - Vital Records. Include name at death and as much of the following information as possible: Date of Death, City and County of Death.

1964 - 2009 Social Security Death Index
Search engine af SSDI from 1964 - 2005, includes birth date, and place last resided, at Family Search website

Check the Rootsweb Online Index for Texas Deaths from 1964 through 1998.

The Fayette Archives of the USGenWeb Archives Project contain online indexes of death records from 1964 through 1984.

The Texas State Library and Archives has indexes for death certificates by year. These are not online.

Grave Markers


Locating the cemetery where your ancestor was buried is an easy process in Fayette County if there is still a grave marker. Keep in mind that in older cemeteries, the stones may be broken or worn away by the weather.

The Fayette Heritage Museum & Archives has a very extensive database of burials in the county. You do not need the name of the cemetery to ask for a lookup. Quite a few Fayette County cemetery listings are online at this Fayette County TXGenWeb Project site.

Wills and Intestate Records - Probate

Obviously, wills and the many records generated during disposition of an estate, often point to a date of death. But you will also find key information within wills such as family relationships, birth order, which children are minors at the time, and the married names of daughters.

Probate records are available from the Fayette County Clerk.

When a person dies leaving an estate, the county government is responsible for seeing that it is distributed according to law. How that is done depends on whether or not the deceased left a will. If the deceased leaves a will, it will be recorded and filed with the local court This process is called probate. The executor named in the will is charged with carrying out the distribution of the estate under the supervision of the court.

If, on the other hand, the deceased dies without leaving a will, then he or she has died intestate, and the government must appoint an administrator to distribute the estate according the law. In either case, several types of records are generated through the court and may be of interest to the genealogist.

See transcript of Jonathan Blair's will written January 11, 1842 and Filed in Fayette County

See transcript of John Murchison's will written April 28, 1849 and Filed in Fayette County

See examples of what you might find in probate records in a timeline of John Murchison's Probate Records from 1850



Obituaries are good places to find vital statistic information and to uncover family relationships. Modern day obituaries are usually submitted to local newspapers, or newspapers covering the general area where a person spent a significant part of their life, by the funeral director handling the funeral and burial. The information is collected by them from the family member arranging the funeral.

Of course, the key information in an obituary are the name of the deceased, their death date and place, often their spouse's name, frequently their birth date and place, and commonly their place of burial.

A second bit of key data obtained from obituaries is the place of residence of surviving family members, and, in the case of women, their married names. Third, you can find the name of the cemetery a person is buried in from his or her obituary. This can often lead to the discovery of unknown family members who were buried in the same lot.

Because much of the information in obituaries is reported secondhand, you should always try to corroborate it with other sources.

There are hundreds of obituaries for people who either lived in Fayette County or were buried here online at this website.

There are over 4,000 obituaries of Central Texans with Czech roots at the Pavlicek, Lastovica, and Zaruba Families web site. These include many people from Fayette County and some German surnames.

Some recent local obituaries can be found on the Koenig & Strickland Funeral Home web site.


Social Security Death Indexes

The Online Social Security Death Index at the LDS website can be used to find a birth date and at least the month and year of death and a probable location.

These indexes contain the following:

Mortuary Records

Funeral home and mortuary records often contain at least the date of burial, but often the date of death, age at death, and family relationships. These records are kept at the funeral home, and frequently pass to the descendants when a funeral home ceases business. If the business is sold to another owner, the records are usually passed on to the new owners.

Click here for a list of Fayette County funeral homes.

Also see church registers above.

Miscellaneous Sources

Victims of the 1867 Yellow Fever Epidemic in La Grange

Miscellaneous Early Death Records
Deaths reported by local Masonic Lodges for Masonic Years 1859-1870

Indexes to all Fayette County Records containing the Brown surname
Deeds 1838-1900, Birth Records 1885-1986, Marriage Records 1840-1961, Death Records 1904-1987, Estate Records 1800-1984, Guardianship Records, contributed by Karen Monsen


Thanks for much of this information go to former Fayette County TXGenWeb Coordinator, Carin Bentley.
Please notify Rox Ann Johnson to report a bad link or to suggest a new link.