Bell County, Texas Genealogy
Guide to Bell County Texas ancestry, family history, and genealogy research page. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.
|Bell County, Texas|
Location in the state of Texas
Location of Texas in the U.S.
|Founded||March 15, 1891|
|Address||Bell County Courthouse|
550 E 2nd Street PO Box 480
Belton, TX 76513
Bell County Website
- 1 County Information
- 2 Quick History
- 3 Places/Localities
- 4 Resources
- 4.1 African American
- 4.2 Cemeteries
- 4.3 Census
- 4.4 Church
- 4.5 Court
- 4.6 Land
- 4.7 Naturalization and Citizenship
- 4.8 Local Histories
- 4.9 Maps
- 4.10 Military
- 4.11 Newspapers
- 4.12 Probate
- 4.13 Taxation
- 4.14 Vital Records
- 5 Societies and Libraries
- 6 Websites
- 7 References
County Information[edit | edit source]
Description[edit | edit source]
The county was named for Peter Hansborough Bell, the third governor of Texas. The County is located in the central area of the state.
County Courthouse[edit | edit source]
County Clerk has birth and death records from 1903,
marriage, probate and land records from 1850,
military records and school census; Clerk District Court
has divorce records from 1850, court and naturalization
P.O. Box 480
P.O. Box 909
Bell County Website
Bell County, Texas Record Dates[edit | edit source]
Quick History[edit | edit source]
Settled, abandoned and resettled several times due to Indian troubles.
Parent County[edit | edit source]
The county was named for Peter H. Bell, (1812-1898). Peter Hansborough Bell, governor of Texas, was born on May 12, 1812, in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. He engaged in business in Petersburg until he left Virginia to fight for the independence of Texas.
Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]
Record Loss[edit | edit source]
1891--The treasurer's office of the Bell County Courthouse caught fire, March 15, 1891. Probably arson. No record loss. 
Places/Localities[edit | edit source]
Town/city records in the FamilySearch Catalog
Populated Places[edit | edit source]
For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit Hometown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:
‡This populated place also has portions in an adjacent county or counties
Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]
Resources[edit | edit source]
African American[edit | edit source]
- 1865-1970 Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records(images) - FamilySearch
- Texas African American Griots ~ USGenWeb
- AfriGeneas ~ African Ancestored Genealogy
Cemeteries[edit | edit source]
Cemetery records often reveal birth, marriage, death, relationship, military, and religious information.
|Tombstone Transcriptions Online||Tombstone Transcriptions in Print||List of Cemeteries in the county|
|FindAGrave||Family History Library||FindAGrave|
|TX Gravestones||WorldCat||Tombstone Project|
|Billion Graves (name)||Cemeteries of TX|
|USGW Archives||Texas Cemeteries|
|See Texas Cemeteries for more information.|
Census[edit | edit source]
|Source: - 1977 [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1803987 Texas County Marriage Index 1837-1977 - at FamilySearch.org — index|
- 1860 Bell County Census - USGenWeb Archives Project
- 1870 Bell County Census - USGenWeb Archives Project
- 1880 Bell County Census - USGenWeb Archives Project
Church[edit | edit source]
Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death/burial date and place. For general information about Texas denominations, view the Texas Church Records wiki page.
Court[edit | edit source]
Land[edit | edit source]
After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions, including deeds and mortgages, have been recorded by the county. You can obtain copies of these land records by writing to the county clerk at the county courthouse. For more information, see Texas Land and Property.
The FamilySearch Catalog lists microfilm copies of deeds, trust deeds, and mortgages of many counties.
Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]
- 1906-1989--Texas, Naturalization Records — index and images
Local Histories[edit | edit source]
Local histories are available for Bell County, Texas Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section Texas Local Histories.
- Bell County Bibliography - TXGenWeb
- Bell County Photographs - TXGenWeb
- Surnames - TXGenWeb
- Historical Timeline - Wikipedia
Maps[edit | edit source]
- Texas Land Survey Maps for Bell County, Texas Genealogy (land patent maps) at HistoryGeo.com ($). Free surname search.
- 1881- Belton Panoramic Map from the Amon Carter Museum.
- Bell County Maps
- Hometown Locator map
- Texas Counties Map. Click on the county to go to the Texas Genweb site
Military[edit | edit source]
- Military in Bell County - USGenWeb Archives Project
Mexican-American War[edit | edit source]
Civil War[edit | edit source]
- 1861-1865 - Texas, Civil War Service Records of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — index
- 1861-1865 - Texas, Civil War Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — index
- 1838-1900 Texas Muster Roll Index Cards at Ancestry.com — index and images $
- Bell County Rangers and Confederate Vet Muster List - USGenWeb Archives Project
- Confederate Pension Applications - USGenWeb Archives Project
- Confederate Indigent Families - USGenWeb Archives Project
World War I[edit | edit source]
Newspapers[edit | edit source]
Off-line Newspaper Information
Online Newspaper Abstracts
Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Bell County, Texas Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:
- TX Newspaper Abstracts (For instructions see WorldCat Online Catalog).
Probate[edit | edit source]
Probate records of Texas have been kept by the probate clerk in each county courthouse. You can obtain copies of the records from the clerk's office. In most counties, all information pertaining to a probate case is recorded in the "probate minutes."
Content: Probate Records may give the decedent's date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their places of residence.
Record types: Wills, estates, guardianships, naturalizations, marriage, adoption, and birth and death records.
See the Wiki page Texas Probate Records for information about how to use probate records.
Online Probate Records
- 1800 – 2000 Texas Wills and Probate Records 1800-2000 at Ancestry.com — index and images $
- 1800 – 1990 Texas Probate Records 1800-1990 at FamilySearch — images
Taxation[edit | edit source]
Texas tax records complement land records and can be used in place of censuses or to supplement the years between censuses. Because only persons who owned taxable property were listed, many residents were not included in tax lists. There may also be gaps of several years in the tax records of some counties. For more information, see the wiki page Texas Taxation.
1846-1910 Texas County Tax Rolls lists FHL films with county tax lists. The lists vary by county and year. Most records are between the years of 1846 - 1910.
Vital Records[edit | edit source]
Certified birth and death certificates or birth and death verifications can be ordered online or by mail at the Texas Vital Records State Department of Health. Copies can also be obtained from the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred and are often less expensive. You can also order them online through a third party company.
See Texas Vital Records for more information about Vital records in Texas.
Birth[edit | edit source]
Online Birth Indexes and Records
- 1840 - 1981 Texas Births and Christenings at FamilySearch.org — index
- 1903 - 1935 Texas, Birth Certificates (images and index) - FamilySearch
- 1903 - 1997 Texas Birth Index (index) - FamilySearch
Marriage[edit | edit source]
Online Marriage Indexes and Records
- 1802 - 2010 - Texas, United States Marriages at FindMyPast — index $
- 1814 - 1909 and 1966-2011 - Texas Marriage Collection at Ancestry.com — index $
- 1837 - 1965 - Texas, County Marriage Records, 1837-1965 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1837 - 1973 - Texas, Marriages, 1837-1973 at FamilySearch — index
- 1837 - 1977 - Texas, County Marriage Index, 1837-1977 at FamilySearch — index
- 1837 - 1977 - Texas Select County Marriage Index at Ancestry.com — index $
- 1966 - 2005 - Texas Marriage Records ~ Hidden Ancestors
- 1966 - 2010 - Texas, Marriages - FamilySearch record collection
Death[edit | edit source]
Online Death Indexes and Records
- 1890 - 1976 Texas Death Records [with images]
Name index and images of statewide death certificates, 1890-1976. The name index has been created by FamilySearch and is tied to images of the Texas death certificates. Few certificates are available prior to 1903
- 1903 - 1973 Texas Deaths and Burials (index) - FamilySearch
- 1903 - 1973 Texas Deaths and Burials at FamilySearch.org — index
- 1903 - 1982 Texas Death Certificates at Ancestry.com — index and images $
- 1903 - 2000 Texas, Death Index, 1903-2000 (index) - FamilySearch
- 1964 - 1998 Texas Death Index [no images] Name index to Texas Statewide Death Certificates or four million people who have died since 1964.
- 1977 - 1986 Texas Deaths at FamilySearch.org — index
Divorce[edit | edit source]
- 1968 - 2010 Texas Divorce Index at FamilySearch.org — index
- 1968 - 2011 Texas Divorces at Ancestry.com — index $
Societies and Libraries [edit | edit source]
East Bell County Genealogical Society
3219 Meadow Oaks Drive
c/o PO Box 75
Temple, TX 76503-0075
West Bell Genealogical Society
Killeen Public Library
205 East Church Street
Lena Armstrong Public Library (City of Belton)
301 E. 1st Avenue
Belton, Texas 76513 [ MAP ]
(254) 933-5831 fax
Harker Heights Public Library
400 Indian Trail
Harker Heights, TX 76548 [ MAP ]
Killeen Family History Library
(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)
1410 S 2nd St
Killeen, Bell, TX 76541 [ MAP ]
Killeen Public Library
205 E. Church Ave
Killeen, Texas 76541 [ MAP ]
Temple Public Library
100 West Adams Ave
Temple TX 76501 [ MAP ]
Circulation Desk: (254) 298-5556
Reference Desk: (254) 298-5702
Hubert M. Dawson Library
2600 South First Street
Temple, Texas 76504 [ MAP ]
or (800)460-4636 ext 8426 (Texas only)
University of Mary Hardin Baylor
Townsend Memorial Library
900 College St
Belton, TX 76513 [ MAP ]
(254) 295-4637 *
Societies[edit | edit source]
Bell County Historical Commission
PO Box 712
Belton TX 76513-0712
Office is in the restored Bell County Courthouse (Belton)
Central Texas Genealogical Society
West Waco Library and Genealogy Center
5301 Bosque Blvd Suite 275
Waco, Texas 76710 [ MAP ]
Bell County Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 1493
Temple, TX 76503-1493
Meeting Location: Temple Public Library (McLane Room)
Salado Historical Society
Salado Historical Society
PO Box 251
Salado, Texas, 76571
Sons of the American Revolution
Heart of Texas Chapter Heart of Texas Chapter
Sons of Confederate Veterans
Major Robert M. White Camp #1250
Location: Cotton Patch Cafe, Temple Mall
Family History Centers[edit | edit source]
Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes.
- For current information about a center near you, go to the Family History Center Map
Websites[edit | edit source]
- The Bell County TXGenWeb Project, a member of The TXGenWeb Project, an affiliate of The USGenWeb Project.
- The USGenWeb Archives Project for Bell County.
- The USGenWeb Archives Project for Bell County. (Backup site)
- FamilySearch.org FamilySearch Catalog for Bell County. The catalog is genealogical materials (including books, online materials, microfilm, microfiche, and publications) This catalog is different than the indexed Historical Records.
References[edit | edit source]
- Wikipedia contributors, "Bell County, Texas," in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_County,_Texas. accessed 07/25/2019
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Bell County, Texas. Page 659 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Bell County, Texas . Page 658-677 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 655-665.
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), [FHL book 973 D27e 2002].
- GenDisasters.com Belton, TX Courthouse Fire, Mar 1891 http://www3.gendisasters.com/texas/7346/belton-tx-courthouse-fire-mar-1891
- Wikipedia contributors, "Bell County, Texas," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_County,_Texas, accessed 26 March 2019.