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Guide to Van Zandt County Texas ancestry, family history, and genealogy research page. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

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County Courthouse

Van Zandt County Courthouse
121 East Dallas Street Room 202
Canton, TX 75103
Phone: 903.567.6503 
Phone: 903-567-7555
Fax: 903-567-6722

County Clerk has birth and death records 1903,
marriage, land, probate and court records from
1848 and military discharge records from 1918;
District Clerk has divorce records from 1848[1]


Sabine Lake (also known as Jordan's Saline) served as the Van Zandt County's first county seat from 1848-1850. The first courthouse was a crude log building. In 1850 the county seat was moved to Canton, where it has remained. Courthouses were built in Canton in 1850 and 1857. In 1896 a three-story courthouse with a bell tower was built. The current courthouse opened in 1939.

Van Zandt County Government website



Cherokees occupied the area under a grant from Mexico in 1822 and were removed in 1839. The first post office, grist mill and saw mill were set up in 1845. During the Civil War the county was popularly known as the "Free State of Van Zandt."

Parent County

1848--Van Zandt County was created 20 March 1848 from Henderson County. County seat: Canton [2]

Boundary Changes

1850 -- Wood county was created out of Van Zandt County.

Record Loss

Places / Localities

Town/city records in the FamilySearch Catalog

Populated Places

Ben Wheeler | Canton | Edgewood | Edom | Fruitvale | Grand Saline | Martin's Mill | Van | Wills Point

Neighboring Counties

Henderson  • Hunt  • Kaufman  • Rains  • Smith  • Wood

Van Zandt CountyHenderson CountyKaufman CountyHunt CountyRains CountyWood CountySmith CountyTX VAN ZANDT.JPG
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Cemetery records often reveal birth, marriage, death, relationship, military, and religious information.

Online Grave Transcripts Published Grave Transcripts County Cemetery Directories

Family History Library


Names in Stone


Billion Graves

Billion Graves


Cemeteries of Texas

Names in Stone

See Texas Cemeteries for more information.
Additional Cemetery Sources



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.


  • Divorce Records of Van Zandt County, 1848-1920 ~ Van Zandt County Genealogical Society
  • Van Zandt Co. Court Minutes, Vol. A & B 1848-1871 ~ Elvis Allen
  • "Desperate Characters of Van Zandt County" ~ Cheryl Vaughan
  • Reconstruction Records of Van Zandt County, 1867-1874: Voters Registration List 1867-1869, Occupation Taxes 1867-1874 & Poll Taxes for 1872


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.

Local Histories

Local histories are available for Van Zandt 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.

  • Some History of Van Zandt County, 1919; reprinted, 1977, by Wentworth Manning. Digital book online from the Portal to Texas History.
  • A History of Van Zandt County, 1976 by Margaret Elizabeth Hall.
  • History of Van Zandt County, 1950, by William Samuel Mills.
  • History of Van Zandt County, 1984, by the Van Zandt County History Book Committee.
  • Historical Places in Van Zandt County Many Van Zandt County historical sites and research helps on Bobby Pearce's "Field Guide to Historical Sites in Van Zandt County".
  • Van Zandt County History from the Handbook of Texas Online.
  • Van Zandt County Histories and Biographies, Vol. I ~ Van Zandt County Genealogical Society
  • Van Zandt County Histories and Biographies, Vol. II ~ Van Zandt County Genealogical Society
  • "Daddy Said" ~ Elvis Allen





Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Van Zandt County, Texas Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:


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.



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.

Texas County Tax Rolls, 1846-1910 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

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. United States Vital Records has additional research guidance on researching and using vital records. See Texas Vital Records for more information about Vital records in Texas or How to order Texas Vital Records

A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Texas Vital Records State Department of Health, the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred, ordered electronically online or download an application for Texas Birth and Death Certificate, Marriage or Divorce Verification Application to mail.


Online Birth Indexes and Records

Original Birth Records on Microfilm


Online Marriage Indexes and Records Original Marriage Records on Microfilm


Online Death Indexes and Records '

'Original Death Records on Microfilm


Societies and Libraries

  • OPHGR (Organization for the Preservation of Historical and Genealogical Records)
    P. Vinson, President
    Canton, TX
    email: Website:
    These folks go to county courthouses, churches and other places where old documents and records are housed. They either scan the very old records with their oversized scanner or they transcribe those old documents and then publish them as books. Membership is $10.00/year if you have an email address and you get their Newsletter sent to you quarterly. Visit their web site for Publication Listings as well as membership information.
    They also host several workshops during the year. Topics include: Beginning Researcher, Internet Research, Beginner Computer Help as well as Native American/Melungeon/African American Research.
  • Van Zandt County Genealogical Society
    P.O. Box 1388, Canton, Texas 75103-1388
    Phone: 903-567-5012
    We spent a week there this summer. The library they have is wonderful and the staff extremely helpful. The location is at the court house annex. They have published Graveyards of Van Zandt Co., Tx - Vol A-E,  Marriage Record Books of Van Zandt Co. The library is open from 9 am - 4 pm Monday thru Friday and 9 am - 1 pm Saturday - staffed by local volunteers who know about the county.

Family History Centers

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. See Family History Centers for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.

Web Sites

  • TXGenWeb project. May have maps, name indexes, history or other information for this county. Select the county
  • Miss B's Place. Some genealogical information concerning: Miller, Hickman, Edens, Christian, Payne, Teal, Long, Hollis, Ledbetter, Hodge, Heddins and Peebles.
  • Betty's World Genealogical information on Betty's Families of Abney, Boxley, Bradberry, Breazeale, Brown, Carter, Middleton, Norman, Pickens, Phillips, Stone, Summers, Tinsley, Wade, Wills/Wells, and General Andrew Pickens
  • Van Zandt County Genealogical Society:    In addition to Society information, this site contains thousands of records and photographs.
  • FamilySearch Catalog


  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Van Zandt County, Texas. Page 675 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).


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  • This page was last modified on 4 April 2015, at 01:08.
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