The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 80, July 1976 - April, 1977 Page: 232
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
training session by the project staff and then made the survey using
standard inventory forms. The results are reviewed and checked in con-
sultation with the project staff who then prepare the completed inventory
for publication by the Texas State Library.
All the published inventories have essentially the same format. There
is a brief history and description of the county followed by an outline of
the major offices of county government and their functions. The records
of each office are then listed by title with information on the time period
covered by the record, the volume of material involved, and a brief ac-
count of the nature of the particular record. In most counties the offices
inventoried were county clerk, district clerk, justice of the peace, sheriff,
tax assessor-collector, treasurer, auditor, and school superintendent. But
in some cases there are also records for the offices of constable, sur-
veyor, and engineer. The twenty-three volumes published to date average
315 entries for distinct records. Most of the inventories include a con-
venient listing by office of all the records surveyed, and all have an index.
The various inventories are not completely consistent in organization in
that they do not have identical tables of contents and list whatever records
are available for every office in each county in the same order. This may
be a little troublesome to the researcher comparing records available from
one county to the next, but then anyone who works in county archives is
aware that courthouse fires of the past and the vagaries of local record
keeping have made these depositories something less than havens for those
who love perfect system and order. Totally consistent surveys may be too
much to expect, and in any case, the index provides a convenient guide
to the inventoried records.
The Texas County Records Inventory Project has a historical precedent
-the Works Progress Administration's Historical Records Survey (HRS)
of the late Depression years which published twenty-four inventories of
Texas county archives before it was discontinued in 1942. Comparisons
are unfair, however, since the current project does not have the paid man-
power of the HRS and was never intended to be as comprehensive. The
HRS publications, for example, contain detailed historical accounts of
each county government office based on research into constitutional and
legal provisions affecting that office at any time since the formation of the
county. Although the current project aims only at compiling an inventory
for each county, a companion volume presenting information on the devel-
opment of county government in Texas in a historical, constitutional, and
legal context would be extremely welcome. In the meantime, the historian
who works in local records can use the excellent account in the inventory
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 80, July 1976 - April, 1977, periodical, 1976/1977; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101204/m1/264/: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.