Research Your History & the History of the Area at the Tyrrell Historical Library

Complete with original stained glass and design features that date back to 1903, the Tyrrell Historical Library is one of the many gems of downtown Beaumont. Initially, the First Baptist Church, the building on the corner of Pearl and Forsythe, has had many lives but is now dedicated to preserving Southeast Texas’s history (and beyond!). Here are a few of the special things you can do there.

a woman sitting at a computer looking through scanned microfilmDive into your Family Genealogy  

With access to U.S. Census information, newspapers, vital records, and much more, there is tons of information available to explore your family history through microfilm! Microfilm is a valuable tool in genealogy research as records are able to be viewed using a special reader that projects images onto a screen. You can then crop, save, and send a copy to your email or print a version on-site.

Current local collections include Jefferson County Marriage Records (1837-1883), the entire run of the Beaumont Enterprise and Journal newspapers, Jefferson County Index to Deeds (1836-1946), plus other records such as tax rolls, probate records, and regional newspapers.

State-wide collections include the Texas Birth Index (1903-1976); Texas Death Index (1903-1973); Mexican War Service Records of Texas; Civil War Confederate Military Service Records of Texas; Special Census Records for Texas (1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880); and Passenger Lists at Galveston (1896-1951).

National collections include census records from 1790 through 1920; the International Genealogical Index (IGI) of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Philippines, and Europe; the New York Times Newspaper (1851-2004); and Revolutionary War Rolls (1775-1783). All are stored and cataloged for easy access.

a close-up image of record books on a shelfResearch the Daughters of the American Revolution

The Daughters of the American Revolution is a group of women who are direct descendants of the United States’ independence efforts. If you are looking for information on DAR, doing your own genealogy, or are simply curious about the group, head up to the second floor, where they have volumes of member rosters. Anything can be scanned with the help of Tyrrell staff!

Thumb through the Texana Collection 

The Texana collection in the back on the library’s first floor is dedicated to Texas’s history, art, and literature. Here, you’ll find materials like biographies, city directories (including Beaumont starting in 1903!), high school yearbooks, and even an art book collection with 1,700 volumes!

Dig Deep into the Digital Archives 

Thanks to a generous donation by the Tyrrell Historical Library Association, the digital archives project allows citizens to access part of the collection online through the Digital Collections Portal or the Master Index to the Archives Collection

The online archives are a great place to find pictures, postcards, class yearbooks, and more from Southeast Texas. You can peruse the Melody Maids Collection, the Neches River Festival Records, the Fire Museum of Texas Photograph Collection, the Southeast Texas Postcards Collection, and over 100+ groups of family letters, journals, diaries, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, business reports, minutes and correspondence, along with thousands of photographs! The Tyrrell Historical Library adds materials daily – and even photographs non-paper artifacts in-house! 

a man sitting at a desk with a lamp reading a book

Explore the Texas Highway Systems Through the Years 

On the second floor, citizens can see the development process through the Texas Highway System section to show the area as it grows and expands through maps and other business resources.

With a dedicated staff to help you with your research and free WiFi, it’s a great place to dig into the history of the area.

The Tyrrell Historical Library is located at 695 Pearl Street in Downtown Beaumont. They’re open Monday – Friday from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.