Ancestry Library
Database of census, immigration, military, and other genealogical records.
lock-orange In-library use only.

A free genealogy database containing vital records, church records, and other genealogical records from around the world.

Texas Vital Statistics

Vital statistics such as birth, death, marriage, divorce, and adoption records can be ordered for a fee through the Texas Department of State Health Services. These are the official records. However, much of this information is also available free of charge through FamilySearch above.

National Archives
Search the National Archives for genealogy information, some of which can be requested through copies or microfilm.

One-Step WebPages by Steve Morse
Contains tools for finding immigration records, census records, vital records, and for dealing with calendars, maps, foreign alphabets, and numerous other applications. It is particularly useful for searching passenger ship lists.

Cyndi's List 
Directory of hundreds of online genealogy resources, organized by topic and location.

Local History

Portal to Texas History 
A collection of digitized historical documents from around Texas. Explore this treasure trove of information, and check out McAllen Public Library's own collection of historical photographs

TexShare Genealogy and Local History
The following databases are useful for genealogy and local history and are available through the Texas State Library.
 » Handbook of Texas Online
: Explore Texas with articles on people, places, and events.
 » HeritageQuest Online: Research materials to trace family lineage.
 » Texas Digital Sanborn Maps: Historical maps for historians, geographers, and genealogists.
 » Texas Reference Center: Search EBSCO resources for Texas-related information.
lock-orange In library use or contact reference desk for login info.

Portal de Archivos Españoles (in Spanish)
Digitized records from the Spanish archives; a vital resource for Texas and Mexico historical research.

Tutorials and Guides

Educational Courses
Educational courses from the National Genealogical Society.

Start Your Genealogy Research
An online guide by the National Archives.

Help for Genealogy Researchers
Learn how to start researching your family tree.

Family Search Learning Center
Browse hundreds of online genealogy courses to help you discover your family history.

Genealogy Collections at the Library

The Genealogy and Local History collection of the McAllen Public Library is a non-circulating collection of materials useful for beginning self-directed research. Our collection covers a broad range of locations, family groups, and time periods. In particular, we strive to provide materials which are relevant to residents of South Texas. We do not have a professional genealogist on staff and are unable to conduct in-depth research, but can assist with basic searches or help locate an independent, professional genealogist. Our collection of various print and online tools is available for public use whenever the library is open, on a self-service basis, at no charge. Printing and photocopying are available by using our coin-operated, self-service equipment.

Our entire genealogy collection can be searched in our online catalog.  Try clicking on "advanced search" and change one of the search fields to Subject. Then search for terms such as "Saenz family", "Hidalgo County", or "Mexico genealogy". You can also do a regular search for any family name, location, or subject, and then use the Collection button in the menu on the left to filter the results to books in the Genealogy collection.


» McAllen City Directory: 1936 - 1978, 1982, 2000
» Rio Grande Valley Telephone Directory: 1969 - 2001
» Cole Directory: 1961 - present

Local History Files

Contain newspaper clippings, brochures, and other ephemera from the early 1970's to the mid 2000's that cover about 1500 topics related to McAllen and the Rio Grande Valley. Material is organized in vertical files according to subject. A list of subjects is available online and also at the beginning of the file in the library.

Local Newspapers

The Monitor (formerly Valley Evening Monitor)

» Recent past issues of The Monitor (McAllen’s daily newspaper) are available on the periodical shelves of the Main Library. The library keeps the original paper copies for approximately 6-8 weeks, until we receive microfilm copies.

» Issues from 1925 to the present are available on microfilm. The microfilm reels are kept near the north Information Desk and can be viewed whenever the library is open.  The microfilm reader machine is operated on a self-service basis, and does not print. We recommend bringing a camera to take a photo of the screen.

» Issues from November 2002 to the present are also available online, and can be viewed within the library from our Newsstand page

Aerial Photograph Collection of Hidalgo County

Original printed aerial photographs of the county, particularly the agricultural areas of the early 1960's, are in the map drawers near the north Information Desk of the Main Library. Please ask for assistance at the Information Desk before using this collection. The library was awarded the Portal to Texas History Grant enabling a sample of the collection to be digitized by the University of North Texas - Digital Projects Unit. This digitized collection of 30 remote-sensing aerial images includes the City of McAllen and surrounding cities. The images were captured by Aeroflex Corporation, Robinson Aerial Surveys Division, to survey land use in Hidalgo County. The United States Department of Agriculture published the series, which dates from 1960-1983. This collection, along with many other Texas history materials, can be viewed via the Portal to Texas History.


» Victor Fields: 1992-93

Middle School

» Brown: 1980-81
» Lamar: 1993
» Lincoln: 1971, 1983
» Morris: 1990, 2002

High School

» McAllen High School: 1937, 1942 - 1986, 1992, 1996, 2000
» Memorial High School: 1981 - 1992
» Nikki Rowe High School: 1993-2000


» UT-Pan American: 1948 - 1989

PLEASE NOTE: Although dates are listed for most items, chronological sequences are by no means complete. Gaps exist in all collections listed above, particularly the yearbooks and directories. Patrons are encouraged to contact the reference desk of the Main Library to confirm if a certain date or volume is available.