The Tyrrell Historical Library is one of the many jewels of Southeast Texas, complete with original stained glass and equally impressive features dating back to 1903! Originally known as the First Baptist Church, the building on the corner of Pearl and Forsythe in Downtown Beaumont has taken on many roles dedicated to preserving our Southeast Texas history (and beyond!). The shelves inside the library once held books of all kinds – fiction and nonfiction, including children’s books, schoolbooks, and more, but now they have the task of holding the more historical works. Here are a few of the special collections you will find.
Dive into your Family Genealogy
With access to U.S. Census information, newspapers, vital records, and much more, there is tons of information available at your fingertips to dive into your own family history through microfilm! Microfilm is a valuable tool in genealogy research, in that records are able to be viewed using a special microfilm reader that projects images onto a screen to be cropped, saved, sent to your email, or printed on-site. All collections are stored and arranged for easy access. Current local collections include the Jefferson County Marriage Record Indexes (1837-1883), the entire run of the Beaumont Enterprise and Journal newspapers (1880-1881 and 1898-present), Jefferson County Index to Deeds (1836-1946), as well as other records such as tax rolls, probate records, and some other regional newspapers. Texas-related microfilm collections include 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 Mortality Register Schedules for Texas (1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880); and Passenger Lists at Galveston (1896-1951). National collections include census records for the years 1790 through 1920; the International Genealogical Index (IGI) for the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Philippines, and Europe; and Revolutionary War Rolls (1775-1783).
Research Information on the Daughters of American Revolution
The Daughters of American Revolution is a group for women who are directly descended from someone involved in the United States’ independence effort. If you are looking for information on the DAR, doing your own genealogy, or are simply curious about the group, then head into the genealogy reading room on the first floor of the library. They have volumes of member lineage books from 1908 to 1921, and anything can be scanned with the help of Tyrrell staff!
Thumb through the Texana Collection
The Texana collection located on the first floor of the main reading room is dedicated to showcasing Texas in both History and Art Literature. In here, you’ll find all sorts of interesting materials, like biographies, Texas literature, city directories from all over the state (and Beaumont starting in 1903!), local area high school yearbooks, and even an art book collection numbering 1,700 volumes!
Dig Deep into the Digital Archives
Started with a generous donation and ongoing funding by the Tyrrell Historical Library Association, this project allows the library to present selected parts of our collections digitally through OCLC’s ContentDM digital portal software system. These web resources are available to citizens 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 much more from around Southeast Texas. You can take a look at the Melody Maids Collection, the Neches River Festival Records, the Fire Museum of Texas Photograph Collection, the Southeast Texas Postcards Collection, and over 100 more groups of family letters, journals, diaries, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, business reports, minutes and correspondence, along with thousands of photographs! The Tyrrell Historical Library adds more material daily – and even photographs non-paper artifacts in-house!
Explore the Texas State Highway Department Through the Years
Located on the second floor of the main library, the Texas State Highway Department magazines section is available to allow citizens to see the important historical and cultural aspects related to the highway system, and in the process, the development of Beaumont and its surrounding area as it grew as a metropolitan city! Supplemental sources are also available through city maps in the archives that document the various businesses that have lined the city streets that provides an image of what life was like in the past.
With dedicated staff to help you along the way, any mission you have can be completed. The Tyrrell Historical Library located at 695 Pearl Street in Downtown Beaumont is open Monday – Friday from 9:00AM to 6:00PM. They have free Wifi, so grab your materials and head on over today!