The following column was submitted to me yesterday by Bill Dollarhide. After dealing with severe heart problems last year, Bill is back at it, and is in the final days of writing his new book, Genealogical Resources of the Civil War Era. Expect to see columns written by Bill posted quite often on this blog from this time forward. The following column is taken directly from part four of the new book, “The Best Resources Centers for Local/County Research.”
Hill College at Hillsboro, Texas, is the home of the Texas Heritage Museum. The museum’s Historical Research Center has one of the most important collections for Civil War research in the nation. Established in 1963 and formerly called the Confederate Research Center, the collection has over 5,000 volumes dealing exclusively with the Civil War.
The highlight of the collection is a series of capsule histories for all 3,200 Confederate regiments, special units; and histories of all Confederate ships. The historical capsules include counties where companies mustered, alternate designations, higher commands, Civil War battles in which the unit participated, and a map of all locations where the unit served during the war. These Confederate unit histories are more complete and more useful than those found at the online Civil War Soldiers & Sailors System (shown in RG 1, page 10), and make this library one of the top Civil War research centers in America.
The Historical Research Center also maintains original letters, documents, maps, and photographs. And, they keep an extensive file of newspaper and magazine clippings, and subscribe to dozens of magazines in the field of southern and military history.
If you know the Confederate regiment of your ancestor, for a fee the Center will send a copy of the capsule history for that unit. (Please contact Research Center for fee schedule). If you do not know which regiment, the Center will provide a form for you to fill in and return. They will do the work for you for a fee. If nothing is found, the fee is waived. A form for requesting a capsule history and another one for requesting information on a Civil War veteran are both available online as downloadable PDF files at the Texas Heritage Museum’s website. Visit the website at www.hillcollege.edu/Museum/, and review the fees for a capsule history or for a report on one Civil War veteran. You can also contact them by phone at (254) 659-7757, or visit the museum’s Historical Research Center in person.
A visit to the galleries of the Texas Heritage Museum has free admission. Both facilities are very up-to-date, with a shared theatre and many other military artifacts of special interest. This is a user-friendly museum and library, and genealogists are always welcome. The staff will usually try to help or guide any visitors in their research. The hours are Monday thru Thursday, 8am – 4:30pm; Friday 8am – 4pm. From June thru August, the museum is open on Saturdays, 10am – 5pm (the Historical Research Center is not open on Saturdays).
Of related historical interest, the Texas Heritage Museum deals with wars in which Texans were involved. The museum commemorates the experiences of Texans during war times, featuring Civil War, World War II, Audie Murphy, and Vietnam exhibits; and includes a Weapons Gallery. The newly remodeled museum offers a new theatre featuring films highlighting the contents of the museum.
Outside of the museum is a new memorial honoring all native-born Texans awarded the Medal of Honor, including Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier during WWII; and Samuel Dealey, the most decorated sailor of WWII.
Visit the museum’s website for more information (such as directions, events, newsletter, email, phone, or mailing address). Or, call the museum’s number at (254) 659-7750. The website also has a contents list and index to the resources of the Historical Research Center.
A RootsWeb Civil War website features a selected bibliography of the resources available at the former Confederate Research Center (ca 2004) at: www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mscivilw/csa_resc.html