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Family History Research Center: HPL

Family History Research Center
The Carriage House at the Family History Research Center
Welcome to the Clayton Library Campus

Consistently named one of the top ten genealogical libraries in the nation -- is worth the trip! This History Research Center houses a national and international collection of family history research materials in print, microprint and online. Our professional staff will consult with you one on one discussing your specific research problems. Our goal is to help you navigate our vast international resources, helping you to discover your ancestors!



Started as a small special collection of the Houston Public Library in 1921, the genealogy research collection was originally -housed in the Julia Ideson Building in downtown Houston. In 1968, the collection was relocated to the Clayton House at 5300 Caroline Street in Houston’s historic Museum District. This was the former home of Houston businessman and statesman William Lockhart Clayton and wife Susan Vaughan Clayton, who deeded the property to the City of Houston for use as a public library.

The collection continued to grow while in the historic home. Through the generosity of an anonymous donor, the site adjacent to the Clayton House was purchased in 1986, and construction of a new library building was completed in 1988. The new building was designed to complement the style and structure of the historic Clayton House, and it provided more space for the genealogical collection to expand.

In 2006, the Houston Public Library, with the dedicated support of the Clayton family, Clayton Library Friends, and the City of Houston, initiated a restoration project of the three historical buildings on the property. As a result, the Clayton Library Center now encompasses a four-building complex, including the Main Building, Clayton House, Guest House, and Carriage House. Thousands of visitors from all over the United States come to the Family History Research Center at the Clayton Library Campus every year to further their own family history research using the renown international research collection.
For Researchers

HPL staff member in a red button shirt reading a book
From the Collection
Research Guide
Explore the online resources available in-library only and remotely with an HPL MYLink library card. These online resources include getting started materials, subscription databases and other information that supplements the book, microfilm, periodical collection, and expert staff available to help.

Get Started   

Digital Archives
Select materials from the family history research collection have been digitized. In addition to our extensive book, microprint and periodical collections, we also have a growing number of digital collections to discover.

Explore Now   



Ways to Research
Access to subscription databases include, Fold 3, and other premium sources. Some are accessible from home with a HPL MYLink card.

An international collection of local record materials including vital records, histories, land records, and cemetery records. This collection houses materials not available online.

Free online international collection of digitized books and document resources. The FHRC is a digitization partner and affiliate library of FamilySearch. As an affiliate library, restricted images can be viewed.

Find select digital holdings of highly requested photographs, papers, and oral histories. Download collections and save image files for your personal or research use.

Have a question, want to donate materials?


   Search for documents at home.
   Ask family for research or documents they may have.
   Identify birth, death and marriage information for yourself, parents, and other generations.
   Complete a pedigree chart found in the genealogy workbook below.
   Who are you researching?
   What do you want to know about them?
   Where and when are you researching?
Clayton Library Friends
The Clayton Library Friends, Inc, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that seeks to enrich the resources of the Family History Research Center at the Clayton Library Campus, a unit of the Houston Public Library.  In the pursuit of that mission, the officers, and directors of the organization, in coordination with the manager of the FHRC, organize and direct fundraising projects to support the acquisition of research material for the library, and to enhance library services.
Events at History Research Centers

Interviewing the Living for Leads to the Past





Location Details


Contact Us
5300 Caroline St. Houston, TX 77004 | 832-393-2600 | Submit Research Question