Harris County is a Southeastern Texas county. Harris County was named after John Richardson Harris, who first arrived in this area in 1824. He settled on land at the junction of Bray's and Buffalo Bayous (now a part of Houston). In 1825 the city of Harrisburg was laid out. On December 30, 1835, the General Council created the Harrisburg Municipality and designated the town as the seat of its government. On April 21, 1836 the Battle of San Jacinto was fought in what is now Harris County. This was the deciding battle of the war between what would become the Republic of Texas and Mexico. In 1836 the name of the area was changed to Harrisburg County. In 1839 the name was again changed to Harris County.
Today, Harris County has a total area of 1,777 square miles and is the 3rd most populous county in the US with 4.5 million people. Houston, the largest city in the area and fourth largest city in the U.S., has a population of 2.1 million and is the county seat. The Port of Houston is one of the busiest ports in the world. Fifty-eight foreign governments maintain consular offices in Houston; the fifth largest consular corps in the nation.
Houston is home to the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical complex in the world. The 14 hospitals in the complex are world leaders in cancer and heart research. Houston is the energy capital of the U. S. and a center for biotechnology. Harris County is the home of NASA. All space flights are controlled from the Johnson Space Center, south of Houston.
Houston is a major cultural center and one of a handful of U.S. cities with resident companies in opera, theater, symphony and ballet. There are 10 colleges and universities and 36 museums in Harris County.
The Houston Public Library system is one of the largest in the country and the Clayton Center for Genealogical Research, with one of the premier collections of genealogy materials in the nation, is a part of that library system.
Harris County has 41 cities, many of which have libraries with genealogy materials. Harris County is an active place for genealogists with many active genealogical societies.