Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - Texas Business Charters

A few months ago, I found a newspaper article stating that the Spurlock-Martindale Company had received a charter from the State of Texas in March 1911. The directors of the company were J. J. Spurlock (my grandfather), A. B. Martindale (my great-grandfather), and Gertrude Fry (whom I later discovered worked as a sales clerk in a jewelry store).

Since I am planning to be in the Austin area later this year, I was researching the holdings of the Texas State Library and Archives to see what I might find there regarding business charters. Not having much luck and suspecting this might refer to incorporation of a business, I checked out the Texas Secretary of State’s website and VOILA! The Texas Secretary of State offers an online system for searching business organization documents called SOSDirect. For $1.00 per search, you can search business organization filings by entity name, name of person listed as a registered agent, officer or director of a corporation. Plain copies of documents cost 10 cents per page for 50 pages or less; if the document is over 50 pages, the charge is 15 cents per page.

I visited the site last Tuesday evening, registered as a temporary user, and did a couple of searches. I found that the charter application for the Spurlock-Martindale Company was available and I ordered a copy. On Thursday morning, I received an email that my documents were ready and I downloaded the file. Total cost for the searches I had done and the copies was a whopping $4.52!

I couldn’t find any information on the website about the years for which documents are available, but I know it goes back at least to 1911!

If you know that your ancestor obtained a business charter in Texas, you might want to check it out!

© 2011 Denise Spurlock, Ancestral Trees Research

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