We present a detailed description of measurements of the effective temperature of a pulsed electron source, based on near-threshold photoionization of laser-cooled atoms. The temperature is determined by electron beam waist scans, source size measurements with ion beams, and analysis with an accurate beam line model. Experimental data is presented for the source temperature as a function of the wavelength of the photoionization laser, for both nanosecond and femtosecond ionization pulses. For the nanosecond laser, temperatures as low as 14±3 K were found; for femtosecond photoionization, 30±5 K is possible. With a typical source size of 25 um , this results in electron bunches with a relative transverse coherence length in the 10-4 range and an emittance of a few nm rad.