Tuesday, May 25, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy: State Archive

This week's 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy challenge:

Examine the website of your state or provincial archives. Take some time to push all the buttons and click all the links. What did you find? 

I have done research before at the Florida State Library and Archive.  The physical location is the R. A. Gray Building at 500 South Bronough (pronounced BRU-no) Street, Tallahassee, Florida.  The State Library is on the second floor and the State Archive is on the first floor.

On the website, my favorite part is the Florida Memory Project.  At this site, a researcher can find digitized documents from the Archive's collection, including Spanish land grants and Confederate Veterans' pensions.   Other exhibits have photographs and moving pictures of Florida's history.  My husband's great-grandfather's Confederate pension is digitized in the collection online, and it is beautiful.  My compliments to the State Archive for digitizing in color!

Another service is the Florida Electronic Library, which provides access to the library collections of public and academic libraries across the state.  It is not always up-to-date, but it is current enough to serve the purposes of most users.

It is time for me to plan another research trip to the State Archive, in connection with my current research project on St. Augustine.  I have already consulted the Archive's online catalog, so I know which record groups and series I will be examining.  The search function at this online catalog is not terribly robust (but then, neither is the search function at the General Archive of the Indies in Seville).  I have to do some digging and get creative sometimes with my search terms, but I can usually find what I need.  And if I don't find it in the online catalog, when I get to the Archive, the very knowledgeable and helpful staff will assist me in finding what I need.

Florida was one of the last states to institute a state archive, but the staff at our State Archive has done a great job!

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