Public Closure of the GA State Archives Effective November 1, 2012

Press Release from Georgia Secretary of State:

September 13, 2012

Statement from Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp on Public Closure of the State Archives Effective November 1, 2012
The Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget has instructed the Office of the Secretary of State to further reduce its budget for AFY13 and FY14 by 3% ($732,626). As it has been for the past two years, these cuts do not eliminate excess in the agency, but require the agency to further reduce services to the citizens of Georgia. As an agency that returns over three times what is appropriated back to the general fund, budget cuts present very challenging decisions. We have tried to protect the services that the agency provides in support of putting people to work, starting small businesses, and providing public safety.

To meet the required cuts, it is with great remorse that I have to announce, effective November 1, 2012, the Georgia State Archives located in Morrow, GA will be closed to the public. The decision to reduce public access to the historical records of this state was not arrived at without great consternation. To my knowledge, Georgia will be the only state in the country that will not have a central location in which the public can visit to research and review the historical records of their government and state. The staff that currently works to catalog, restore, and provide reference to the state of Georgia’s permanent historical records will be reduced. The employees that will be let go through this process are assets to the state of Georgia and will be missed.

After November 1st, the public will only be allowed to access the building by appointment; however, the number of appointments could be limited based on the schedule of the remaining employees.
Since FY08, the Office of the Secretary of State has been required to absorb many budget reductions, often above the minimum, while being responsible for more work. I believe that transparency and open access to records are necessary for the public to educate themselves on the issues of our government. I will fight during this legislative session to have this cut restored so the people will have a place to meet, research, and review the historical records of Georgia.

Jared S. Thomas
Press Secretary
Brian P. Kemp, Secretary of State
214 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30330
404-656-4269 phone
404-656-0513 fax

BGS Participating in the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project

BGS has joined forces with genealogy societies and organizations around the country as part of the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project. The initiative aims to publish a free, online searchable name index of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census.   This online index will be free forever, offering family history researchers a rich genealogical data set for their ongoing use.

For complete details on how to participate and support BGS, see our 1940 U. S. Census Community Project page.

BGS Meeting — September 25, 2010 — Tour of the BPL Archives

The Birmingham Genealogical Society meets the fourth Saturday of each month (ex. Nov. & Dec.) at the Downtown Birmingham Public Library. Guests are always welcome!

Next meeting: Saturday, September 25th at 2 p.m.; Refreshments at 1:30 p.m.

Meeting Room: Story Castle (2nd Floor of Central Library, Youth Department)

Program Topic: Tour of the Birmingham Public Library Archives

Our program is a tour of the newly renovated BPL Archives! Established in 1975, the Department of Archives and Manuscripts is located in the Linn-Henley Research Library, a part of the Birmingham Public Library system. The department collects government records, business records, maps, photographs, letters, diaries, scrapbooks, and other primary material documenting the history and development of Birmingham, Jefferson County and the surrounding area of Alabama known as the Birmingham District.

The Archives also collects material statewide relating to the Episcopal Church in Alabama, the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama and Jewish history and life in Alabama. The department’s holdings include the papers of city and county officials, businesses and business people, politicians, social activists, churches and synagogues, civic groups and study clubs, clergy, artists, writers, musicians, athletes and homemakers. Serving as the archives for the City of Birmingham and for numerous organizations and institutions, the collection contains more than 30,000,000 documents and 400,000 photographs.

Please join us!

From ADAH: Last Call for HRAB REgrant Applications for 2010!

Received the following via e-mail this week from the Alabama Department of Archives and History:


Last Call for HRAB REgrant Applications for 2010!


The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) has awarded $50,000 to the Alabama Historical Records Advisory Board (HRAB) to distribute for regrants to local governments and local historical repositories for records preservation projects. This program will be administered by Government Records Division archivists of the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH). The deadline for applying is October 1, 2010.

Who is eligible for a local records preservation grant?
Any county or municipal government agency (including public libraries), non-profit historical entity (historical or genealogical societies, non-government archives and museums) or circuit court may apply for an award. The HRAB especially encourages cooperative projects between government agencies and non-profit entities to preserve a community’s records.

How do I apply?
Review the grant program guidelines and grant application form on the HRAB website at: http:// Then complete an application form and submit it to the HRAB by October 1, 2010. HRAB staff will review draft applications for prospective applicants through September 17, 2010.

What kinds of projects can be funded?

With only $50,000 to allocate statewide, grant projects must be relatively small and inexpensive. Last year, the board set a $3,000 limit on awards. Examples of eligible projects might include:

Hiring an archival or records management consultant
Conducting a records inventory and improving storage space
Cataloging, indexing, or preparing finding aids for historical records
Undertaking limited records conservation or reformatting projects

What are the project requirements?
Each applicant must be prepared to provide a 50% cost share of the total project budget.
Funded project staff will attend an archival training workshop before starting project work.
Awards will be announced on December 1, 2010. Grant projects will begin in January 2011 and should be completed by September 30, 2011.

Interested in hosting/attending a regrant writing workshop?

Let us know by contacting Tom Turley (334-353-4607; or Tracey Berezansky (334-353-4604; Tracey.Berezansky@archives. at ADAH.

Change in Program Topic/Speaker for June 26th Meeting

We have a change  in Saturday’s program. Our previously scheduled speaker has had a death in her family and will be unable to present the program on Saturday, June 26th. We hope to reschedule her later this year.

We would like to thank Ben Petersen, Department Head of BPL Southern History Department, for filling in at the last minute as speaker. Ben will be presenting a program titled: “Preservation 101, the Basics of Preservation”.

I hope everyone will join us. Remember refreshments/meet & greet at 1:30 pm; program begins at 2 pm.  We will be meeting in the “StoryCastle” on the 2nd floor of the new building.

February 28, 2009 – BGS Meeting – Loose Records Project in Jefferson County

The Birmingham Genealogical Society meets the fourth Saturday of each month (excluding Nov. & Dec.) in the Arrington Auditorium at the Downtown Birmingham Public Library.  Guests are encouraged to attend!

Next meeting: Saturday, February 28th at 2 p.m.  Refreshments at 1:30 p.m.

Speaker: Gary Gerlach, BGS Parlamentarian and coordinator of the Jefferson County Loose Records project

Program Topic: Loose Records Project in Jefferson County

Details: or BPL-Southern History Dept. at (205) 226-3665

The Loose Records Project is a national, county by county, volunteer program to make older public court records more available to historians, genealogists and the general public.

At the state level, it is coordinated through the Alabama State Archives and locally with the approval of the Jefferson County Probate and Circuit Courts. Gary Gerlach, BGS Parliamentarian, coordinates the Jefferson County project. Gary has outlined the project as follows: “In 1999 members of our group cleaned, organized, and catalogued the court records of Shelby County.  From 2001 to 2005 our group organized 22,262 Jefferson County Probate Court files (1860s to 1936).  Both projects were funded by the county Probate Court system.  A CD index was created for the Jefferson County records and was distributed free to the courts, local libraries and museums.  The Genealogical Society of Utah microfilmed the Jefferson County Probate Court files (512 reels) to make them available world-wide. In August 2005, we began working on the pre-1920 Jefferson County Circuit Court cases. These records are important to the legal profession, historians and genealogists. Wills, divorces, bankruptcies, business disputes and property settlements name family members, neighbors and business partners.  The maps, newspapers, booklets and pictures included as supporting evidence, bring the history alive. There is no index for pre-1908 Jefferson County Circuit Court records and only a partial index for the 1908-16 records.  We have identified 90 boxes of approximately 100 files each that pre-date 1900 and 169 more boxes that predate 1917.  (Only 6 boxes of files dated between 1916 and 1939 are known to exist.)  The files are slowly disintegrating and the hand written script is fading.  Records are flattened, cleaned and cataloged and will be scanned into an Alabama State Court database located in Montgomery to be made available on-line.”

Please join us as Gary Gerlach discusses the accomplishments and current undertakings of the Loose Records Project in Jefferson County.