Invitation to BGS Members: Tuscaloosa County Genealogical Society Meeting

Invitation to BGS and others interested in preserving Tuscaloosa County records:

Thank you for being willing to make the announcement of this important meeting and Thanks to Dear Myrtle for getting me in touch with you. I’ve followed the Birmingham Genealogical Society’s blog coverage of the historic records in the attic of the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse and Thank you so much for that coverage.

At the regular monthly meeting of the Tuscaloosa Genealogical Society, which the next meeting will be on Thursday, Sept 6th at 7 pm, upstairs at the Tuscaloosa Public Library, there should be discussions during the business section of the meeting about the Preservation Project of these Courthouse records.

I have invited the Tuscaloosa Preservation Society, the Friends of Historic Northport, staff of the University Special Collections Library and Historical writer and editor Ben Windham of the Tuscaloosa News with all accepting that invitation, as well as the general public.

I wish to invite all members of the Birmingham Genealogical Society because I’m certain there will be records of interest to some. I can say that because no one really know what all of the 100′s of volumes will contain but it is known Tuscaloosa County was formed while Alabama was still a Territory and none of it’s four courthouses have ever burned or flooded.

The answer for Tuscaloosa’s Historic records will be the creation of a Local Government Record Archive. It is my hope that at this Sept 6th meeting, which is less than a week away, the groundwork for the partnering of many Societies and their members can be founded, working together toward this important goal.

As always, guests are welcomed and have the freedom to ask questions and/or make comments. I urge all interested and concerned persons to come and speak up. Give of your thoughts, wishes and advisement’s.

I can not stress how important your voice really is in this project. I firmly believe this will be a very important decision making meeting. All I can do this make you aware of the opportunity to let your voice be heard. Please accept this invitation. Thank You.

Mike Sullivan
Homewood, AL

Alabama Archives to be featured on APT

Thanks to Caroline, Autauga Rootsweb List Administrator, for posting this to the Autauga List.

Dr. Ed Bridges, director of the Alabama Department of Archives and History, will be featured on Alabama Public Television this Sunday @ 2pm on the program For the Record Face to Face.

According the the website, “Bridges will discuss the role of the Department of Archives and its job of maintaining state records.”

See more details here.

Records Preservation and Access Committee

Thanks to DearMyrtle for bringing this to our attention in her blog.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National Genealogical Society have joined forces and formed the Records Preservation & Access Committee. According to their website, the Committee will advise the genealogical community on ensuring proper access to historical records of genealogical value in whatever media they are recorded, on means to affect legislation, and on supporting strong records preservation policies and practices.

Find out more on the Records Preservation & Access Committee blog. I checked the list of State Liaisons found here and currently Alabama does not have a liaison.

County Court Records Preservation

DearMyrtle has updated her blog with new information on the situation in Tuscaloosa County. You can read her post here.

While this blog post and news article focuses on Tuscaloosa County, who among us can’t name several more counties with the same issue? You can see still shots of the Bibb County “attic” here. The Chilton County “basement” is infamous among those of us who research in Chilton County. And as for Jefferson County – well just where are all of the “missing” circuit court records?

The State Archives in Montgomery does not have the funding or resources to be a repository for all of these records. There are alternatives – some good examples of what can be done are the Shelby County Historical Archives and Museum, the Ashville Museum and Archives (St. Clair County), and the Baldwin County Archives to name a few. In these counties people got involved and worked with the local governments to preserve the records of the county and at the same time make them available to researchers. Some of these archives are under the auspices of the local government and some are sponsored by the local genealogical and/or historical society.

Those of us who do not live in the counties where our ancestors originated are at somewhat of a disadvantage. This is not a cop-out or shedding of any responsibility – just a statement of fact, those of us who research long-distance primarily with maybe occasional visits do not have the same “pull” a person living locally has with the local government. We (long-distance researchers) can support through dollars and support/send letters, but we need the local residents to spear-head the effort.

I end this blog post asking everyone to get involved locally – join your local genealogical or historical society and find out about the condition of the records in your county. If the records are not being stored properly ask your local government what can be done. You may not live where your ancestors once lived, but someone’s ancestors lived where you do now.

Tuscaloosa County records may be thrown away

Leland Meitzler of the Genealogy Blog blogged an item in the Tuscaloosa News (read here) regarding the intention of the Circuit Clerk’s office to destroy the old records in the Courthouse attic after digitally scanning the documents.

We all know that while digital scans are good … there is nothing better than the real document. Karen Hunnicutt, a local genealogist, is trying to find a new home for these records.

Read the full article on line:

Tuscaloosa News article