The following is an update from Mike Sullivan on the activity to save the Tuscaloosa County records in the courthouse attic:
I am very pleased to announce that a big step has been taken towards creating a Local Archives in Tuscaloosa County, AL. Jim Crowder, Chairman of the Records Preservation Committee reported to the Tuscaloosa Genealogical Society Night Group, that a temporary remote location has been found and approved by the Circuit Court Clerk, Ms. Bobo.
This has been a huge stumbling block for the complete preservation of our historic records because now the issue of getting those records into an environmentally stable facility will be solved.
Currently, the Committee has identified over 100 volumes of pre-1900 records to be removed from the attic and there is still plenty of looking to be done.
With over 40 years of insufficient funds to properly maintain the 7th floor records, records from many creating agencies have become entwined. It is also not unusual to find a 1830 record next to a 1990 record, next to a 1870 record.
This finding and sorting process will take some time but I foresee that soon a great many of the books can finally be removed from that dark, dusty storage area and as more records are found, they shall also be removed.
ADAH has pledged support by way of training volunteers in the proper way to handle and clean these historic records. It was also reported that as soon as the Society and the Clerk has the paperwork in order, ADAH will come straight away to inspect the records, proper documentations and sign off their approval without delay.
This is an important start to a multi-year project and we need to continue seeking a permanent home for which to create our Local Archives.
There are simply too many people that have been so helpful in this accomplishment but special mention of Melissa Delbridge, Archivist for Duke University in NC, who from that distance has lent her voice, influence, contacts and sound advice paving the way for certain processes to blend smoothly.
It should also be acknowledged that Jim Crowder has worked very hard over the last couple of months to get permission for this temporary new home.
So now it is up to all of the rest of us make the commitment to cleaning, organizing and indexing what I am truly guessing may be up to 500 historic books that pre-date 1900.
Once that large bite has been taken and at least chewed on awhile, we should have the opportunity to obtain more records from other agencies and later dates.
Nothing as worthwhile or of such importance as creating a Local Archives can be done over night but not only have some very necessary steps been taken but the actual work has begun. Take care.
Bye, Mike Sullivan