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Search Help

Search Instructions

To optimize your search, please take the time to read the general guidelines and then the specific query instructions.  If you have questions as you conduct your search, just click on help to return to this information.

There are 6 ways to search the Sovereignty Commission Database:

  1. Basic Name Search
  2. Name Index Browse
  3. Folder Search
  4. Folder Title Browse
  5. Rebuttal Folder Search
  6. Photograph Search

1. Basic Name Search:

The basic name search consists of searches by last name, first name, and middle name.

  • Enter desired name into appropriate field.
  • Any combination or portion of the name may be entered.
  • To refine the search, enter more specific information.
  • Click Submit Query to activate the search.
  • Click Clear Query to clear fields of entered information.
  • Click Help to return to these intructions.

Be Aware:

  • Personal names in records created by the Sovereignty Commission were indexed by MDAH pursuant to American Civil Liberties Union v. Fordice, 969 F.Supp.403 (S.D.Miss.1994).
  • The search mechanism is NOT case-sensitive.
  • The basic search mechanism is designed to be inclusive and automatically places a wildcard at the end of each search term to retrieve all name forms that begin with the search term.
  • Variant name spellings: Each name is indexed as it was spelled within a document. As a result, multiple variant spellings may exist for any individual. Simply entering an individual's name in its correct or current form may not be sufficient to retrieve all mentions of that individual. For an explanation of variant spellings see the General and Technical Information page.
  • The court did not require that all names appearing in publications be indexed.
  • A number of the entries appear as single first names and nicknames only.

The Personal Name Search Results List:

  • The Personal Name Search Results Screen begins with a statement indicating how many results matched the search criteria. If the search was unsuccessful, this statement will read: Your query retrieved 0 results.
  • Click New Search to conduct a new search or Back on your toolbar to return to the initial search in order to refine the existing search terms.
  • In a successful search the results statement is followed by a list of name form(s) that matched the search criteria. A check box precedes each name.
  • If the list exceeds the space in the screen, a scroll bar will appear on the right side of the screen.
  • To select a name, click its corresponding check box.
  • You may select a single or multiple name forms.
  • To deselect a name, unclick its corresponding check box.
  • To submit your selections, click Submit Query. The corresponding images will now be retrieved.
  • To cancel all selections, click Clear Query.
  • To conduct a new search, click New Search or Back on your toolbar to return to the initial search in order to refine the existing search terms.
  • Click Help to return to these instructions.
  • For further instructions, go to the Name Matching Images Screen

2. Name Index Browse:

The browse search is an alphabetical listing of all indexed personal names. In addition, there is a separate listing of all single nicknames and first names.

  • To conduct a search, select a letter of the alphabet and scroll through the Personal Name Index.
  • A number of the entries appear as single first names and nicknames only.  To access these names select and browse through the separate Single Nicknames and First Name List.

Browse Results

  • The Browse Name Index results screen states how many results matched the selected letter of the alphabet. This statement is followed by a list of name forms. A check box precedes each name.
  • To select a name, click the check box that precedes each name on the list.
  • To deselect a name, unclick its corresponding check box.
  • To cancel all selections, click Clear Query.
  • To activate the search, click Submit Query.
  • To conduct a new search, click New Search or Back on your toolbar to return to the previous alphabetical listing search screen.
  • Click Help to return to these instructions

Name Matching Images Screen:

  • Once you have submitted your name form selections in either the name search or browse functions, the system will produce a list of every image in which that name form was indexed. This list appears on the Matching Images Screen. For every name form retrieved a results statement indicates how many images are available for that particular name, which is followed by a list of images, each identified by its Sovereignty Commission Records Identification Number (SCR ID#).
  • To access each image, click on the SCR ID#.
  • To return to the previous listing, click Back on the toolbar.
  • To conduct a new search, click New Search
  • Click Help to return to these instructions.

Be Aware:

  • A name may have been indexed on several pages within a single document so that multiple image SCR ID#s may lead to the same document.
  • Some physical pages had to be broken down and scanned into parts or scanned at different settings, resulting in multiple versions of a single page. Due to this breakdown a single physical page may contain several images.
  • The matching Images Results list for each name form selected sorts numerically by SCR ID# components (classification, folder, subfolder, volume, document, page, part, version). However, to expedite retrieval, result sets above 250 matches will NOT be sorted.

Image Screen:(see example)

Once you have selected an image in either the name or folder search functions, the system will retrieve the image. In addition to the actual scanned page the image screen also includes some or all of the following notes:

  • SCR ID # listed at the top of the screen
  • Date viewed
  • Number of pages in document
  • Rebuttal Cross-Reference Statement, which indicates whether the page includes the name of a respondent who submitted rebuttal material
  • Scanning Comments, which indicate the condition, title, or some other information about the original supplied by the archivist
  • Page navigation functions [First Page, Next Page, Previous Page, Next Part, Previous Part, Next Version, Previous Version] that in a document with multiple pages/parts/versions enable movement within the document
  • Page Magnification/Zoom a printer-friendly function
  • Use the page navigation functions to move within a document of pages/parts/versions.
  • Use the scroll bar on the right of the screen to move within the page.
  • Use the page magnification/zoom functions to enlarge or decrease the size of the image on the screen. Several size options are available. The image will automatically be retrieved at the normal size. To increase the viewing magnification select the size [20%, 40%, 60%, 80% 100%] from the drop-down box provided and click the Change Image Zoom button to activate the function. To revert to the lesser magnification either click the Back button on the toolbar or select the smaller size from the drop-down box and click the Change Image Zoom button to activate the reversal.
  • To print the image and supplied notes, use the Print function on the toolbar. The image will automatically print out at the viewing size currently selected. Depending on the size of the image and the selected magnification this may not fit onto a single page, either horizontally or vertically. A printer friendly option is also available. The printer friendly option reduces the size of the image, which in most cases should fit into a single page. To print at the printer friendly size, first select the printer friendly option from the drop-down box and click the Change Image Zoom button to activate the function then use the print function on the toolbar.
  • To return to the Matching Images Screen click Back on the toolbar or click Go on the toolbar and select List of Requested Images.
  • To return to search results list screen click Back on the toolbar or click Go on the toolbar and depending on your current search, select one of the following:
    • Results of Sovereignty Commission Online Name Search
    • Results of Sovereignty Commission Online Name List
  • To conduct a new search, click New Search.
  • Click Help to return to these instructions.

Be Aware:

  • The quality of the originals varied widely. For details on image size, format and archivist notes on the scanning process consult the General and Technical Information page.
  • Some pages will include court-approved redactions, which appear as distinct solid black boxes that obscure portions of text or photographs. For an explanation of redactions, see the General and Technical Information page.
  • Magnification may not improve legibility of the image. Under magnification, the image is made larger but not enhanced or sharpened in any way. Every effort has been made to make the image legible at the normal size. Any time a size is selected from the page magnification function, a statement in parenthesis giving the current magnification will display to the right of the Change Image Zoom button.
  • The printer-friendly option reduces the size of the image, and may result in decreased legibility on the printout.
  • Printer configuration varies considerably.
  • Pages that are too wide to print on a single page under normal magnification may fit by altering the page setup from portrait to landscape.

3. Folder Search:

The folder search consists of a folder title search and a folder number search.

Folder Title Search

  • To conduct a folder title search, enter a folder title or portion.
  • To refine a search, enter a classification and/or folder number in the appropriate fields.
  • To cancel all selections, click Clear Query.
  • To activate the search, click Submit Query.
  • Click Help to return to these instructions.

Be Aware:

  • The folder title search is a keyword search within the folder title. This search is very limited. It does NOT search the subject contents of a folder but merely exactly matches your search term with terms in the folder titles.
  • The search mechanism is NOT case-sensitive.
  • The folder title search is designed to be inclusive. The search mechanism automatically places a wild card at the beginning and end of each search term and will retrieve all titles that include that search term.

Folder Number Search

  • To conduct a folder number search, enter a classification and/or a folder number in the appropriate fields.
  • To refine a search, enter a subfolder and/or a volume number in the appropriate fields.
  • To cancel all selections, click Clear Query.
  • To activate the search, click Submit Query.
  • Click Help to return to these instructions.

Be Aware:

  • Classification and folder number may be searched independently.
  • An independent folder number search will retrieve all the folders with that number irrespective of classification.
  • It is not possible to conduct independent searches by subfolder letter or volume number. In rare instances a subfolder was created by the Commission with the addition of the letter "A" to the folder number.

Folder Search Results:

  • The Folder Search Results Screen states how many results matched the search criteria.  If the search was unsuccessful, this statement will read: Your query retrieved 0 results.
  • Click New Search to conduct a new search or Back on your toolbar to return to the initial search in order to refine the existing search terms.
  • In a successful search the results statement is followed by a list of folder titles that matched the search criteria. A check box precedes each folder title.
  • If the list exceeds the space in the screen a scroll bar will appear on the right side of the screen.
  • To select a folder, click its corresponding check box.
  • You may select a single or multiple folders.
  • To deselect a folder, unclick its corresponding check box.
  • To submit your selections, click Submit Query. The corresponding images will now be retrieved.
  • To cancel all selections, click Clear Query.
  • To conduct a new search, click New Search or Back on your toolbar to return to the initial search in order to refine the existing search terms.
  • Click Help to return to these instructions.
  • For further instructions, go to the Folder Matching Images Screen

4. Folder Title Browse:

The browse search consists of an alphabetical listing of all folder titles.

  • To conduct a search, select a letter of the alphabet and scroll through the Folder Title Browse.

Browse Results

  • The Folder Title Browse results screen states how many results matched the selected letter of the alphabet. This statement is followed by a list of name forms. A check box precedes each name.
  • To select a folder, click the check box that precedes each folder title on the list.
  • To deselect a folder, unclick its corresponding check box.
  • To cancel all selections, click Clear Query.
  • To activate the search, click Submit Query.
  • To conduct a new search, click New Search or Back on your toolbar to return to the previous alphabetical listing search screen.
  • Click Help to return to these instructions.

Folder Matching Images Screen:

Once you have submitted your folder selections in either the folder name & number or browse searches the system will produce a list of images for that folder. This list appears on the Matching Images Screen. For every folder retrieved a statement indicates how many images are available for that particular folder, which is followed by a list of the corresponding folder id#. Every page in a document is individually listed.

  • To access each page click on the SCR ID#
  • To conduct a new search click New Search or Back on your toolbar to return to the previous alphabetical listing search screen.
  • Click Help to return to these instructions.

Be Aware:

  • Some physical pages had to be broken down and scanned into parts or scanned at different settings resulting in multiple versions of a single page. Due to this breakdown a single physical page may comprise several images.
  • For rebuttal material, the first image listed is the explanatory archivist's note.

Image Screen:(see example)

Once you have selected an image in either the name or folder search functions the system will retrieve the image. In addition to the actual scanned page the image screen also includes some or all of the following notes:

  • SCR ID # listed at the top of the screen
  • Date viewed
  • Number of pages in document
  • Rebuttal Cross-Reference Statement, which indicates whether the page includes the name of a respondent who submitted rebuttal material.
  • Scanning Comments, which indicate the condition, title or some other information about the original supplied by the archivist.
  • Page navigation functions [First Page, Next Page, Previous Page, Next Part, Previous Part, Next Version, Previous Version] that in a document with multiple pages/parts/versions enable movement within the document.
  • Page Magnification/Zoom and printer friendly functions

  • Use the page navigation functions to move within a document of pages/parts/versions.
  • Use the scroll bar on the right of the screen to move within the page.
  • Use the page magnification/zoom functions to enlarge or decrease the size of the image on the screen. Several size options are available. The image will automatically be retrieved at the normal size. To increase the viewing magnification select the size [20%, 40%, 60%, 80% 100%] from the drop-down box provided and click the Change Image Zoom button to activate the function. To revert to the lesser magnification either click the Back button on the toolbar or select the smaller size from the drop-down box and click the Change Image Zoom button to activate the reversal.
  • To print the image and supplied notes use the Print function on the toolbar. The image will automatically print out at the viewing size currently selected. Depending on the size of the image and the selected magnification this may not fit onto a single page, either horizontally or vertically. A printer friendly option is also available. The printer friendly option reduces the size of the image, which in most cases should fit into a single page. To print at the printer friendly size, first select the printer friendly option from the drop-down box and click the Change Image Zoom button to activate the function then use the print function on the toolbar.
  • To return to the Matching Images Screen screen click Back on the toolbar or click Go on the toolbar and select List of Requested Images.
  • To return to search results list screen click Back on the toolbar or click Go on the toolbar and depending on your current search, select one of the following:
    • Results of Sovereignty Commission Online Folder Search
    • Results of Sovereignty Commission Online Folder List
    • Results of Sovereignty Commission Online Rebuttal Search
  • To conduct a new search click New Search.
  • Click Help to return to these instructions.

Be Aware:

  • The quality of the originals varied widely. For details on image size, format and archivist notes on the scanning process consult the General and Technical Information page.
  • Some pages will include court-approved redactions, which appear as distinct solid black boxes that obscure portions of text or photographs. For an explanation of redactions, see the General and Technical Information page.
  • Magnification may not improve legibility of the image. Under magnification, the image is made larger but not enhanced nor sharpened in any way. Every effort has been made to make the image legible at the normal size. Any time a size is selected from the page magnification function, a statement in parenthesis giving the current magnification will display to the right of the Change Image Zoom button.
  • Magnification may not improve legibility of the image. Under magnification, the image is made larger but not enhanced nor sharpened in any way. Every effort has been made to make the image legible at the normal size.
  • The printer friendly option reduces the size of the image, which may result in decreased legibility on the printout.
  • Printer configuration varies considerably.
  • Pages that are too wide to print on a single page under normal magnification may fit by altering the page setup from portrait to landscape.

5. Rebuttal Search:

Rebuttal Folders may be accessed either through a general folder search using classification 50 or by using the Rebuttal Search function. The Rebuttal Search consists of a drop-down listing of all 10 rebuttal respondents.

  • To select a respondent highlight the name.
  • To activate the search click Submit Query.
  • Click Help to return to these instructions.

Be Aware:

  • Rebuttal material was submitted by privacy respondents in accordance with the court's privacy and disclosure provisions. For an explanation of rebuttal files see the General and Technical Information page.
  • MDAH assigned rebuttal folders classification number 50. This number has no significance beyond its administrative function to separate this new material from the actual records created by the Commission.
  • The court did not require MDAH to index rebuttals for personal names. However, in accordance with the court's directive every page in which the name of a rebuttal respondent appears includes a note, which identifies the existence of and folder identification number for that respondent's rebuttal material.

Rebuttal Search Results:

  • The Rebuttal Search Results Screen begins with a statement indicating how many results matched the search criteria.
  • Click New Search to conduct a new search or Back on your toolbar to return to the initial search in order to refine the existing search terms.
  • The results statement is followed by a list of folder titles that matched the search criteria. A check box precedes each folder title.
  • If the list exceeds the space in the screen a scroll bar will appear on the right-hand side of the screen.
  • To select a folder click its corresponding check box.
  • You may select a single or multiple folders.
  • To deselect a folder unclick its corresponding check box.
  • To submit your selections click Submit Query. The corresponding images will now be retrieved.
  • To cancel all selections click Clear Query.
  • To conduct a new search click New Search or Back on your toolbar to return to the initial search in order to refine the existing search terms.
  • Click Help to return to these instructions.
  • For further instructions go to the Folder Matching Images Screen

6. Photograph Search:

In 2006 re-scanned photographs were made available in a parallel database. The new scans are individually described and can be searched in the following ways:

  1. Browse
  2. Keyword
  3. Geographic Location Search

Please be aware that photograph searches will NOT retrieve items from the original Sovereignty Commission database that was compiled by MDAH to meet the provisions of American Civil Liberties Union v. Fordice, 969 F.Supp. 403 (S.D.Miss.1994). Each retrieved new photographic scan is displayed with metadata that contains links back to the first scan and related documents and folders in the original database.

Browse:

The Browse function presents a thumbnail listing of photographs in SCRID# order, displayed with corresponding Unique Resource Identifier.

  • Click on a thumbnail to select a specific image.
  • Click on New Search or Back on the toolbar to conduct a new search
  • Click Help to return to these instructions.

Keyword Search:

The keyword function retrieves images with descriptive metadata that matches your search term.

  • Enter a search term (personal name, corporate name, topical term), date or Unique Resource Identifier.
  • Refine the search by location as applicable, see Search Tips: Keyword/geographic location
  • Click GO to activate the search.
  • The search will retrieve a thumbnail listing of images matching your search term. Click on a thumbnail to select a specific image.
  • Click on New Search or Back on the toolbar to conduct a new search
  • Click Help to return to these instructions

Keyword Search Tips

Please be aware that while the keyword function is simple and easy to use, like all "any word" searches it is extremely broad and inclusive and may retrieve images that are not relevant to your intended query. To refine your searches try these suggestions:

Keyword/Name Searches:

The re-scanned images were indexed for personal names. Names were either located on the item or derived from supporting documentation. Searching for a specific named individual will be enhanced by knowing how personal names were indexed and formed. Personal names are included and searchable in the following descriptive metadata elements:

  • Sov. Com. Index: Personal Names = Indexed as appeared on item or supporting document, see Variant spellings. Name was entered according to the following formula: last name then comma then prefix then first name then initial(s) with periods then comma then suffix as applicable [example: King, Dr. Martin Luther, Jr.]. First names only are preceded by a comma [example: ,Jane]
  • Description = included in the descriptive narrative as they appeared on the item or supporting document, see Variant spellings. Name was entered in direct order [example: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.]
  • Subject Headings: Personal Names = formed according to Library of Congress Authorities [example: King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968]

Keyword/Geographic Location:

The location for most photographs was identified by some or all of the following: state, county and community. The counties for non-Mississippi photographs were not included.

  • To limit your keyword search to a specific geographic location, add the location (state, county, community) after your query term in the box provided. Your search will retrieve images with attached metadata that includes your query term and specified location [example: "identification Grenada" will retrieve only identification photographs (mug shots) for Grenada rather than all 392 mug shots)
  • Click GO to activate the search.
  • The search will retrieve a thumbnail listing of images matching your search term. Click on a thumbnail to select a specific image.
  • To search solely by geographic location use the Geographic Location Search
  • Click Help to return to these instructions

Keyword/Unique Resource Identifier Search:

Entering a Unique Resource Identifier in the keyword search enables a specific image to be retrieved.

Please be aware that unique resource identifiers are long multi-part numbers that are easy to transcribe incorrectly. For more information on their constituent parts see Filing and Numbering System and Photograph Unique Resource Identifier

For the purposes of searching re-scanned photographs it is not necessary to include the "ph" suffix at the end of the photograph URI. It will be necessary to include this suffix for any bibliographic citation to differentiate the photographic re-scans from the original scan.

Multiple images may be retrieved by only entering the early components of the URI. For example:

  • To select all the images in an entire classification: enter only the classification number.
  • To select all the images in a particular folder/volume: enter the classification, folder and volume#.
  • To select all images attached to a specific document: enter the classification, folder, volume# and document#.
  • To select all the images attached to a specific page: enter the classification, folder, volume#, document# and page#.

Keyword/Corporate Name Search:

The re-scanned photographs were individually described and indexed for corporate names. The names were either located on the item itself or derived from supporting documentation.

Searching for a specific entity will be enhanced by knowing how corporate names were indexed and formed. Below is a list of corporate names with abbreviations and alternate forms of the name in brackets.

Churches:
Baptist Church
Baptist Ministerial Alliance
Central Methodist Church
Episcopal Church

Educational Institutions:
Delta State University [DSU]
Highlander Folk School (Monteagle, Tenn.)
Howard University
Jackson State University [JSU/Campbell College/Jackson College]
Millsaps College
Mississippi School for the Blind and Deaf
Mississippi Valley State University [MVSU/Mississippi Vocational College]
Royal Street High School (Hattiesburg)
Tennessee State University
Tougaloo College
University of California, Berkeley
University of Texas
Weschler Junior High School (Meridian)

Entities
Continental Trailways, inc.
Greyhound Corporation
Greenville Air Force Base
Mississippi Freedom Project
Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission
Southern Regional Council Voter Education Project
Walgreens (Firm)

Organizations:
American Nazi Party
Citizens Committee to Preserve American Freedom
Congress of Racial Equality [CORE]
Council of Federated Organizations (U.S.) [COFO]
Delta Ministry
Free Speech Movement (Berkeley, Calif.) [FSM]
Harvard Law School Civil Rights Committee
Guild Committee to Assist Southern Lawyers
Ku Klux Klan [KKK]
Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party [MFDP]
Nation of Islam (Chicago, Ill.)
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People [NAACP]
National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America [NCC]
National Lawyers Guild
National Maritime Union AFL-CIO
Republic of New Africa (Organization) [RNA]
Southern Christian Education Fund
Southern Christian Leadership Conference [SCLC]
Southern Conference Education Fund [SCEF]
Southern Farmer
Southern Governors' Conference
Southern Regional Council
Spartacist League of the U.S.
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (U.S.) [SNCC]
Young Socialist Alliance [YSA]
Young Women's Christian Association [YWCA]

Keyword/Date Search:

Dates for the re-scanned images were either located on the item or derived from supporting documents.

Date searches will be enhanced by knowing how dates are formed. Dates were entered as follows:
yyyy-mm-dd (complete date identified)
yyyy-mm (year and month identified)
yyyy (year identified)
yyy (decade identified)

Keyword/Topical Terms Search:

Library of Congress Subject Headings were assigned to individual re-scanned images as applicable. In addition, the keyword search will also access the narrative description text for each image that includes common descriptive terms used by the processing archivist, which are not authorized LCSHs. Commonly used descriptive terminology includes the following:

  • application
  • correspondence
  • crowd
  • document
  • Freedom Rider
  • march
  • marchers
  • mug shot
  • orientation
  • protest
  • protestors
  • rally
  • sit-in

Geographic Location Search:

The Geographic Location Search enables a search for an image by its identified location. The location for most photographs was identified by some or all of the following: state, county and community. The counties for non-Mississippi photographs were not included. Please be aware that no location was specified for 90 images, although some of these have suggested location information that is searchable in a more general keyword query, see Keyword/Geographic Location search tips.

  • Select either a state, county or community from the drop-down boxes provided
  • Click GO to activate the search
  • The search will retrieve a thumbnail listing of images matching your location. Click on a thumbnail to select a specific image
  • Click Help to return to these instructions

Photograph Search Results Screen
The Photograph Search Results Screen begins with a statement indicating how many results matched the search criteria expressed as the number of images retrieved.

The statement is followed by a thumbnail listing of images displayed in numerical order with their corresponding Unique Resource Identifier

  • Click on a thumbnail to select a specific image
  • Click New Search or Back on the toolbar to conduct a new search or refine existing search terms
  • Click Help to return to these instructions

Photograph Image View Screen:
The photograph Image View Screen begins with the Unique Resource Identifier for the selected image. The image is displayed below with its corresponding metadata:

The metadata elements for Subject include links to other photographic re-scans indexed with those terms.

  • Click on the highlighted links to retrieve other images indexed with the same name (sov com personal, personal, corporate, location, or subject headings)
  • Click Back on the toolbar to return to the initially selected photographic image
  • Click Help to return to these instructions.

The metadata element Relation includes links back to the original Sov. Com. scan, related document(s) and folder.

  • Click on the highlighted links to retrieve either the original scan, related document(s) or the folder
  • Click Back on the toolbar to return to the initially selected photographic image
  • Click Help to return to these instructions.

The following metadata elements constitute links to information that is applicable to all photograph re-scans and is located in General & Technical Information:

  • Bibliographic Citation
  • Additional Physical Format Available
  • Rights Management
  • Image format information
    • Click on the highlighted link to access the information in General & Technical
    • Click Back on the toolbar to return to the selected photographic image
    • Click Help to return to these instructions

Below the image display on the Image View Screen is an option to view a larger version of the display image

  • Click on Larger Image to retrieve this additional version
  • The larger version is displayed with its corresponding Unique Resource Identifier
  • Click on Return to smaller version or Back on the toolbar to return to the initial image display
  • Click Help to return to these instructions

The Image View Screen concludes with the New Search and Help functions and a viewed on date statement

  • Click on New Search to conduct a new search
  • Click on Help to return to these instructions