Celebrate Archives Month in October

MDAH is making it easier than ever to learn about your family’s history by extending its hours in October to celebrate Archives Month. On Tuesday, October 2, and Tuesday, October 23, the Winter Building will remain open until 8 p.m. Not only does MDAH have the world’s most extensive collection of materials relating to the state, but the department’s historians and librarians can provide one-on-one assistance to patrons who are new to genealogy.

“Our visitors can narrow down their searches before they ever come to the building by using our online catalog,” said reference librarian De’Niecechsi Layton. “It’s a great way to get familiar with the collection from the comfort of their own homes.”

There is no cost to use the archives. Each year thousands of people visit the state archives to research their family history using federal census data, marriage and death records, wills, deeds, county histories, church records, newspapers, and genealogical materials from surrounding states.

“If you are beginning a family search, start with who and what you know in the present and work back,” Layton said. “It’s easier to follow the line and see the relationships.”

If you are not able to visit the Winter Building, reference staff are able to answer many basic questions by telephone, 601-576-6876, or email, refdesk@mdah.state.ms.us. Regular library hours are Monday 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Tuesday–Friday 8 a.m.–5 p.m., and Saturday 8 a.m.–1 p.m. The Mississippi Department of Archives and History collects, preserves, and provides access to the historical resources of the state. The William F. Winter Archives and History Building is located at 200 North Street in Jackson.

First-time visitors should bring a photo ID for their researcher card, which also serves as a debit card for the photocopy machines. Standard photocopies can be made for 20 cents per page, while staff-produced copies are 25 cents per page. Credit can be added to researcher cards in $1, $5, and $10 increments.

Archives Month activities are sponsored by MDAH, the Mississippi Historical Records Advisory Board (MHRAB), and the Society of Mississippi Archivists through a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. For more information on these events call 601-576-6850 or go to www.msarchivists.org.

The public is also invited to nominate organizations and people whose efforts help identify, preserve, and provide access to Mississippi’s historical records for the 2013 MHRAB Awards for Excellence. The Mississippi Historical Records Advisory Board award categories are Archival Program Development, Documenting Mississippi’s History, Using Historical Records in Grades K-12, and Using Historical Records in Higher Education.

Nomination forms are available at http://mdah.state.ms.us/admin/mhrab/programs.php. For more information contact Melanie Collins at 601-576-6810 or mcollins@mdah.state.ms.us.

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