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Posted: October 4, 2012 9:44 p.m.

Blakeslee: The imminent closing of Ga. Archives

For 19 weeks now you have been learning with me how to research your family's history. Have you caught the bug yet?

Let's just do a quick recap of the many beginning steps needed in family researching:
•Interviewing the relatives
•Filling out family forms
•Searching the Internet
•Finding the best paid and free websites on the Internet
•Learning many different resources available
•Newspapers as a resource
•Different search techniques
•Surviving the road trip to your ancestral home
•Resource checklist
•Local and National organizations - The Georgia and National Archives
•Breaking down Brick Walls
•Records at the Courthouse

The National Archives in Morrow is a resource of information and I elaborated as to what documents the institution holds.

Today, let's talk about the Georgia Archives located next to the National Archives.
The Georgia Archives is a great resource for genealogists, family researchers, historians, etc. The archives identifies and preserves Georgia's most valuable historical documents. It has more than 10,000 state and county maps, 20,000 books and periodicals, 80,000 microfilm reels, 260,000,000 documents, 100,000 photographs and 1,500,000
land grants and plats (as described in their brochure).

Not only does it service genealogists and family researchers but has served over 1,900,000 people at the archives annually through:
•on-site research
•ask an archivist email
•Archives and Capitol Museum tours
•training/workshops
•Internet (virtual vault)

As family researchers, we can go to the Georgia Archives and look at the microfilm records of churches our family attended, history of the county they lived and worked in.

Court records such as wills are all on microfilm. We are able to print out the documents or save them to a flash drive. These are just a few services that the Georgia Archives provides.

Unfortunately, the Georgia Archives is set to close Nov. 1.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp said the reason is the requirement for a 3 percent budget reduction for all state agencies. Secretary Kemp has chosen to take the required cut $750,000 entirely and only from the State Archives.

This state institution was among the first State Archives established (1918) and has won many awards for its programs and state of the art archival facility.

It has been a respected leader in archives, government record programs and most important to us as family researchers.

The budget cuts over the years has been devastating to the public by reducing hours the facility is opened and reducing staff. In closing the Archives entirely, Georgia will be the only State Archives without public access hours.

You can help keep the Georgia Archives opened by writing, calling or visiting the governor and secretary of state and asking them to:
•Restore a minimum of $1 million to the Georgia Archives budget to return its operation to five days a week of public access hours and eliminate projected staff cuts
•Reverse the Secretary of State's budget cut to the Archives by Nov. 1 to ensure uninterrupted service to the public.
Below is the contact information for Governor Deal and Secretary of State Kemp:

Governor Nathan Deal
206 Washington Street
Suite 203,
State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
(404) 656-1776
Fax (404) 657-7332
Email "contact us" form at gov.georgia.gov/contact-us-0

Secretary of State
Brian Kemp
214 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
(404) 656-2881
Fax (404) 656-0513
Email sos.georgia.gov/cgi-bin/email.asp

It is important as a citizen of Georgia and a family researcher to let the governor and secretary of state know how much the Georgia Archives is needed and wanted.
If you have any questions or concerns, please email me at genealogy.loveofthehunt@gmail.com.


Ellen Blakeslee is a professional genealogist living in Covington. You can email her at genealogy.loveofthehunt@gmail.com with any questions or concerns.

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