13 May 2007

Amazing what you can find in Florida's archives

I have plenty of trouble finding things in my office among all the genealogy files, books, journals, conference materials and more. At times like that, I'm happy I'm not responsible for a major archive!

Here's a story from Florida about treasures in that state's archives.

When state archives manager Gerard Clark read a news story about a 16th century map recently auctioned off in London for a fortune, he immediately knew he'd seen the same document before.

Tucked away in a secure room a few floors above the secretary of state's office, the same chart was stored away in a box, amazingly preserved and kept amid hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of other records detailing Florida's history.

Most of the documents, such as legislative committee records dating back decades, are kept on row after row of shelves and can be pulled on demand for researchers. Others, such as the St. Augustine map drawn in 1588 and a letter Andrew Jackson wrote to one of Florida's territorial governors, are rarely seen by the public. ...

The archives includes many items useful to those tracing family history. It also has 800,000 photographs, "including an aerial shot of Key West taken in 1849," and film and audio recordings of Florida's history.

Many holdings are online at the state's Florida Memory site; to learn more about the state archives, click here.

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