Archives Expanded Hours Begin July 15

The following was released on June 11 by the University System of Georgia, concerning expanded hours at the Georgia Archives:

The Georgia Archives will expand its hours of operation one additional day per week. Beginning July 15, the Archives will open on Tuesdays, in addition to operating Wednesday through Saturday. Hours of operation on all days are 8:30 a. m. to 5 p. m.

The Georgia Archives identifies, collects, manages, preserves, provides access and publicizes records and information of Georgia and its people and assists state and local government agencies with their records management.

The Georgia Archives was established in 1918 and was first housed in the State Capitol Building. The Georgia Archives moved to its current home at 5800 Jonesboro Road in Morrow in 2003.

In 2013 the Georgia Archives was transferred from the Georgia Secretary of State to the Board of Regents.

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Archives Update: Bigger Budget, Exciting Changes Ahead

Big changes are on their way to the Georgia Archives, thanks to the budget approved by the 2013-2014 session of the Georgia General Assembly.
House Bill 744 – the budget for Fiscal Year 2015 – includes an increase for the Archives of $476,041. Some $460,000 of that will allow the Archives to open to the public an additional day and to hire five full-time employees and three part-timers, according to Archives Director Christopher Davidson.
In addition, amendments to the Fiscal Year 2014 budget have allowed the Archives to get a head start on providing more services.
Following is a look at some of the improvements to expect.

• Long distance reference (e-mail and postal mail) – a service that was discontinued due to budget cuts – will be resumed “to some extent.” Staff will answer “reasonable requests.”

• A “real education program” will be developed, with a full-time education coordinator. Educational opportunities will be provided at the Archives, as well as in schools around the state.

• The Archives will be able to take in and process more records, including electronic records, and staff will be able to better advise agencies on how to manage electronic records. The Archives currently is accepting applications for an electronic records manager.

• The portion of the document-scanning project not funded by the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation (a sister organization to the Georgia Genealogical Society) that has languished in the recent past will pick up steam, providing more material for researchers in the Virtual Vault. For-pay services, such as providing scans and other format copies of materials, as resources become available.

Of course, it will take time to get staff hired and programs in place. However, some improvements already have been completed or are underway.

• The University System of Georgia information technology staff has improved the Archives Website, and the Archives now has a Facebook page. A Twitter account also is being considered.

• The USG now is responsible for maintenance and improvements to the building and grounds. Additional funding from a National Endowment for the Humanities grant has paid for updating lighting, the improvement that will be the most noticeable to the public. The change will save costs on operation and purchasing light bulbs. Lighting improvements have been completed in the Original Document Reading Area and are underway in the reading room. Improved lighting and climate control measures for the downstairs classrooms also are on the drawing board.

• Landscaping around the building has been improved, and the sprinkler system has been repaired.

Davidson cautioned that the Archives budget probably will not continue to increase at the pace set by the 2013-2014 legislative session, but that the agency’s budget should be stable in the coming years. Overall, he said he is “happy” about the Archives’ financial situation and “excited” about prospects for the future.
So many people are responsible for the dramatic turn-around – from Gov. Nathan Deal, Rep. Terry England, Sen. Jack Hill, USG Chancellor Henry Huckaby and the Board of Regents to Director Davidson, the Archives staff and the many supporters of the Archives. They deserve congratulations and thanks.
The last few years have proved that much can be accomplished when determined people act. Archives advocates now can breathe easier, but can never fail to be vigilant. The most supportive action now is to use the facility that almost was lost.

Vivian Price Saffold

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Legislative Session Should Be Good For Archives

This time last year Georgia Archives supporters were working hard to get much-needed funds back into the budget.

What a difference a year makes.

The 2013 Georgia legislature restored some funds, allowing the Archives to open four days a week. The Archives also was able to hire three new employees: a conservator, Kimberly Norman, most recently at Emory University; and two archivists, Allison Hudgins, most recently at the Cobb County Public Library System; and Jill Sweetapple, most recently at the DeKalb History Center.

Gov. Nathan Deal recently released his budget requests for Fiscal Year 2015.

The governor requested an increase of $476,041 for operating the Archives. The sum includes $460,000 to allow the Archives to open to the public five days a week and to hire six additional employees. The remaining funds would be used for adjustments to employees’ retirement, insurance and salaries.

In addition, the governor recommended an expenditure of $957,910 for maintenance of the Archives building. Archives director Christopher Davidson said he did not know whether the sum was a one-time expenditure to “catch up” with maintenance or an annual amount. He said the money would be used for energy and labor-saving measures, such as replacing outdated lighting.

The director said he anticipated that some of the funding would be appropriated through amended the FY14 budget and some included in the FY15 budget.

The budget still must go through the legislative process, which generally does not end until near the end of the session.

In his report, the governor stated that the purpose of the appropriation is “to maintain the state’s archives; document and interpret the history of the Georgia State Capitol building; and assist state agencies with adequately documenting their activities, administering their records management programs, scheduling their records, and transferring their non-current records to the State Records Center.”

The situation at the Archives will improve in the coming months, thanks in large part to the diligent actions of Archives supporters. However, everyone knows what can happen if advocates forget.

Contact your legislators at least once during this session, just to let them know we are still watching. Thank the lawmakers, Gov. Deal and the Board of Regents for their support. They will be watching, too. Now that the Archives will be open five days a week, it is important that researchers use the facility we all have worked so hard to save.

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Archives Needs More Researchers

This time last year the Georgia Archives needed the help of everyone who researches Georgia history and genealogy.

Thanks to the people of Georgia and around the world, the Archives has come light years in one short year. From the brink of closure to extra budget and extra public hours, the transformation has been dramatic.

The Archives is now open to the public four days a week – Wednesdays through Saturdays, from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Experts in Georgia history and genealogy are on hand to help. Additional staff has been hired. The permanent history exhibit, closed since last October, is now open again.

However, the budget challenges likely will never end.

The Archives needs your help again. The Archives needs researchers to visit the facility in Morrow. The Archives is now a part of the University System of Georgia. Officials of the USG and state lawmakers are monitoring Archives usage numbers in preparation for budget negotiations during the upcoming legislative session.

Responding to the need has mutually beneficial results. Even with all the ever-growing online services, only a tiny percentage of available records is on the Internet. The key to knocking a hole in your Georgia genealogy brick wall is more likely to be at the Archives than anywhere else.

The Archives collection includes all kinds of county records, – tax digests, wills, estate inventories and deeds, just to name a few – as well as books, manuscripts, personal papers and much more.

Plan a trip to the Georgia Archives today. The Archives will benefit. You will, too.

For more information on the Archives, visit http://www.georgiaarchives.org. Help in planning a visit can be found here: http://www.georgiaarchives.org/visit/.

Please note that the Web site currently is undergoing renovation due to the shift from the Secretary of State to the University System.

Vivian Price Saffold

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Georgia Archives and Genealogy Day

Georgia Archives and Genealogy Day will be held at the Georgia Archives on Saturday, Oct. 19. Admission is free, and no reservations are required. No lunch will be served.

The Georgia Archives is located at 5800 Jonesboro Road in Morrow.

Following is the schedule of talks:

9 a.m. — Preservation of Documents. Ann Frellsen, sponsored by SouthEast Regional Conservation Association  

10 a.m. –  Order in the Court: Genealogy at the Courthouse.  Susan Sloan, sponsored by Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Inc. Metro Atlanta Chapter

11 a.m. –  Taylor Grants: Transcribe Records—Make Money.  Vivian Price Saffold, sponsored by R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation

Noon –  Georgia’s Property Tax Digests and the Genealogist.  Joanne Smalley, sponsored by Georgia Genealogy Society

1 p.m. –  Changes in Genealogy Help Us Find the Same Old Ancestors. Kenneth H. Thomas, Jr., sponsored by Friends of Georgia Archives and History

2 p.m.  Current Events, Future Archives: The Role of SGA and GAM in Raising Awareness of Archives in Georgia. Courtney Chartier and Carol Waggoner-Angleton, sponsored by Society of Georgia Archivists

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Archives Month Proclamation Signing

Can you believe it has been a year since we all gathered at the state capitol for the signing of the 2012 Georgia Archives Month proclamation?

Last year Georgia Archives supporters had just learned of Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s plan to close the Archives to the public. Hundreds of angry people showed up at the governor’s proclamation signing event to protest the proposed closing.

Just as many people should show up this year, not to protest, but to thank Gov. Nathan Deal for his role in getting the Archives back on its feet — and to remind him that we will be diligent in supporting this great institution in the future.

The Georgia Archives Month proclamation signing is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 10. Attendees should gather in the governor’s office, Room 203 at the state capitol, at 10 a.m.

The number of people allowed to participate in the actual taking of the ceremonial photograph will be limited.

For more information on parking and directions:
Vivian Price Saffold

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Everyone is Invited

Welcome Back, Wednesday

Beginning Wednesday, July 31
the Georgia Archives will be increasing
its public access from two days to four each week.

Celebrate this momentous occasion
with a ribbon-cutting, refreshments, door prizes

and some Wednesday research.

Wednesday, July 31, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
5800 Jonesboro Road    Morrow, Ga.

sponsored by the Georgia Genealogical Society

Thanks to everyone who made this significant accomplishment possible!

New hours (including the research room):

Wednesdays-Saturdays from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

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