Category Archives: What You Can Do

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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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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One more time…

The full Senate approved its version of the state budget on Friday. This budget includes $300,000 for the Archives. This is still considerably lower than the amount requested by University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby, but almost $76,000 more than in the House version.

Of course, Archives supporters would prefer the Senate version.

I know many of you are weary of this struggle and weary of requests that you contact your legislators. You will be relieved to know that this will be the last request for this session.

A House-Senate conference committee will meet soon to reconcile the two budgets. Following is a list of conferees you can contact to support the Senate budget.

Rep. Terry England

245 State Capitol

Atlanta, GA 30334

404.463.2247 – Office

englandhomeport2@windstream.net

Rep. Jan Jones

340 State Capitol

Atlanta, GA 30334

404.656.5072 – Office

404.657.0498 – Fax

jan.jones@house.ga.gov

Rep. Larry O`Neal

338 State Capitol

Atlanta, GA 30334

404.656.5052 – Office

larry.oneal@house.ga.gov

Sen. Ronnie Chance

236 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone: (404) 463-1366
Fax: (404) 657-9887

ronnie.chance@senate.ga.gov

 

Sen. Jack Hill

234 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone: (404) 656-5038
Fax: (404) 657-7094

jack.hill@senate.ga.gov

 

Sen. David Shafer

321 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone: (404) 656-0048
Fax: (404) 463-5220

david.shafer@senate.ga.gov

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Now Is The Time…

Now is the time for all good Georgians to come to the aid of the Archives.

The legislature is in recess until Wednesday, March 20.  During the recess the Senate will be formulating the budget.

Please take time to call the Senators on the Senate Appropriations Committee. Ask that the full amount — $448,266 — requested by Chancellor Hank Huckaby be added to the Senate version of the budget.

Senate Appropriations Committee Members

Jack Hill                         Renee Unterman               Tim Golden

Don Balfour                  Buddy Carter                       Ronnie Chance

Bill Cowsert                  John Crosby                         Gail Davenport

Vincent Fort                 Steve Gooch                        Bill Heath

Judson Hill                   Bill Jackson                          Butch Miller

Jeff Mullis                    Jack Murphy                       Valencia Seay

David Shafer               Freddie Powell Sims         Cecil Staton

Horacena Tate           Curt Thompson                 Steve Thompson

Lindsey Tippins        Ross Tolleson                     John Wilkinson

Tommie Williams

Note: Sens. Carter, Chance, Cowsert, Davenport and Staton make up the Senate Higher Education Appropriations Committee.

Contact information can be found here:

http://www.senate.ga.gov/committees/en-US/committee.aspx?Committee=103&Session=23

Vivian Price Saffold

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Archives Update: On To The Senate

The closer it gets to the end of the legislative session the faster things move.

Before most people had had their first cup of coffee on Monday, one House of Representatives committee had met and approved a budget for the Georgia Archives. A second committee approved the budget Monday afternoon.

The House Appropriations Higher Education Subcommittee and the full Appropriations Committee agreed on a figure of $224,113 in addition to the $3,851,428 recommended by the governor. The additional amount is roughly half of what University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby recommended.

There is only one more step for any Archives legislation in the House of Representatives: approval of the budget by the full House.

The Senate will take up both the budget and House Bill 287 (the transfer bill) in the coming days.

The Senate will discuss House Bill 287 on Wednesday, March 13 at 3 p.m.

Preliminary meetings on the Senate’s version of the budget already are underway by members of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee.

The Senate, in its version of the budget, could recommend more than the House. As always, the budget will go to a House-Senate Conference Committee in order to development a budget both houses can support.

At this point, the only way to get more money for the Archives is to convince members of the Senate Appropriations Committee to recommend the full $448,266 that Chancellor Huckaby requested.

To all of those who wrote or called over the weekend or on Monday: your voices were heard. To all of those who have voiced support for the Archives over the last few months: you are making a difference.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Terry England said in his presentation of the budget on Monday that he had heard from “many, many, many” Archives supporters. No other budget issue rated such a comment from the chairman.

Keep up the great work.

Below is a list of Senate committee members:

Senate Appropriations Committee Members

Jack Hill                         Renee Unterman               Tim Golden

Don Balfour                 Buddy Carter                       Ronnie Chance

Bill Cowsert                 John Crosby                         Gail Davenport

Vincent Fort                Steve Gooch                        Bill Heath

Judson Hill                  Bill Jackson                          Butch Miller

Jeff Mullis                   Jack Murphy                       Valencia Seay

David Shafer              Freddie Powell Sims         Cecil Staton

Horacena Tate          Curt Thompson                 Steve Thompson

Lindsey Tippins       Ross Tolleson                     John Wilkinson

Tommie Williams

Note: Sens. Carter, Chance, Cowsert, Davenport and Staton make up the Senate Higher Education Appropriations Committee.

Contact information can be found here:

http://www.senate.ga.gov/committees/en-US/committee.aspx?Committee=103&Session=23

Vivian Price Saffold

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