WDYTYA at the Archives

Every genealogy enthusiast is eagerly awaiting the return of the television series, Who Do You Think You Are?

The show features celebrities who, with the help of professional researchers, discover fascinating things about their ancestors. This year’s celebrities are Christina Applegate, Kelly Clarkson, Cindy Crawford, Zooey Deschanel, Chelsea Handler, Chris O’Donnell, Jim Parson and Trisha Yearwood.

Once aired by NBC and picked up by The Learning Channel, the eight new episodes will begin on Tuesday, July 23. Hopefully, TLC will air complete online episodes — as did NBC —  for those who do not have cable.

In previous years the Georgia Archives has hosted Spike Lee and Paula Deen. In preparation for the upcoming season singers Kelly Clarkson and Trisha Yearwood spent time at the Archives.  Yearwood, a Monticello native, discovered records at the Archives proving that she has Georgia ancestors dating back to the 1700s.

WDYTYA will air at 9 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.tlc.com.

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A New Day at the Archives

Today begins a new era for the Georgia Archives.  Since 1931 the Archives has been a part of the Secretary of State’s office.

The Archives now operates as a part of the University System of Georgia, led by the 17-member Georgia Board of Regents and Chancellor Hank Huckaby.

Prior to becoming Chancellor, Huckaby was a teacher and administrator in the University System and taught at private colleges and universities. He also served in the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, as well as commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and as executive director of the Georgia Residential Finance Authority. He served in the Georgia House of Representatives from District 113.

The Archives will be under the direct supervision of USG Executive Vice Chancellor of Administration Steve Wrigley. Wrigley formerly was vice president for governmental relations at the University of Georgia and served as senior policy adviser for Gov. Zell Miller.

The Board of Regents has established a two-man Georgia Archives committee made up of Regents George Hooks and Larry Walker.

Hooks, a great friend of genealogists and historians, is the outgoing long-time state senator from Georgia’s 14th District. He is a sixth-generation native of Sumter County and resides in Americus.

Walker served in the Georgia House of Representatives for more than 30 years. He lives in Perry.

While the Secretary of State remains the keeper of the Great Seal of Georgia and the custodian of the state flag and other state symbols, the Archives is the depository for the state’s most historic and important documents. The excellent professionals at the Archives literally are the keepers and protectors of the state’s history.

The Georgia Genealogical Society sends the Archives best wishes for a smooth and successful transition and a bright future.

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More Good News From the Archives

At today’s Lunch and Learn program, Georgia Archives Director Christopher Davidson announced that the Archives will be adding staff, increasing hours for part-time employees and, yes, opening to the public for two additional days per week.

Here are the highlights:

  • Hiring three additional professionals
  • Increasing part-time staff hours
  • Opening to the public on Wednesdays and Thursdays beginning July 31. Weekly hours will be Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Increasing conservation and processing activities of the Archives collections

The Archives will report to Steve Wrigley, Executive Vice Chancellor Administration, of the University System of Georgia.

Thanks to all the wonderful volunteers who helped make this happen, as well as Gov. Nathan Deal and the members of the Georgia legislature.

Vivian Price Saffold


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Two New Archives Positions Advertised

The University System of Georgia yesterday posted two new job openings at the Georgia Archives.

Archivist I

Job description: Under general supervision, provide a wide variety of services in support of a department. May provide supervision to non-exempt staff.


Job description:Under general supervision, provide a wide variety of services in support of a department. May provide supervision to non-exempt staff.

Anyone interested in these positions may search the USG database by going to this Web site:


Vivian Price Saffold

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Archives Update at Lunch and Learn

     Georgia Archives Director Chris Davidson will give an update on the transition of the Archives to the University System of Georgia during June’s Lunch and Learn program.
     Archivist Kayla Barrett also will be on the program, presenting a “refresher”  on Using the Collections of the Georgia Archives.

The event will be held on Friday, June 14 from noon to 1 p.m. at the Georgia Archives, 5800 Jonesboro Road, Morrow.

     Monthly Lunch and Learn programs are free, and no reservations are required. Participants are invited to bring lunches and listen to presentations on a wide variety subjects.

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It’s Official… The Archives is Part of the University System

With the signing this afternoon by Gov. Nathan Deal of House Bill 287, the Georgia Archives officially moves to the University System of Georgia.

About two dozen Archives supporters, including several members of the Georgia Genealogical Society, attended the signing. Among the attendees was Rep. Matt Hatchett (R-150) from Dublin, who was the principal author of the bill and an avid supporter of the Archives during the 2013 legislative session.

After the short ceremony, people left the governor’s office to make way for the next signing, stopping to chat and say their good-byes on the way out of the capitol.

They were greeted with a surprise when they exited the capitol. All alone, walking around the capitol, was Morrow Mayor J. B. Burke. The mayor, a great friend of the Georgia Archives and the Georgia Genealogical Society, was carrying a sign thanking the governor and Archives advocates for their support in making the transition a reality. “This is a great day for Georgia,” exclaimed.

His unexpected one-man parade served as a perfect exclamation point on a hopeful day for the Georgia Archives.

Vivian Price Saffold

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A New Beginning… Bill Signing Scheduled

Gov. Nathan Deal will sign House Bill 287 on Monday, May 6 at 1:30 p.m. in the governor’s office at the state capitol.

The bill transfers the Georgia Archives to the University System of Georgia from the Georgia Secretary of State.

Anyone who is interested may gather in the governor’s office. Of course, not all of us will be invited into the inner office for the official signing and photograph, but we certainly can be there.

I know it’s short notice, but it would be great to see all those same stalwart volunteers who filled the governor’s office last fall back again… this time to celebrate this momentous occasion.

Vivian Price Saffold

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Sine Die… Many Thanks

The 2013 session of the Georgia General Assembly is history.

At the last minute the Georgia Archives achieved a tiny, but significant victory. The House-Senate Conference Committee on the Fiscal Year 2014 budget chose to support the Senate figure of $300,000,  $75,881 more than the House recommended.

No, in terms of money it’s certainly not quite as much as we’d hoped for. The Archives still will struggle. While the amount may be disappointing, it cannot be surprising, given the state of the economy and the demands on the state budget.

But in terms of advocacy, the value of our campaign cannot be overstated. Repeatedly during the legislative session, lawmakers commented on the strong effort being made by Archives supporters.

The fact that the conferees chose the higher Senate budget number confirms that in the waning days of the session Georgia Archives supporters spoke and legislators listened.

Thanks to all those who have worked, worried and prayed on behalf of the institution we love.

Special thanks to Elizabeth Olson, co-chairman of the Campaign to Save the Georgia Archives, as well as to all GGS members and members of genealogical and historical societies across the state.

Thanks to state legislators who also proved themselves to be Archives advocates: most especially to Rep. Terry England, also to Reps. Earl Ehrhart, Jan Jones and Larry O’Neal and Sens. Jack Hill, Buddy Carter, Ronnie Chance and David Shafer.
University System of Georgia Senior Vice Chancellor for External Affairs Tom Daniel deserves special recognition.

Thanks also to:

  • Archives Director Chris Davidson and Archivist Steve Engerrand, as well as former director David Carmicheal
  • University System of Georgia Regents Dean Alford and George Hooks, as well as University System of Georgia Associate Vice Chancellor for Planning and Implementation Shelley Nickel
  • Our DeKalb County friends John Hewitt of the DeKalb Champion and public relations professional Matthew Spaulding
  • Fred Moss and the Records Preservation and Access Committee of the Federation of Genealogical Societies
  • Packet stuffers, phone callers, letter writers and never-give-uppers
  • And, as always, the Georgia Genealogical Society’s great friend Gwinnett Graphics

The next order of business is to keep up with how the Archives fares under new leadership at the University System of Georgia.

And, of course, will start all over again with the 2014 session of the Georgia General Assembly.

Vivian Price Saffold

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Watch for News and Information Here

The General Assembly is in recess today in order to finish work on the state budget. Tomorrow is the final day of the 2014 session.

As you probably know, this blog is sponsored by the Georgia Genealogical Society. It was started with the goal of providing information about the crisis at the Georgia Archives. That goal will continue, with information and issues being posted as needed.

Beginning today, we also will use this blog to post information about GGS activities and other news of interest to the genealogical and related communities.



Today we feature an upcoming lecture sponsored by GGS and the Metro Atlanta Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society in conjunction with the Atlanta History Center.

African American genealogist Tony Burroughs will discuss his book,  Black Roots: A Beginner’s Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree, at the Atlanta History Center on Tuesday, April 2 at 8 p.m.

Attendees will discover how to trace, document, record and write family history using this easy-to-read, step-by-step authoritative guide. Black Roots highlights some of the special problems, solutions and sources unique to African Americans.

Admission is $5 for members, $10 non-members and free to AHC Insiders unless otherwise noted.  Reservations are required. Phone 404-814-4150 or reserve online at www.atlantahistorycenter.com. Click on the link in the calendar section.

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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


Rep. Jan Jones

340 State Capitol

Atlanta, GA 30334

404.656.5072 – Office

404.657.0498 – Fax


Rep. Larry O`Neal

338 State Capitol

Atlanta, GA 30334

404.656.5052 – Office


Sen. Ronnie Chance

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



Sen. Jack Hill

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



Sen. David Shafer

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


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