Friday, January 22, 2010

A window to the past -- local area records

According to an article published recently on, "A window to the past," the Rutherford County Archives "holds the community's history" through its preservation of county government records, enabling people to do everything from legal work to genealogy research. Although focused on one Tennessee county, this story carries a broader message: be sure examine holdings at the local level to see what information is available. Buried treasure relating to your ancestors may be out there just waiting to be discovered, as Rutherford County archivist John Lodi explains.

"The records record history, so when it was times of enslavement, we have those records. When it was times of antebellum plantations, Old South, we have those records. We can document the civil rights movement through our records. So we definitely keep up with the social history of Rutherford County and Murfreesboro. It's very fascinating."

While not everything a locality holds is digitized, a multitude of potentially valuable materials are available -- the task is finding out what records are available and how to access them. Most counties, libraries, and archives have websites . . . and check back often. Also, don't forget local genealogy societies, which make it their business to know the local area and can be very helpful.

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