Forgotten Trails: Trip to see Archives enlightening

Published 4:07 pm Wednesday, November 7, 2007

By Staff
I took an interesting trip in October. I have mentioned before about the work the people of the Church of Latter Day Saints do to preserve records. A few years ago a project was established to have someone in each county to work on loose records. Bill Williams, the president of the Escambia County Genealogy Society, headed the group to take these records, unfold them and spread them out. Then the work of the LDS took over, microfilming the documents, thereby saving them for future generations.
I never had the time to help very much, but recently I was invited to Montgomery where we were treated to a couple of seminars and a luncheon in the Alabama Department of Archives and History. It was a well-planned and informative day. The speakers gave good talks about the conservation of fabrics, books and photos and the luncheon was catered and very good.
This is the first time I had been to the archives since they added the new wing. It is a beautiful addition. More resources are available to the average researcher, and there is much more tucked away in other rooms.
We were given a guided tour of the storage rooms and it is amazing what all they have there. There are rooms filled with furniture, newspapers and books. Many of the books are kept in a climate-controlled section that has sliding bookshelves that store in a way that conserves the most space.
On the second floor (at least I think that is where it was), it was just a very large room with little in it. It is not finished yet but the plans are posted around the room giving everyone the chance to see how it probably will look when it is finished. This room is reserved for Alabama History and the people in charge at the archives want the input of Alabama citizens.
The workers are fully aware that what has happened in Alabama, not only 150 years ago, but what is happening today, should be documented now. Time only makes it harder to gather the things they want to document.
They are actively seeking representative materials to document: