Sunday, September 30, 2012

30 September 1911: Amazing News in Pictures

On this day in 1911, the Athens Banner reported that "the newest thing in motion pictures" would surely lead to news that wasn't in the newspaper but available with the 
press of a button at the head of his bed and in a frame over the mantel there will appear in motion pictures of natural color the gleanings of the happenings of the day before recorded by the photo-reporter.

 (click to enlarge image)

At the time, photographs were not common in the Athens newspapers. There may be a reproduced publicity photo to promote a play or film coming to town, but rarely were local people or events depicted in the paper as anything other than text. Photographs of local people and places appeared only in special issues about the city's progress, and even then, these were portraits of people and unoccupied photographs of rooms or buildings. The "action shot" was not part of local journalism, so a moving picture was a huge change from what even the most devoted Athens news junkie might encounter.

Newsreels were quite popular in the coming decades, though newspapers did not go out of business even when one could push a button and watch "natural color" news from one's own bed.  Several different companies would create the news reels, with Athens especially excited by one in 1913 that featured the UGA Freshman-Sophomore Pushball game.

The Elite theater was on Lumpkin Street, and was later renamed the Georgia Theatre

Learn More:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rally to Save the Georgia Archives on October 3rd!

On this day, we'd like you to mark your calendar for Wednesday, October 3rd at noon when a rally to Save the Georgia Archives is planned for the Capitol Rotunda in Atlanta. Show up early, and bring as many friends as you can.

Though Governor Nathan Deal stated that he would restore funding for the Georgia Archives at the Georgia Archives Month proclamation signing on September 19th, no plans for funding before the closing date, and the termination date of the seven archivists who will leave the Archives without experienced staff, have been made. Secretary of State Brian Kemp remains committed to taking the entire 3% of his department's budget cut from the Georgia Archives. 

Without action in October, the people of Georgia will lose access to their own history and public records, while the professionals who have preserved and made available this collection will be forced to move on with their careers. As all researchers know, a knowledgeable staff makes all the difference for finding relevant, useful, and accurate information. 

For more information about the rally, and what else you can do to help save the Georgia Archives, please visit the Friends of Georgia Archives and History website and the Georgia Genealogical Society website.

Friday, September 14, 2012

What You Can Do About the Closing of the Georgia Archives

On this day we'd like to offer some suggestions about what actions you can take in light of the news that the Georgia State Archives will be closed to citizens as of November 1

To start, you can write to our Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Secretary of State.

Though the Lieutenant Governor did not enact this budget cut, he may run for governor in the future, as may our current Secretary of State, Brian Kemp.  Write to them to ensure they all understand the importance of the Georgia Archives.

Governor Nathan Deal
Mailing Address:
206 Washington Street
Suite 203, State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Contact Us form:

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle
Mailing address:
240 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
(404) 656-5030
(404) 656-6739
Contact Us form (at bottom of the page below)

Secretary of State Brian Kemp
Mailing address:
214 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Contact Us form:

You can also contact your state representatives. To find the contact information for your State Senator and Representative, use this Find Your Legislator page. Our representatives must know that this budget cut is unacceptable.

This Saturday, September 15th, 2012, is the Annual Meeting of the Friends of the Georgia Archives & History at the Archives building in Morrow. The meeting is expected to end around noon, and a brainstorming session will take place afterwards. For more information, contact the organization via email, at, or by phone, at 678-364-3732.

Please also sign the petition to keep the Georgia Archives open to the public, and follow events on the Facebook page, Georgians Against Closing the State Archives

PLEASE NOTE: Even if you aren't in Georgia, you are still encouraged to sign the petition and write to our Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Secretary of State. Many people had ancestors who came through Georgia and just because you don't live in Georgia, doesn't mean you will never need these Archives. It also sets a terrible precedent that other states may try to follow. Politicians need to know that citizen access to their government records is important.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Heritage Book Collection Reprieve!

On this day, we are happy to announce that during this last phase of construction, the available Heritage Room book collection will not be closed stacks, and you will have access to far more books than were noted in the last post.

The Heritage Room books are currently upstairs on two shelves that run along the far wall you'll see as you come to the top of the staircase. They are on the other side of the computer desks, on either side of the entrance to the new restrooms. The small cart for books that you are done using is next to the Athens-Clarke County books.

The temporarily smaller collection has a much closer focus on Georgia, including any Georgia county books that cover marriages, wills, cemeteries, deeds, or other abstracts taking priority in the collection. Some county histories have moved, if they provided this type of information. 

Also, all Georgia newspaper abstracts are available, as well as books with multiple counties of marriage or will records, land lottery books, the Pioneers of Wiregrass collection, Christian Index obituaries, U.S. Census indices, Georgia English Crown Grants, and Georgia Governor & Council Journals

For North Carolina and South Carolina, no county-focused books will be available for the time being, but there are U.S. Census indices, tax, will, marriage, deed records, as well as North Carolina Colonial Land Entries and South Carolina Royal Land Grants

For Virginia, you have access to Adventures of Purse and Person, Cavaliers & Pioneers, Colonial Abstracts, both sets of Genealogies of Virginia Families, Virginia Wills, and Wulfeck's Virginia Marriages

Still available for Civil War research are These Men Wore Grey, Rosters of Confederate Graves, Roster of Confederate Soldiers from the Official Records set, two rosters of Georgia Confederate Soldiers, and Sifakis's Compendium of the Confederate Armies

For the Revolution, we have Virgil White's collection of military pension and service record abstracts, Pierce's Register, the DAR Patriot Index, some Elijah Clark Chapter records, Helen Lu's Revolutionary War Period set, among other items. White's indices covering the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the Indian Wars are also available.

There are also some general genealogy books for those who are getting started, need to know where to look for out of state or county records, or are trying to figure out where the heck the marriage record they need could be, such as the Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, and Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Census, 1790-1920

We are so happy we were able to make more available than anticipated, and in a way that allows you pursue your research at your own rate, picking the book you want or think you need from the shelf. If you find the book in PINES, we should have it available for you in the current Heritage collection. 

If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to call us at the Reference Desk, at (706) 613-3650, ext. 356, or email us at or We are still here to help you with your research!