Bartow History Museum bolsters online access to collection

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Through its revamped website and association with the Digital Library of Georgia, Bartow History Museum is providing patrons greater access to its rich archival collection.

Along with unveiling its new website — which offers various research tools — in mid-June, the Cartersville venue earned a Competitive Digitization grant to post its vertical file record collection on the DLG, https://dlg.usg.edu/collection/barhm_bhmvf.

“We have found that researchers are going online more today than ever to do their own research, so we felt it important to make more of our collection available online,” BHM Archives Assistant Sandy Moore said. “Our online database is not only a tool to help researchers, but also to educate the public as to what types of artifacts and materials the Bartow History Museum collects and is dedicated to preserving. One of the collections online is a portion of our photograph collection.

“This is a popular resource and now we have made it even easier to acquire a copy of your favorite photo by ordering a copy directly online. We also have a link to the Bartow GenWeb site that contains a large amount of information, including cemetery listings, obituaries, deeds, marriage records and more. This site is especially helpful to those doing genealogy research. And our latest online offering is a collection made available on the Digital Library of Georgia site.”

Formed in 1987, BHM's gift shop, multipurpose room, and permanent and temporary exhibits are housed in the 1869 Courthouse, 4 E. Church St. Divided into six galleries, the permanent exhibits include “A Sense of Place,” “Bartow Beginnings,” “Community Champions,” “People at Work,” “The Coming War” and “Toward New Horizons.”

“Periodically, the Digital Library of Georgia puts out a call for applications to their Competitive Digitization Grant program, a funding opportunity intended to broaden partner participation for digitization projects across the state,” BHM Director Trey Gaines said. “We, at the Bartow History Museum, wanted to make more of our historic resources available online and saw this grant as a great way to accomplish this goal.

“We submitted our application last summer and received word in the fall that it was one of the projects accepted. For the next several months, museum staff and volunteers worked to prepare the collection for the trip to the University of Georgia where the scanning would occur. Once the documents were delivered this past June, DLG staff worked for the next several weeks digitizing and creating the online records that are now available online.”

In addition to searching on the DLG’s website, Gaines shared the records can be obtained at https://bartowhistorymuseum.org.

“We were very excited to learn last fall that our application has been accepted,” he said. “We welcome and offer assistance to a variety of researchers throughout the year, and the completion of this project makes more of the materials in our care available to a much larger audience. In our grant application, we recommended a large collection of county records that have been in our care for over 30 years be digitized due to their potential value to genealogists and other researchers.

“These records included documents regarding guardianship, indentures, pauperism, land grants, lunacy and more dating between 1850 and 1929. Working with the DLG to have these materials digitized not only ensures their long-term preservation, it also makes them available through the DLG’s vast online network. The records can now be accessed from anywhere in the world.”

Echoing Gaines’ comments, genealogist Yvonne Mashburn Schmidt also underscored the records’ importance.

“This area's rural, agricultural and yeoman families generally were unconcerned with creating records themselves,” she stated in a news release. “…This record collection held by the archives contains uncommon records, such as mercantile and miscellaneous receipts, voter lists, smallpox lists, pauper lists, indentures and estray records. These county records generally are not available to researchers. Ancestral names in these records might be found when no other record for the ancestor exists.”