Records Services: FY09 Annual Report
The Records Services Division of the Office of the Secretary of State is comprised of three units: the Missouri State Archives, the Local Records Preservation Program, and Records Management. The three units work together to preserve public records of all types, including documents, books, maps, photographs, films, audio recordings, and moving pictures.
Each unit offers specific services. The Missouri State Archives preserves and provides access to the permanent records of Missouri. The Local Records Preservation Program assists counties, cities and other local government entities with the management and preservation of their records. Records Management assists state agencies with organizing and managing their records.
Lynne Haake reviews “Famous Missourians”
with a group of students touring the Archives.
Missouri State Archives
The Missouri State Archives is the official repository for permanent state records of enduring historical value. Most of the records in the State Archives are secured through the Local Records Preservation Program and the State Records Management Program. The State Archives' mission is to foster an appreciation of Missouri history and illuminate contemporary public issues by preserving the state's permanent records and making them available to its citizens and their government.
Holdings and Research
The State Archives' vast collections and holdings, dating from 1770, allow professional historians and other researchers to uncover information that brings family histories to life and educates citizens about our collective past. The State Archives is Missouri's largest repository for historical documents. Its holdings include:
- more than 338 million pages of records of permanent value
- almost 500,000 photographs (negatives, prints and slides)
- nearly 199,000 reels of microfilm and 270,000 microfiche
- more than 9,000 maps
- tens of thousands of state publications
- a variety of audiovisual materials (audiotapes, CDs, moving pictures, videos, etc.)
The State Archives preserves records that document Missouri's history from the era of French and Spanish colonial rule to the present day. Among the holdings of the State Archives, researchers will find documentation of every aspect of life in Missouri.
Records housed in the State Archives support the full range of research interests – from schoolchildren's studies to family history to academic research. They support research in topics and themes as diverse as: western Missouri’s role in westward expansion; St. Louis' position in the international fur trade; slavery; the Civil War; western outlaws; military records of Missourians from the War of 1812 to the start of World War II; immigration; and Missouri politics.
Among the larger records series at the State Archives are Governors' papers, General Assembly records, Missouri Supreme Court case files, records and publications from state agencies and departments, and millions of microfilmed county and municipal records.
Many researchers continue to use traditional means to access the Archives. They visit in person, raise questions via telephone, and place requests by mail. In FY09, the total number of these information requests was 32,839. This number, roughly the same as FY08, indicates that the number of traditional requests may be stabilizing. Researchers are looking at the Archives’ online information before asking reference staff for assistance.
The vast majority of researchers, however, have turned to the Internet as their preferred research medium. In FY09, the total number of hits for all web pages in the Archive directory was 79,599,301.
During FY09, Archives docents and staff led 102 tours of the Archives facility for 3,475 students, genealogical and historical societies, and legislators.
Stacy White scans death certificates
for Missouri Digital Heritage.
Missouri Digital Heritage
Secretary of State Robin Carnahan proposed this ground-breaking initiative in 2007 to further Missourians' access to information about the history of our state. Once the initiative received funding through the state legislature, development of the website began. On April 29, 2008, Secretary Carnahan officially launched the Missouri Digital Heritage website (www.MissouriDigitalHeritage.com) at a public program held at the James C. Kirkpatrick State Information Center. The Missouri Digital Heritage (MDH) Initiative is a collaborative effort between the Missouri State Archives and the Missouri State Library that dramatically expands online access to information about Missouri's past. MDH has made millions of historical documents available to the public and connects users to dozens of collections from Missouri's local libraries, universities, and cultural institutions through one searchable destination. The State Archives and State Library are assisting institutions across the state in digitizing their records and placing them online for easy access.
Those wanting to learn more about the creation of Missouri Digital Heritage can go online to view a video about the project at: http://www.sos.mo.gov/mdh/MakingOf/. For even more information on the Missouri Digital Heritage Initiative, the public can explore the website at www.MissouriDigitalHeritage.com.
E-Volunteers Provide Searchable Databases
The Missouri Death Certificate Project, a searchable online index with more than 2.1 million death certificates from 1910-1958, was first released in April 2006. At that time, the database was linked to digital images of original certificates from one decade. The remaining certificates were made available online by April 2009, over a year ahead of schedule. This was a massive project involving over 600 e-volunteers and students from around the world to create a searchable database. Since its release, the death records database has been searched an unprecedented 17.2 million times.
In FY 2009, the Archives sent out a total of 1,295 packets to 177 e-volunteers across the United States and Canada. These volunteers extracted information from paper records to create searchable databases for Archives researchers on the following series:
- WPA indexes (commutations, pardons, bonds of civil officers, etc.)
- Registers of inmates received into the Missouri State Penitentiary
- St. Louis criminal court indexes
- 1958 death certificate index
- Missouri Reports—lists of cases reported
- Missouri Appeal Reports—lists of cases reported
- US land sales abstracts
Charles Elliot Gill Exhibit in
Missouri State Archives lobby.
New Display in JCKSIC
The Missouri State Archives newest exhibit, Ozark Light: The Photographs of Charles Elliot Gill, was on display in the lobby of the James C. Kirkpatrick State Information Center from October 2008 to May 2009. A native of Dent County, Missouri, Gill spent his life photographing his family, neighbors and the Ozarks region that was his home. The exhibit, which began traveling across the state in the fall of 2009, includes more than 100 photographs from the archives collection. The entire collection can be viewed at www.MissouriDigitalHeritage.com.
Three Archives Exhibits Travel in 2009
Three Missouri State Archives exhibits traveled across Missouri during the past year. Mapping Missouri was on view for four months at the Fort Osage National Historic Landmark’s new visitor center in the spring of 2009. Ticket to the Past: The First TwentyFive Years of the Missouri State Fair was displayed at Truman State University’s Pickler Library during January, February and March of 2009. Meanwhile, The Verdict of History completed an extended stay in the U.S. District Courthouse in Kansas City in August 2008. Selected cases from the exhibit were also on display at the Missouri Supreme Court in the fall of 2008.
The Missouri State Archives makes its exhibits available, free of charge, to educational institutions, libraries, museums, and historical societies across the state. Online versions of these and other exhibits may also be viewed at: http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/exhibits/.
Programming and Education
Evening Program Series
As part of its Evening Program Series, the Archives presented 12 free programs, which were open to the public. Historians, musicians, folk artists, and genealogists provided a variety of programs at the Archives in FY2008. Some of the most popular programs of the year were:
- Dave Para and Cathy Barton: A Tribute to Bob Dyer. Robert “Bob” Dyer, a respected historian from Boonville, Mo., passed away in 2007, leaving behind a rich legacy of not only nonfiction, but poems and songs. Dyer called himself a “songteller,” and became known for creating memorable balladry largely about Missouri subjects. Boonville folk musicians Dave Para and Cathy Barton were long-time friends of Dyer and worked closely with him on a number of recordings, concert performances, school residencies and workshops. This program presented some of his best-known songs about the Missouri River, the Boonslick region and its denizens and legends.
- Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to the Show-Me State’s Most Spirited Spots. During his trek across Missouri, journalist Jason Offutt encountered mysterious cold spots, disembodied voices, and smoky apparitions among other ghostly goings-on. Offutt conducted hundreds of interviews and visited a variety of places, including Civil War battlefields, university halls, and infamous mansions, in search of restless spirits. In addition to teaching journalism courses at Northwest Missouri State University, Jason Offutt is a syndicated columnist whose work has appeared in the Kansas City Star, Missouri Life, and The Examiner.
- The Ioway in Missouri. The Ioway, though not as well known as their long-time enemies the Osage, resided within Missouri’s borders from at least the mid-18th century. By the opening decade of the 19th century, they had claimed all of the state north of the Missouri River, but the westward expansion of the United States and the economic and social changes that came with it altered the lives of the Ioway forever. Greg Olson, Curator of Exhibits and Special Projects at the Missouri State Archives, brought to life the people, culture, and history of one of Missouri’s most historically significant Indian tribes.
Patsy Luebbert instructs at Family History Day.
A total of 1,523 people attended the combined public programs.
Willard Central Elementary class attending “Archives Alive!”
National History Day in Missouri
The Missouri State Archives sponsors the National History Day in Missouri competition for the Central Missouri Region. This contest is held each year on the last Saturday of February at Lewis and Clark Middle School in Jefferson City. The top three finishers in each category are eligible to participate in the state contest at the University of Missouri-Columbia in April. First and second place finishers at the National History Day in Missouri competition proceed to the National History Day competition at the University of Maryland-College Park in June.
Competing individually or in small groups, in either the junior division, for grades 6-8, or the senior division, for grades 9-12, National History Day students choose their own research topics based on an annual theme. The theme for 2008 was The Individual in History: Actions and Legacies. Project formats range from traditional research papers to performances, documentaries, exhibits and websites. Three students from the central Missouri region qualified for the national contest. Ashwath Kumar, a seventh grader at Smithton Middle School in Columbia, placed first in the Junior Individual Performance category at the state competition and was a finalist at the national competition with his performance Jawaharlal Nehru: His Influence on India Today.
The Missouri State Archives was a sponsor of the 2009 Midwest Archives Conference Spring Annual Meeting in St. Louis from April 30-May 2. Archives staff members participated in the local arrangements and program committees. The Midwest Archives Conference is the nation's largest regional professional association for archivists and covers the 13 heartland states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Archives' employees contributed to the program of the 51st annual meeting of the Missouri Conference on History, in Springfield from April 16-17, 2009. State Archivist John Dougan, Local Records Director Lynn Morrow, and Local Records Archivist Linda Myers presented at roundtable discussions.
The Archives took part in the 2009 St. Louis Genealogical Society 39th Annual Family History Conference at the Maryland Heights Centre on May 2, 2009. This Family History Conference is the largest single-day regional genealogical event in the United States.
Fellowships and Internships
FY09 marked the third year of the Friends of the Archives' William E. Foley Research Fellowship. This initiative goes beyond providing access to Missouri's historical documents by supplying the means necessary to ensure the use of those resources for scholarly research. Any project that uses the Archives' holdings to further knowledge of state or national history is eligible for funding.
In 2009, Matthew Hernando, a Ph.D. candidate at Louisiana State University, and Matthew Stith, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Arkansas, were chosen as Foley Fellows. The Friends are supporting Hernando’s work on his dissertation, which examines the Bald Knobbers, a vigilante organization active in southwest Missouri in the 1880s. The Bald Knobbers were one of the largest vigilante groups in the country at this time and the largest in Missouri prior to the second Ku Klux Klan. Hernando’s research covers the organization’s history, its members’ socioeconomic status, its opponents and the community at large.
In Stith’s dissertation, Social War: People, Nature, and Irregular Warfare on the Trans-Mississippi Frontier, 1861-1865, he hopes to provide new insight into the role of the environment in shaping war-torn society. Stith’s research will focuses on the lives of civilians and guerillas in southwest Missouri.
2009 marked the 11th year of the Archives’ highly successful partnership with the Supreme Court of Missouri Historical Society. Each year the Archives and the Supreme Court of Missouri Historical Society sponsor two internships and the Robert Eldridge Seiler Fellowship at the Archives. Interns Anthony Strand and Caitlin Bumford worked on the long-term project to develop an annotated, sustainable, online database for Missouri's Supreme Court case files. This year the interns’ efforts brought the total to 11,954 case files. This database is available at www.sos.mo.gov/archives/judiciary/supremecourt/.
The Seiler Fellowship for 2009, which enables researchers to use Missouri’s legal records in the study of state and national history, was awarded to Leroy Rowe, a former Supreme Court of Missouri Historical Society intern. Rowe is now a Ph.D. candidate in American history at the University of Missouri. He used juvenile court commitment records and case histories to investigate the rehabilitation of young females at the State Industrial Home for Negro Girls in Tipton, Missouri from 1909 to 1956.
Interns Anthony Strand, Caitlin Bumford, and Erica Flanagan.
Each summer an upper-level undergraduate or graduate student is selected from a national pool of applicants to conduct work within the various collections of material related to African-American history at the Missouri State Archives. This year's African American History Intern was Erica Flanagan, a graduate student at the University of Missouri and an employee at the Harry S Truman Presidential Library in Independence. Flanagan spent her summer reviewing the records for African American Missourians in the Archives’ Civil War records in preparation for the Archives’ Civil War sesquicentennial exhibit.
The Archives hosted several other interns during the summer that assisted the professional staff with patron requests, scanning photographs for mounting onto the Missouri Digital Heritage website and database management. These interns provided invaluable assistance during the busy summer research months.
The Missouri State Archives earned a spot on Family Tree Magazine’s top-five list for best state genealogy research in May 2009, and in September the Archives was named one of the 101-best websites by the magazine for the seventh year in a row. The Archives received similar recognition from Ancestry Magazine, which named the Missouri Digital Heritage website one of the top-five state websites for genealogical research in April 2009.
State Document Preservation Fund
The State Documents Preservation Fund was created in 1996 by the 88th General Assembly through Senate Bill 670. The fund supports the preservation of and access to documents of historical value by permitting the State Archives to obtain additional funds from private and corporate sources. The Archives spent $2,273.93 from the fund during FY 2009 to assist with access to the death certificates. At the close of June 2009, the fund balance was $4,645.47.
Missouri Historical Records Advisory Board
The Missouri Historical Records Advisory Board (MHRAB) is the central advisory body for historical records planning and for projects relating to historic records that are developed and carried out within the state. The MHRAB provides state-level appraisal of grant proposals submitted to the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) by Missouri repositories and serves as the review and award panel for grant applications submitted to the Missouri State Archives Local Records Preservation Grant Program.
In FY09, the MHRAB continued a multi-year initiative to assess the condition of Missouri's historical records and plan for their future. The board administered a statewide assessment survey and conducted seven regional meetings and 42 on-site assessments in both rural and urban communities. Over the next year, the board will create a strategic plan addressing the issues of greatest concern to Missouri's historical records community and strategies for addressing those issues based on the survey results.
The Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoints members to the MHRAB. As the board's coordinator, the Secretary of State handles its administrative responsibilities. Federal regulations require members to have experience and interest in the collection, administration and use of historical records, and a dedication to the preservation of and access to Missouri's documented heritage.
Members of the Missouri Historical Records Advisory Board - FY09
Secretary of State
Missouri State Archivist
|Joseph L. Adams
University City Mayor
|Robert P. Neumann
Greene County Archives
|Gregory B. Allen
Allen Financial Corporation
|Cynthia L. Parks
Director of Records Management
University of Missouri-Columbia
|Marcia L. Bennett
St. Joseph Convention &
|Terry L. Ramsey
Museum Coordinator, Bushwhacker Museum
Vernon County Historical Society
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
|David E. Richards
Head, Special Collections and Archives
Meyer Library, Missouri State University
|Steven P. Gietschier
|Anne G. Rottman
Legislative Library, State Capitol
Director of Library and Archives
Missouri History Museum
|Gary R. Kremer
State Historical Society of Missouri