The City of Savannah announced today the launch of several digital collections of the City’s most valuable and historical records through Ancestry.com, greatly increasing public access. In 2009, Ancestry.com awarded the City of Savannah a digitization services grant to digitize and publish online City collections which were identified as particularly useful for genealogical research. Digitization not only increases long-distance access to records, but helps preserve the fragile originals from unnecessary handling, and supports the City’s disaster preparedness efforts by providing an off-site backup of records. Onsite digitization, of over 239,900 pages of bound volumes and loose manuscripts, was completed by Ancestry.com staff in 2011 and indexing has been an ongoing effort, with collections going live online as they are completed.
Currently the following collections of City records are available to researchers online through http://collections.ancestry.com/search/GA/CityofSavannah:
- Vital Records, 1803-1966
- Land, Tax & Property Records, 1896-1938
- Voter Records, 1901-1917
- Naturalization Records, 1825-1904
- Records of Titles, 1791-1971
- Court Records, 1790-1934
- Cemetery and Burial Records, 1852-1939
In addition, several of the City’s collections are part of the Ancestry World Archives Project (AWAP), a collaborative effort that allows volunteers around the world to participate in indexing. The City’s collection of Free Persons of Color Registers (1817-1864) is currently being indexed. These volumes record free persons of color who were required to register with the Clerk of Council’s Office and have a white guardian prior to the abolishment of slavery. If you are interested in participating in the AWAP project, visit http://www.ancestry.com/wiki/index.php?title=Ancestry_World_Archives_Project.
Access to the original, hardcopy records will continue to be available to Savannah’s citizens and the general public through the Research Library and Municipal Archives department. If you are interested in learning more about the Municipal Archives or scheduling a research appointment, please visit www.savannahga.gov/MunicipalArchives.