Imagine having no state archives open to the public for research. What a sad day in the genealogy world! That is what the people of Georgia were facing until recently….and may face again in 2013. The office of Georgia’s governor, Nathan Kemp, announced last month that the Georgia State Archives in Morrow, GA will remain open for the remainder of the budgetary year that ends on June 30, 2013. It will keep its current hours, which are already limited to just Fridays and Saturdays. On July 1, the archives will be transferred to the University System of Georgia. What then? Will it be by appointment only?
Think of all the valuable materials to be relocated and the care which must be taken in this situation. What if the documents that prove your ancestor ever existed on Georgia soil are not available to you because of budget cuts? Hopefully, it will not be a worst-case scenario. The press release from the governor’s office did indicate that the transfer provides for the appropriation of funds for operation and staffing; however, just the thought of losing access to the archives makes many genealogists and other researchers very nervous. If it can happen in Georgia, it can happen elsewhere.
If you live in a place in which your state archives and other repositories are open several days a week with no plans to close anytime soon, consider yourself fortunate.