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How to Find Public Records in Georgia

Public Records Search: Georgia State Archives

Georgia makes its archived records and information accessible to the public. Researchers may visit the archives in person or may obtain many materials online. By visiting sos.state.ga.us/archives/ researchers may find resources for locating land records, census records, and many other types of archived records.

To physically visit the Georgia State Archives, you may travel to their location at 5800 Jonesboro Road, Morrow, GA 30260. They are located just south of Atlanta. Researchers may also reach them with questions by telephone at 678-364-3700. When visiting these archives in person, researchers must register and present valid photo identification. The agency is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 5 PM.

Of course, many researchers prefer to do their research online. The Georgia State Archives has a very user-friendly feature called “Ask an Archivist.” Researchers may simply email a question and obtain what they need online. Once you click on this option you will be directed to a page with types of questions that may fit your query. Some of the examples they list are as follows: “Do you have a Civil War pension application for…” or “Do you have county wills for 1920?” and so forth.

Of course, researchers also have the option to mail in requests for records and information. There are fees associated with this option—even for Georgia residents.

“Georgia Archives staff can perform limited research via mail for a non-refundable fee of $15.00 for Georgia residents and $30.00 for out-of-state residents. This fee will include one of the following: 1) up to twelve (12) photocopies for most orders with a source citation, 2) a report of the search indicating all sources searched, or 3) a listing of suggested sources for further research.”

The site also provides an online request form that must accompany your request. Click on the link to open and print this form.

Of course, some research may be performed online independently of staff. Not all resources and records are available online, however. Some online resources available from the site include various indexes and inventories, but expect more to come on this horizon. Otherwise, taken as a whole, the Georgia archives collection is home to a myriad of documents in many formats. Family letters and papers, business records, local government records, church records, cemetery records, various country records are just some types available through the Georgia State Archives.

The Georgia State Archives also offers additional links for researchers that include African American resources, Georgia Colony trustees, Georgia tax records, Georgia militia districts, historic photographs, etc…Taken as a whole, all these resources are a treasure trove of information that may be valuable and important to the public.

There is also a new virtual program sponsored by the agency with a link on the site for visiting the Virtual Vault, a library of digitized records, historic maps, tax digests, photos and images spanning a wide time period of Georgia’s history. This is a work in progress, but researchers are finding more and more avenues to obtain public records and information all the time; this is another example of a project geared at this aim.

All in all, the Georgia State Archives lives up to its mission to preserve various records for Georgia and its citizens as well as to make them available to the public. Researchers may be able to find a limited amount of information themselves by searching the site’s online holdings, but they may need to contact a staff member to enlist their help when researching via email and regular mail. Unfortunately there are fees associated with mailed requests, but as more and more records find their way online, this may be less a necessity in years to come.

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