Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Excellent Free Resources for Mississippi Researchers Sometimes Found in Unlikely Places

There is a plethora of free resources that can help Mississippi genealogical and historical researchers. One agency that has produced some excellent publications – both traditional print and online, is the Mississippi Secretary of State.

The Mississippi Blue Book has been around a long time. Officially known as the Official and Statistical Register, the Division of Education and Publication publishes this massive 748-page book. The entire book is online as a single download in a PDF file format (an 11 megabyte download) or available in sections. This book contains all types of information about the state and is profusely illustrated with images and maps.

Of particular importance to researchers is the 114-page County Government section that contains detailed information about each of Mississippi’s 82 counties including a brief history of each county’s organization, how the county was named, a county location map and a complete address book of all political divisions of the county. This can really come in handy when trying to obtain copies of old documents from a particular county.

By statute this book is published in the year following the Presidential Election. Visit the Mississippi Secretary of State online to download or view the 2004-2008 edition of the Mississippi Blue Book. There is also an excellent interactive presentation about the book on the site.

Another entertaining and educational publication at the Mississippi Secretary of State site is the 36-page Mississippi Souvenir Booklet. This beautifully illustrated volume (a 5.7 megabyte download in PDF format) contains information about Mississippi including an excellent historical timeline. Like the Blue Book, this booklet can also be downloaded in sections and is also available as an interactive presentation.

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