Georgia’s public libraries continue to make new content freely available online during the public safety closures of the COVID-19 pandemic. Newly digitized Columbus and Macon city directories offer engaging social studies content for students and educator research.
ATLANTA — Digitized city directories from Columbus
(1859-1912) and Macon
(1860-1899) are now available in the Digital Library of Georgia
. Details in the collections about residence and resident make city directories ideally suited for local history and genealogy research, as well as student and educator research for social studies curricula.
City directories antedate the phonebook as a listing of residents, businesses, organizations, and streets. In addition to basic location information, city directories frequently provided local governmental and civic information, street maps, church and cemetery information, and historical details about the city and surrounding areas. Information about individuals typically includes the resident’s name, title or salutation, home address, marital status and spouse’s name, race, occupation, and, if applicable, information about business ownership.
“We are thrilled to share city directories from the Middle Georgia Archives with our state and the world through the Digital Library of Georgia,” said Middle Georgia Regional Library Director Jennifer Lautzenheiser. “These directories allow researchers from all backgrounds to explore the rich and nuanced history of our communities.
Academics can learn about the trends that shaped our state. Students can lift the curtain on everyday life, and family genealogists can add details to the lives of their ancestors.”
The full-text searchable digital collections are part of a statewide initiative to digitize Georgia’s public domain city directories. The project is a partnership between Georgia HomePLACE, the digitization unit of the Georgia Public Library Service; the Digital Library of Georgia; the Columbus Public Library, part of the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries
; and Washington Memorial Library, part of the Middle Georgia Regional Library System
“Our city directories are frequently used by genealogists, local historians, and even owners of historical homes to learn more about the families and businesses that have been in our community’” said Wanda Edwards, Adult Services Coordinator for Chattahoochee Valley Libraries. “Digital access makes our directories available to customers regardless of their ability to visit the library.”
Students and researchers working from home will enjoy increased access to volumes that were previously only available onsite at their local library. Additional city directories available in the Digital Library of Georgia include Albany (1922-1949), Athens (1889-1958), and Atlanta (1867-1922).
“The importance of access to digital library collections has become more evident during these past weeks, said Edwards. “This is one more service we can provide for our users.”
Georgia HomePLACE encourages public libraries and related institutions across the state to participate in the Digital Library of Georgia. HomePLACE offers a highly collaborative model for digitizing primary source collections related to local history and genealogy. HomePLACE is a project of the Georgia Public Library Service, a unit of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. HomePLACE is supported with federal Library Services and Technology Act funds administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Georgia Public Library Service.
Based at the University of Georgia Libraries, the Digital Library of Georgia is a GALILEO initiative that collaborates with Georgia’s libraries, archives, museums, and other institutions of education and culture to provide access to key information resources on Georgia history, culture, and life. This primary mission is accomplished through the ongoing development, maintenance and preservation of digital collections and online digital library resources. The Digital Library of Georgia also serves as Georgia’s service hub for the Digital Public Library of America and as the home of the Georgia Newspaper Project, the state’s historic newspaper microfilming project.
Middle Georgia Regional Library serves six counties across Central Georgia. The library’s mission is to connect all people to the information necessary to improve their lives through excellent services and materials.
The Chattahoochee Valley Libraries is a seven-branch system that serves more than 250,000 people in four counties: Muscogee, Chattahoochee, Marion and Stewart. The Library system is the most widely used cultural institution in the region, with more than 120,000 residents holding library cards. Our mission is to be your place, your partner, your library.