The Huntsville Library Foundation has received a $4,000 National Society Daughters of the American Revolution Special Projects Grant to digitize selected local history records in the Huntsville Madison County Public Library (HMCPL). These materials will provide a unique insight into the early years of Huntsville and Madison County’s history. The materials to be digitized include early Huntsville church and synagogue records, selected Freedmen’s Bureau information and the first hundred years of the Huntsville City Council Minute Books.
The local match of $4,000 for the grant was provided by the Hunt’s Spring Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. The Chapter voted to support the grant with funds received from the generous bequest of a member who was a long-time volunteer at the Elizabeth Carpenter Public Library in New Hope, a branch of HMCPL.
This funding will make possible the digitizing and storing on disk of the microfilmed images, indexing, transcribing of selected images, uploading of the images to the Library’s digital collection, and the creating of the digital descriptive information or metadata (which will be ongoing). The Library’s digital collection is available through the Library’s website and the statewide AlabamaMosaic online resource (http://www.alabamamosaic.org). A copy of the materials and index will also be provided to the NSDAR Library in Washington, D.C.
The Huntsville Madison County Public Library (HMCPL) houses a wealth of rare and regionally significant materials in their Heritage Room collection that are valuable resources for researchers of local history and genealogy. The digitization of library materials promotes preservation while providing improved access to the content. This project will expand the scope of HMCPL’s digital collection through the addition of the valuable Huntsville and Madison County information currently available on microfilm only, making available records dating back to the early 1800’s and will encourage use of the documents in ancestor searching and academic study.
The following microfilm materials are the focus for this project:
- Minutes and other papers dating from 1809 – early 20th century of four early downtown Huntsville churches and one synagogue, including Enon Baptist Church of Christ (present First Baptist Church), Episcopal Church of the Nativity, First Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church and the B’nai Sholom Temple.
- Freedmen’s Bureau data and documents for Huntsville and Madison County including contraband camp records, 1865 Colored Census, hospital records and soldiers’ pension applications
- Minute Books from the Huntsville City Council, 1828-1928.