Anya Grosenbaugh and Kathryn Palmer gave a crash course in genealogical research to several dozen listeners last week.

Two speakers from the State Archives of Florida addressed members of the Apalachicola Area Historical Society on Thursday, Sept. 29 at the Carriage House adjacent to the Raney House.

The pair explained that an archive is a facility that curates original documents, as opposed to a library which curates printed materials.

They advised those wishing to explore family history to begin their search in materials in their own home like family Bibles, birth certificates and photographs.

Grosenbaugh stressed the importance of citing the source of information carefully and cross referencing facts.

The women said the State Archives has computers and scanners available for persons doing research and offers free access to and, a military database.

Much of the state photographic collection is available online at but only about 2 percent of the archival collection, mainly its photographs, are posted on the internet.

Resources available in Tallahassee include state censuses; election records; land records; a limited collection of church records; sharecropper contracts; freedman’s records and slave receipts and mortgages; prison records and state hospital records.

Recently added to online materials is a collection of county histories written by employees of the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression.

Palmer said the archives contains 500,000 cubic feet of materials.

Birth and death records are not located at the state archives but can be found at the State Bureau of Vital Statistics. Birth records were often unreported publicly until the 1800s.

The archives is located in the R. A. Gray Building, 500 s. Bronough Street in Tallahassee. Archivists can be reached by calling (850) 245-6700 or by visiting

Parking is available in an adjacent lot and archivists will validate tickets to defer the $5 charge.