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Secretary Detzner Announces Addition of New Church Records to Florida Memory Website

Approximately 20,000 digitized church records from the 1930’s and 40’s added to Florida Memory website

Tallahassee, Florida –

Secretary of State Ken Detzner today announced the addition of approximately 20,000 digitized church records to the Florida Memory website, www.floridamemory.com. The records, officially known as the Church Archives Inventory, were created by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s to document archival holdings in Florida’s churches and synagogues.

"The WPA Church Archives Inventory is a tremendous addition to the Florida Memory website and only increases the reputation the website has as the best resource for Florida’s historical photographs, documents, audio and video,” said Secretary Detzner. “I encourage anyone interested in Florida history to visit the site and see these new records that illustrate the significant role organized religion had on community life in American history."

The new records added to the Florida Memory website contain a wealth of information about the size and ethnic background of congregations and clergy members as well as historical narratives and lists of church property. Created in an age when religious institutions often held the only documentation of major life events such as birth, marriage and death, the WPA church records offer tremendous insight for genealogists and others interested in Florida history.

This collection of WPA church records is from the State Library of Florida's collections. One of the most significant undertakings of the Historical Records Survey was a nationwide survey of churches and church records, known as the Church Archives Inventory. Each state created a list of known churches and synagogues to be surveyed, organized by county. Survey workers then ventured out into the field to document church histories and record holdings by interviewing clergy and congregation members. This collection contains the documents created by the state of Florida.

All documents contained in the WPA church records database are accessible on the Florida Memory website, specifically at http://floridamemory.com/collections/churchrecords. Users can search the records by pastor’s name, church or synagogue name or denomination. Users can also sort the records by county, year of church incorporation and ethnicity. Accompanying the church records are digitized copies of the original forms used by survey workers, the field manual issued by the WPA and a historical essay on the scope and significance of the collection.

About the Florida Memory Website

The Florida Memory websiteprovides online access to more than 550,000 photographs, textual records, sound recordings and moving images. The Florida Memory program is funded by a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the Florida Department of State’s Division of Library and Information Services. Users can access the same web address used by the program since its creation in 1998, www.FloridaMemory.com.

About the Florida Department of State’s Division of Library and Information Services

The Florida Department of State’s Division of Library and Information Services is the designated information resource provider for the Florida Legislature and all state agencies. It also coordinates and helps fund activities for public libraries, provides a framework for statewide library initiatives, provides archival and records management services, and preserves, collects, and makes available the published and unpublished documentary history of the state.