Research at the Archives

Access to Records

The Reference Unit of the Archives assists researchers in using our collections. Reference services are available on-site or by telephone, mail or email. An online catalog and numerous unpublished finding aids index and describe the materials in the many public records series, manuscript collections, and the genealogical collection.

Records at the State Archives are available in accordance with the laws of Florida and the operating rules of the Archives. All public records are open for use except for those specifically restricted by law or rule (relevant laws and rules are available at the Reference desk). Some personal papers or manuscript materials donated to the Archives may be subject to special conditions or restrictions imposed by the donor(s).

Copies of Materials

We can provide copies of most of the materials in our collections on demand.

Large copy orders might not be completed on the day requested.

Copy orders must be received no later than 15 minutes prior to the Archives closing for the day.

Payment must be received before copies are delivered. More details are available on our fee schedule.

Visiting the Archives

The State Archives search room is open to the public at no charge during all Archives operating hours. Researchers are encouraged to check with the Archives to verify operating hours and records availability prior to visiting.

Plan Your Visit

Researchers must be 16 years of age or be accompanied by a responsible adult researcher. On their initial visit to the Archives, researchers will be asked to complete a registration form to obtain a patron ID number. Some form of identification is needed to complete the registration process. 

In order to help protect Florida's historical records, researchers are asked to follow standard archival procedures by bringing only pencils, note cards, loose blank paper, spiral notebooks without material in the pockets, ring binders without material in the pockets, and light wraps such as shawls and sweaters into the search room. All material brought into the archives will be examined upon leaving. Researchers may bring camers (no flash) and wand scanners into the Archives provided the Reference staff determines that the equipment will not pose harm to historical records or fragile books.

The following items are strictly prohibited: any form of ink or ink pens, briefcases, bags, purses, envelopes or other containers, or any material that might be confused with archival holdings. Lockers are available to researchers needing to store these items while visiting the Archives.

Original records must be returned to Reference staff not later than 10 minutes prior to closing. Books and microfilm must be returned not later than 5 minutes prior to closing. All patrons must have removed their belongings from the lockers and have exited the Research Room by closing time.

Tours of the State Archives facility can be arranged for educational and civic groups and interested individuals. All visitors are required to check in and out with the Reference staff.

Research Services

Patrons unable to visit the Archives to conduct their own research may contact the Archives to request the Archives staff to conduct limited research for specific information. Archives staff will search indexed records and books for a maximum of thirty minutes per request. Due to the limited number of staff, the Archives cannot: search records that are on microfilm or that are readily available from other sources (such as census records); conduct detailed genealogical searches; summarize, interpret, or transcribe documents; or provide a list of records for all persons bearing a particular surname. If such research is needed, researchers should plan to visit the Archives in person or make arrangements with a private researcher. A list of researchers will be provided upon request.

Technical Assistance 

The Archives provides professional technical assistance for local government and archival and historical agencies, including workshops on the establishment and maintenance of archival and records management programs.

Donations

See Frequently Asked Questions About Donating to the State Archives.