Mississippi Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
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This entry was originally written by Kathleen Stanton Hutchison for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
A selected listing of genealogical and historical periodicals for Mississippi includes the following:
- Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society (1898–1914), published by the society (see Archives, Libraries, and Societies). Additional publications from the society continued to 1925 before The Journal of Mississippi History (1939-present), P.O. Box 571, Jackson, MS 39205, published by the organization, began.
- Family Trails (1977–90), published quarterly by the Historical and Genealogical Association of Mississippi (see Archives, Libraries, and Societies).
- Mississippi Coast Historical and Genealogical Society Quarterly (1968-present), P.O. Box 513, Biloxi, MS 39533.
- Mississippi Genealogical Exchange (1955–87), P.O. Box 16609, Jackson, MS 39211.
- Mississippi Genealogy and Local History (1969–70; 1974–79).
There are many good periodicals and newsletters published by local historical societies throughout the state. A listing of these organizations is kept at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Nancianne Parkes Suber offers valuable information through her newspaper genealogical column “Family Trees,” which appears weekly in the state newspaper Clarion-Ledger.
More than 2,000 newspaper titles have been published in Mississippi since the first paper, the Mississippi Gazette, appeared in Natchez in 1799. With the completion of the Mississippi Newspaper Project, a grant initiated by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, surviving titles were identified, located, and microfilmed for preservation and research purposes. General bibliographic information was gathered along with detailed holdings data for courthouses, museums, and all types of libraries throughout the state. This information may be accessed through OCLC, a national online database found in many public and academic libraries (see page 12), or through the Mississippi Union List of Newspapers (Jackson, Miss.: Mississippi Department of Archives and History, 1990). See also George Lewis’s reference guide, Mississippiana: Union List of Newspapers (Jackson, Miss.: Mississippi Library Commission, 1971).
Since newspapers record documented events including births, deaths, and marriages, they are a source that should not be overlooked by researchers. Some have been indexed in Betty Couch Wiltshire, Marriages and Deaths from Mississippi Newspapers, 1837–63, vol. 1 (Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1987); 1801–50, vol. 2 (ca. 1989); and 1813–50, vol. 3 (ca. 1989); vol. 4 (1850–61); Mississippi Newspaper Obituaries, 1862–75 (Carrolton, Miss.: Pioneer Publishing Co., 1994); vol..2 (1876–85). Furthermore, some titles of newspapers are the only surviving documentation of the existence of a community or town.
The Private Manuscript Collection found at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History consists of private papers from the 1700s to the present donated to the archives by families and individuals. Genealogical information is scattered throughout the collection; however, access can be a problem. The in-house finding aid is arranged alphabetically by title, which is usually the name of the donor, and contains a brief description of the papers. This narrative can also be searched online by using key words. The types of materials located consist of letters, business papers, plantation journals, diaries, church and minute books and records, and even school and bank reports. The photograph collection encompasses some 50,000 images and portraits, architecture, scenes, and events. The WPA county collection is also found here. Access is provided through a card file arranged alphabetically by subject.