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Transcription Project with International Impact: 
How You Can Help Break Through the 1870 Brick Wall

Transciption Project Logo.jpg

Several years ago, the Shelby County Museum & Archives staff searched the archive's collections to find the names of enslaved people. As a result, we created an index that has helped countless black people worldwide learn about their Shelby County slave ancestry. We are now ready to take the next step, which includes transcribing these documents with the help of crowdsourcing. The result will be an online collection of document images with a corresponding transcription of the handwritten text.

The project will help break through the "1870 Brick Wall" that often prevents black people from discovering their ancestry before the 1870 Census. The transcribed records will reside on our website for public access, which will "level the playing field" and give black people a better opportunity to learn their family history.

We are looking for volunteers to partner with us on this ambitious project. If you want to learn more about the crowdsourcing process and how to help, please email your name and contact information to using the subject line "Transcription Project." You can also scan the QR Code below to register online. Please help us spread the word throughout the community. While crowdsourcing allows transcription to be done by anyone, anywhere in the world, we feel that local community involvement is the true measure of our success.

Quick Links to Popular Collections

Shelby County Museum & Archives Columbiana Alabama

Located in historic Columbiana, Alabama, the Old 1854 Courthouse is home to the  Shelby County Museum & Archives.

Shelby Iron Works Park Shelby Alabama

Located at the site of the orginal Shelby Iron Company, the Shelby Iron Works Park showcases the rich history of Shelby County's Iron Industry .

Located on the site of the original Shelby Iron Works, the park celebrates the rich history of  Shelby County's Iron Industry.

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