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Armchair Archivist Program

Interested in assisting with transcribing historical documents from the convenience of your own home? Join our Armchair Archivist Program! Contribute to transcribing thousands of Shelby County's oldest documents directly from your computer. Click the link below to register on the FromThePage online platform, and start transcribing today!

Help Us Break Through the 1870 Brick Wall

Join us in a significant initiative to preserve and uncover the history of Shelby County's enslaved individuals. Several years ago, our team diligently compiled an index of names from our archival collections, aiding countless individuals worldwide in discovering their Shelby County slave ancestry. 

Now, we're embarking on the next phase of this vital project by crowd-sourcing the transcription of these historical documents. Your participation as an Armchair Archivist will contribute to the creation of an online collection featuring document images alongside transcribed text. By transcribing wills, estate files, deed books, and loose court records, you'll play a crucial role in breaking through the "1870 Brick Wall" that often impedes black individuals from tracing their ancestry before the 1870 Census.

This collaborative effort will ensure that these records are accessible to all, leveling the playing field and providing black individuals with a greater opportunity to delve into their family history. Join us in this meaningful endeavor by becoming an Armchair Archivist today.

Our Commitment to Preserving Authenticity in Racist and Offensive Documents:

As you embark on your journey to transcribe historical documents with us, we want to inform you that the subject matter of slavery is prevalent in these records. It's important to note that you may encounter offensive or racist language during this process. We acknowledge that such language may be triggering to some individuals. Our commitment to preserving history authentically means we must confront the uncomfortable truths embedded within these documents. By transcribing them faithfully, we honor the voices and experiences of those who were marginalized and oppressed. We encourage you to approach this task with sensitivity and empathy, recognizing the weight of the words you may encounter. If you find yourself struggling with the content, please know that you can reach out to us for support and guidance. Thank you for your dedication to uncovering and preserving these important stories. Your efforts contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of our shared history.

This project is supported by the Alabama Humanities Alliance, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Arts. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed by grant recipients do not necessarily represent those of the Alabama Humanities Alliance or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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