Digital Archives

Among the records featured in the new Limestone County Digital Archives is this photo of the Trinity High School graduating class of 1928 posing in front of the school shop building with the school car, affectionately known as “Betsy.” Pictured are C.D. Bell, Odell Mason, Annie Mae Stewart, Henry Wells Brandon, Lottie Mae Redus, Annie Lee Burleson, and Eton Bailey.

Limestone County history has a new home online.

The Limestone County Archives on Wednesday announced the launch of its new Limestone County Digital Archives, featuring an ever-growing collection of historic photos, documents and government records never before made publicly accessible online.

“This is such a great resource for research, education and entertainment, too,” said Limestone County Archivist Rebekah Davis. “We are excited to be able to share from the wealth of the Limestone County Archives collections in this way, and we see this having so many uses in the years to come.”

The site is accessible through the “Digital Archives” link at www.limestonearchives.com and features digitized Limestone County government records, special collections of historic photos and documents, and videos and articles about Limestone County history with accompanying information to help users know and understand their context. Users can search records in various ways, including by keyword, subject, name, date or community, or they can browse collections.

“One of the things I’m most excited about is the opportunity to feature certain groups of records based on their subject or time frame,” Davis said. “For example, this month we have added several records related to local Black history, just in time to celebrate Black History Month 2021. All users have to do is enter ‘African Americans’ into the search box to see all that we have available online so far, and then click on the photos or records that interest them to learn more, to ‘like’ the record, to download a copy or to share what they found via email, Facebook or Twitter, directly from our site.”

Davis said the site is a particularly helpful resource for educators who want to introduce students to the use of primary resources.

“This month, we are also working with classes at Athens Intermediate School to help them research the way of life in Athens and Limestone County in the past and contrast it to life today,” Davis said. “When they are finished with their research projects, we hope to feature them in an upcoming exhibit at the Limestone County Archives.”

The Limestone County Archives developed the Digital Archives in partnership with Preservica, which invited Davis in 2020 to be one of a small number of local government archives and records managers in the country to beta test their new digital repository software. Named Starter, the software is geared toward making digital preservation easily accessible for small and local archives programs, as well as affordable, with up to 5 gigabytes of digital storage for free.

“As an archivist, one of the most exciting aspects of our new Digital Archives is actually what the public doesn’t see, and that is the digital preservation,” Davis said. “Just like Limestone County has worked to maintain and preserve our physical records for more than 200 years, this Digital Archives is designed to permanently preserve our digital records in accessible formats for another 200 years and beyond.”

Visit www.limestonearchives.com and www.starter.preservica.com to learn more.

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