|Pam's Mississippi Genealogy|
W.P.A. County Histories
Some time ago I accidentally discovered a whole drawer full of microfilmed copies of WPA County Histories for every county in Mississippi. I took one out and loaded it into the microfilm reader to browse for the last fifteen or twenty minutes of my library visit. I was fascinated with what I found on that film.
The histories were written as part of a statewide research project for the Works Progress Administration in 1936 and 1937. Our nation and state were struggling with the effects of the Great Depression, and this history project gave many people work to do and accomplished the very important purpose of documenting LOCAL facts and history. Canvassers were given a very specific outline to follow and were sent out into the towns and communities where they lived to find things like the county's oldest house or largest tree or the locations of places with historical significance.
Some library research was done, and county records were consulted, but the majority of the information was obtained from local citizens who had been a part of the local history and had stories to tell. The resulting reports were compiled and copies were kept by the state government and by the county.
Because of the way the work was done the reports are not always factually correct, but they do provide some wonderful insight into the history of local communities from the viewpoints of people who were part of that early history. Because I did not write the material myself I cannot correct errors of fact, so please do not ask me to do so. Also, remember the time frame. These histories were written in the 1930s and reflect social and political policies of that time. In particular, "Separate But Equal" was the law of the land and African Americans were Colored or Negro. I am not a racist nor do I appreciate receiving e-mail from those of you who fire off that nasty e-mail to me before you finish reading the material. Furthermore, some of the information about African Americans cannot be obtained from any other source and is of tremendous value to people researching their African American heritage.
The Lamar County history is complete on this website. I have not finished Marion County yet, but have most of it copied and ready to transcribe. I have copied the first one hundred pages of Pontotoc County and have barely begun work on it. I hope to eventually finish those two and to add Perry and Forrest Counties.
And now, ENJOY!!
Pam's Mississippi Genealogy
Pamela J. Gibbs | 11 Sandy Run Road | Hattiesburg, MS 39402 | (601) 264-8894 | firstname.lastname@example.org
All material on this website copyright 1998 - 2004 by Pamela J. Gibbs
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