20 March 2016

SCDAH Electronic Records Archive Launched

I am a little tardy in sharing this with you but the SCERA brings in a new era of access to state government records. It may take a little time to understand the ins-and-outs of the database but it is sure to help researchers uncover the past and citizens to hold government accountable.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 22, 2016

State Historical Agency Announces the Creation of the South Carolina Electronic Records Archive

Columbia, SC - The South Carolina Department of Archives and History (SCDAH), a state agency established in 1905 with the mission of preserving and promoting South Carolina history, is proud to announce the creation of the South Carolina Electronic Records Archive (SCERA). The new electronic records archive currently houses 450 GB of records that are now available to the public through an easily searchable website, e-archives.sc.gov.

Go to e-archives.sc.gov

The unveiling of SCERA marks a dramatic step forward in the agency’s efforts to make its vast historic collections available to the public in a manner that is most convenient for its users. The creation of SCERA was made possible by the agency’s partnership with Preservica, a digital preservation software solution used by archives worldwide. “Every record in our collection is worthy of the universal accessibility we’ve been able to apply using the new digital preservation system,” says Bryan Collars, Electronic Records and Imaging Supervisor at SCDAH. “When the holdings of an archive are as historically important as ours, we take real pride in knowing that the world now has access to it.” Collars states that the project is ongoing, and SCDAH will continue to add electronic records to the archive as quickly as possible. “By introducing a digital preservation system, we can encourage more state and local government agencies to transfer electronic records, which will in turn help grow SCDAH’s collections while reducing storage costs for other agencies.”

Dr. W. Eric Emerson, SCDAH Director and State Historic Preservation Officer, noted that “the creation of the South Carolina Electronic Records Archive places SCDAH at the forefront of state archives nationwide, and we are working diligently to preserve and make available to the public the ever-growing number of electronic records that will be of historic value.”

Among the records you'll find is this composite photograph of the Members attending the 1895 South Carolina Constitutional Convention. There were 6 Black Men in attendance, five of whom represented Beaufort County during the convention: Robert Smalls; Thomas E. Miller; William J. Whipper; James Wigg; and Isaiah Reed. 

I was a little disappointed not to see Beaufort County listed in the Local Records page yet which may be due to the fact that you can gain access to some Beaufort County Council records through the Beaufort County government website http://www.bcgov.net/departments/Administrative/beaufort-county-council/minutes/index.php

Here is a list of the Beaufort County records we have on microfilm in our Research Room:

Council Minutes, 1888-2001

Council Resolutions and Proclamations, 1974-2000
Council Ordinances, 1970-2000
Register of Physicians & Surgeons, 1882-1992
Equity Decree Book, 1867-1876
Confederate Veterans Enrollment, 1919-1921
Voter Registration Book and List, 1957-1962
Calendar File Book (Common Pleas), 1974-1977
Bonds of Public Officials, 1984-2002
Register of County Offices, 1866-2002
Coroner’s Inquisition Books, 1888-1898, 1932-1951 

(Beaufort County offers a link to its financial information via the Tyler's Citizen Transparency database: http://openbooks.tylertech.com/_layouts/FormsBasedAutomatedLogin/loginOne.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fbeaufort%2f_layouts%2fAuthenticate.aspx%3fSource%3d%252Fbeaufort%252FTransWebPages%252FHome%252Easpx&Source=%2Fbeaufort%2FTransWebPages%2FHome%2Easpx)
As one of the oldest state archives in the United States, the South Carolina Department of Archives and History is the repository for documents covering South Carolina’s 346-year history. It houses records from as early as 1671, representing the overwhelming majority of state and local government agencies. The agency is located at 8301 Parklane Road in Columbia, and its Research Room is open to the public Tuesday-Saturday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM.

For more information about SCERA, please contact Grace Salter, Agency Advancement Coordinator, at 803-896-0339 or at gsalter@scdah.sc.gov.

If you have any questions about government records (or any of our collections) housed here in the Beaufort District Collection, please contact us: 843-255-6468 or gracec@bcgov.net

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