Florida Archives, Libraries, and Societies

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This entry was originally written by the Florida Pioneer Descendants Certification Program Committee of the Florida State Genealogical Society, Inc. for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
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the Florida Family History Research series.
History of Florida
Florida Vital Records
Census Records for Florida
Background Sources for Florida
Florida Maps
Florida Land Records
Florida Probate Records
Florida Court Records
Florida Tax Records
Florida Cemetery Records
Florida Church Records
Florida Military Records
Florida Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Florida Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Florida Immigration
Florida Naturalization
Ethnic Groups of Florida
Florida Territorial Records
Florida Early Election Records
Florida County Resources
Map of Florida

Florida State Archives

Division of Library & Information Services
Bureau of Archives & Records Management
500 S. Bronough St., First Floor
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0250

The state archives is the official repository for the public records of Florida and is located in the same building as the State Library of Florida. Its book collection includes over 10,000 family and county histories. See the Florida Memory Project at www.floridamemory.com.

State Library of Florida

Division of Library & Information Services
Bureau of Archives & Records Management
500 S. Bronough St., Second Floor
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0250

The state library maintains the 'Florida Collection,' which contains printed and secondary source material for the state, such as city directories, histories, biographies, church surveys, and manuscripts.

P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History

University of Florida
Dept. of Special Collections
P.O. Box 117007'¯
Gainesville, FL 32611-7001'¯

This is the largest collection of Spanish colonial documents in the United States and the largest microfilm collection of Florida newspapers. The Florida Historical Map Collection at the P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History contains more than 2,300 images of Florida dating between 1564 and 1926. Other cartographic images of the state include the Sanborn Insurance maps and U.S.G.S. topographic maps.

The Alma Clyde Field Library of Florida History, Florida Historical Society

435 Brevard Ave.
Cocoa, FL 32922-7901

The Florida Historical Society, founded in 1856, is one of the oldest historical societies in the country with records dating back to the 1500s. Manuscripts, rare books, photographs, postcards, maps, ephemera, and a special collection of WPA records are now housed in the historic WPA Post Office building in downtown Cocoa village, where the Florida State Genealogical Society also houses its collection.

Florida State Genealogical Society, Inc.

P.O. Box 10249
Tallahassee, FL 32302

The society, whose permanent collection is at the Florida Historical Society, publishes the Florida Genealogist and through its website provides a current list of genealogical societies in the state. The Florida Pioneer Descendants Certificate Program is sponsored by the society.

Since 1977, descendants have been providing documented proof of their lineage to individuals who resided in Florida prior to statehood on 3 March 1845. All records submitted to 1995 have been microfilmed and are available at the society's library, Florida State Archives, and the FHL. Records from 1996 to the present are available for viewing at the Florida State Archives. For detailed information on the program and the index of pioneers, see the society's website.

John C. Pace Library

University of West Florida
11000 University Pkwy.
Pensacola, FL 32514-5750

The Special Collections maintains the Panton, Leslie Papers (1783'1821) a significant block of material on British and Spanish West Florida trade with Native Americans. In addition, the collections' focus is on the history and development of Pensacola and the West Florida region (ten counties of the Florida Panhandle, between the Perdido and Apalachicola rivers) from earliest settlement to the present time. It is the largest West Florida research collection in existence and a major repository dealing with Florida and the Gulf Coast region.

Otto G. Richter Library, University of Miami

1300 Memorial Dr., P.O. Box 248214
Coral Gables, FL 33124-0320

The Florida Collection here includes material on the historical, political, social, cultural, literary, ethnic development of Florida from the sixteenth century to the present day, with information on the growth and development of South Florida, particularly Miami, and Florida literature.

University of South Florida, Special Collections

4202 E. Fowler Ave., LIB122
Tampa, FL 33620

The website for Special Collections provides access to their digital collections, which includes indexes and finding aids. About 2,000 marriage records (1878'93) can be found here. Also available online is the Burgert Brothers photograph collection, which records Tampa's development from a small town to a major city. Other marriage records, such as Hillsborough County Marriage Records (1846'­1988), are also available.

John F. German Public Library, Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative

900 N. Ashley Dr.
Tampa, FL 33602-3788

The History & Genealogy Department is home to both a genealogy and a Florida history collection. A great resource is its online catalogs, which include an index to obituaries (since 1895) and an index to D. B. McKay's Pioneer Florida column (1946'60). Additional local history titles are added to this database on a regular basis.

Miami-Dade County Library

Main Library
101 W. Flagler St.
Miami, FL 33130-1523

The comprehensive collection of Floridiana dates from 1578 and includes books, maps, newspapers, periodicals, pictorial images, government documents, and some manuscript material. See the Miami Dade Public Library System's Online Catalog at their website. The library has an extensive genealogy collection that includes all census records from 1790 to 1930. Other major collections are the Dawes rolls (1898'1914), the Draper Manuscripts, and the Freedman Savings and Trust Registers.

Orlando Public Library

101 E. Central Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32801-2429

The Florida Collection at the Orlando Public Library consists mostly of nonfiction materials including a strong collection of state and local histories as well as appropriate government documents. Other items include Orange County maps (1900'80); and vertical file cabinets of clippings, brochures, and images pertaining to Florida history, culture, and civilizations. The Genealogy Department is generally considered to have the largest genealogy collection in Florida. The core collection was a gift of avid genealogist, Captain Charles Albertson. The library is the official repository of the Florida State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Jacksonville Public Library

122 N. Ocean St.
Jacksonville, FL 32202

The library's Florida Collection is a reference collection with an emphasis on Northeast Florida and Jacksonville. It is one of the largest collections of its type in a public library in Florida. The Genealogy Collection covers northeast Florida. Indexed microfiche of vital records are available for Florida and Georgia. Books, CDs, and microfilm include census/Soundex rolls, Confederate Pension Records for Florida soldiers, Duval County deeds, marriages and probate records, numerous genealogy periodicals, the Florida Times-Union newspaper index back to 1895, and Jacksonville City Directories beginning with 1870.

Indian River County Main Library

Florida History & Genealogy Department
1600 21st St.
Vero Beach, FL 32960

This is the only library outside of the Florida State Archives that is acquiring all county courthouse records in Florida. In addition, it has all microfilmed Florida records from the National Archives, collections on Florida history and maps, and an extensive genealogy collection of books and microfiche.

St. Augustine Historical Society

271 Charlotte St.
St. Augustine, FL 32084

The society has preserved and restored historical buildings from the 1600s. It offers students and researchers access to an exceptional library containing documents, published works, microfilm, maps, and illustrative material.

Pensacola Historical Society

117 E. Government St.
Pensacola, FL 32501

The library and archives is an invaluable resource for local genealogy or the study of Pensacola's rich history, which spans over 400 years, and includes an extensive collection of photographs.

Other libraries with a focus on genealogy and Florida history include:

Elmer's Genealogy Library

203 S. Range St.
Madison, FL 32340-2437

Largo Library

351 East Bay Dr.
Largo, FL 33770

Polk County Historical and Genealogical Library

100 E. Main St.
Bartow, FL 33830

The Southern Genealogist's Exchange Society

6215 Sauterne Dr.
Jacksonville, Florida
mailing address:
P.O. Box 2801
Jacksonville, FL 32203-2801

University of Central Florida

P.O. Box 162666
Orlando, FL 32816