Research

Maybe you’re a genealogist discovering your family story. A student writing a report. An educator building a classroom presentation. Or, a curious mind exploring the people, places and events that shaped your Mississippi. You have come to the right place. Through MDAH, you can search the ultimate primary resource of Mississippi’s historical documents, archival collections, archaeology, artifacts, and more.

Some of our collections are available online, while others must be viewed in person at the William F. Winter Archives & History Building in Jackson. Here you will find an overview of the items in our library, where to locate them, how to order copies of historical images, and how to make a research request for our staff researchers.


Research at the William F. Winter Building

Our reading rooms are open to the public at no charge, with experienced staff to assist researchers. The rooms are located on the first floor of the William F. Winter Archives & History Building at 200 North Street (next to the Two Mississippi Museums) in downtown Jackson, Mississippi.

  • The Public Reading Room: Nearly 20,000 published works on genealogy
  • The Archival Reading Room: Original records, rare works, diaries, and photographs
  • The Media Reading Room: Audiovisual recordings and microfilmed materials, such as census records and newspapers
Plan Your Visit

The William F. Winter Archives & History Building is currently closed based on information provided by the Mississippi Department of Health about the Coronavirus epidemic. It will reopen on July 7. 

The William F. Winter Archives & History Building is located in downtown Jackson, a short drive from the airport and within walking distance of hotels and notable local restaurants.

For the most up-to-date information on what to do and where to stay in Jackson, go to the Visit Jackson website here

What To Bring

Pencils, notecards, paper, notebooks, laptops, and portable electronic devices may be brought into the library. 

Lockers are available free of charge in the lobby for items such as briefcases and purses. 

Free Wi-Fi is available in the reading rooms and work tables have power outlets. 

Scanners are not allowed in the Archival or Media Reading Rooms. 

Money to add credit to your Reading Room Identification Card for photocopying and printer use in reading rooms. Staff does not make change or give refunds. Please bring $1, $5, $10, or $20 bills. Photocopies range from $.20 to $.50 per page depending upon the nature of the material. 

First time visitors to the state archives will need a Reading Room Identification Card to use in the library. There is no charge to obtain a card, but a photo ID is required. The card serves as a debit card for use with printers and photocopy machines in the reading rooms.

Reading Room and Hours

The William F. Winter Archives & History Building is currently closed based on information provided by the Mississippi Department of Health about the Coronavirus epidemic. It will reopen on July 7. 

The library, on the first floor of the William F. Winter Archives & History Building, can accommodate up to 160 researchers. There are three areas. The Public Reading Room contains nearly 20,000 published works on Mississippi genealogy and related fields. 

Patrons must have a Reading Room Identification Card to use the library. There is no charge to obtain a card, but a photo ID is required. The card serves as a debit card for use with printers and photocopy machines in the reading rooms. Credit can be added on site with $1, $5, $10, or $20 bills. Photocopies range from $.20 to $.50 per page depending upon the nature of the material. Staff does not make change or give refunds. 

  Public Reading Room Archival & Media Reading Rooms
Monday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Saturday 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. 8 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

 

The Department of Archives and History is closed on official state holidays and at the discretion of the director.

Directions and Parking

The William F. Winter Archives & History Building is located at 200 North Street, Jackson, MS 39201. 

Take the High Street exit (96B) off I-55. Take High Street west, then turn left onto North Street. The Winter Building is on the corner of North and Amite Streets. The reading rooms of the state archives are on the first floor. 

Parking is available on North Street and in the Two Mississippi Museums parking garage that is accessed from Jefferson Street between Amite and Mississippi Street.
 

Geneaology

Genealogy

Follow the story of your family through our collection of records and archives. Before you travel to the Winter Building take a moment to see which types of records we do, and don’t, have. Learn More

Medgar Evers House

Historic Buildings & Sites

Search our database of Mississippi’s historic landmarks and architecture for construction dates, architects, builders, National Register listings, and Mississippi Landmark designations. Search Database

Collections

Collections

MDAH has been actively collecting and preserving Mississippi history since 1902. Our holdings include archival records, historic objects, and archaeological artifacts that span 13,000 years of Mississippi history. Learn More

Catalog

Use our online catalog to search a variety of items from books and manuscripts to photographs and newspapers. While much of our collection is available only at the state archives in the William F. Winter Archives & History Building, some materials that are born digital or have been digitized are available online. 

Before visiting our reading rooms, search our online catalog for descriptions of the items you’d like to view in person.  Helpful hint: choose “advanced search,” select “electronic records,” and enter your keyword to find digitized records.  

Search Catalog

Volunteer

Be part of history. Volunteer with MDAH and help us preserve and connect Mississippi’s rich historic resources with people around the world.


Volunteer

Make a Research Request

Our Help Desk provides quick answers to basic questions using available reference works and finding aids. We offer assistance in-person at the William F. Winter Archives & History Building or by calling the Ready Reference Help Desk at 601-576-6964 or emailing refdesk@mdah.ms.gov

If your request requires further research, it must be submitted in writing along with the appropriate service fee, which provides for one hour of staff research on your request and up to ten photocopies of material that may be located in the process. If more than ten materials are located, you will be notified before being charged for additional photocopies.

Due to the number of requests we receive, we must limit our search to one hour per request, after which we will send you a letter explaining the results. For more extensive projects, MDAH maintains a list of freelance researchers.

How to submit a written request:
State your question clearly in a letter, including as many details as possible. Mail it with a check or money order payable to “MDAH, Archives and Records Services Division,” to:

MDAH, Archives and Records Services Division
P.O. Box 571
Jackson, MS 39205-0571

Service Fee
Please do not send more than the specified amount.

In-state service fee: $10
In-state requests come from people who live in Mississippi.

Out-of-state service fee: $35
Out-of-state requests come from people who do not live in Mississippi.

Order Historical Images

The world’s finest collection of images related to Mississippi is housed in the MDAH archives, which includes more than a quarter-million historical photographs, postcards, maps, and other images documenting Mississippi’s people, places, and events. Copies of most of these images may be ordered for a small fee.

You may order digital copies of most items in the collection. Scans of items are produced at 300 or 600 pixels per inch and provided as TIFF files on a CD or placed on a server from which they may be retrieved electronically.

An explanation of costs and fees is available here.

Orders may be picked up at the William F. Winter Archives & History Building without handling fees, mailed to patrons for $3 per order, or placed on a server from which they may be retrieved for $8 per order.

Oversize items may incur additional charges. Items can also be sent via FedEx and billed to an account provided by the patron.

An explanation of costs and fees is available here.

Many patrons prefer to visit the archives and view the actual images before ordering copies. However, it is possible to order copies from the collection without ever coming to the state archives.

Most of the images are not viewable online, but descriptions for all images are listed in the online catalog. Existing digital files may be viewed via links from the online catalog records or on our Digital Archives pages.

To order, print and fill out the Order Form/Invoice. Be sure to include each item’s accession number and box and folder numbers, if available, on the order form.

Mail the completed form with check (payable to MDAH, Archives and Records Services Division) to:

MDAH, Archives and Records Services Division
Attn: Reference Services
P.O. Box 571
Jackson, MS 39205-0571

For more information email us at refdesk@mdah.ms.gov or call 601-576-6876.

The Eudora Welty Collection consists of manuscripts, photographs, printed works, and other materials given to MDAH by Eudora Welty during her lifetime and by her heirs, incorporated as Eudora Welty, LLC, after her death.

While MDAH owns the prints and negatives, copyright to the material is held by Eudora Welty, LLC, and all requests to reproduce images from the Welty Collection must receive its permission. When producing copies, the MDAH standard is to produce from the negative or original item as is. Different specifications for processing must be included in the approval from Eudora Welty, LLC.

Written requests may be submitted to the *agents of Eudora Welty, LLC, directly or to MDAH, which forwards them to the agents or Eudora Welty, LLC. Upon approval of the request from Eudora Welty, LLC, or its agents, an order may be placed with MDAH using our Order Form/Invoice. Completion and submission of a Publication Permission Form is also required because MDAH maintains physical ownership. See the Cost and Fee Schedule for prices. Eudora Welty, LLC, and its agents may assess fees or royalties for publication use. MDAH does not assess use fees for materials from the Welty Collection.

*Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents
27 W. 20th Street, Suite 305
New York, NY 10011
212-352-2055
Contact Max Moorhead at max@mmqlit.com or info@mmqlit.com

MDAH’s extensive film collections are renowned for the coverage of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and life in mid to late twentieth-century Mississippi. Interested in ordering copies of our footage?

Learn more

Reference MDAH Publications

Together with many of our partners, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History publishes numerous works that can serve as a valuable reference for anyone researching Mississippi’s many stories.