MDAH Launches Family Genealogy Fellowships

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) will award fellowships of up to $2,000 to support individuals hoping to locate information related to their family history using resources available at MDAH. The fellowships are a part of a year-long initiative in 2022 to expand understanding of the Great Migration and its impact on Mississippi and the nation.

“The Great Migration is the largest internal migration of people in U.S. history. Many families who left Mississippi still feel a close connection to our state. We’re glad to be able to help them come back to Mississippi and research their roots,” said MDAH director Katie Blount.

Ten research stipends of up to $2,000 will be awarded to ten researchers to travel to Jackson, MS, and conduct three consecutive days of research at MDAH. Selected applicants may schedule their fellowships during the months of February, April, May, June, and July 2022. The stipend may be used to cover travel, accommodations, and other expenses accrued during the researcher’s time at MDAH such as the cost of copies. For more information or to apply, click here.

The Great Migration Initiative is a partnership between MDAH and the Mississippi Museum of Art (MMA). Additional programs and events include the exhibitions A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration at MMA, The Negro Motorist Green Book Guide at MDAH, joint teacher workshop, and other programs related to art and history. For more information on the Great Migration Initiative, email


2020 Eudora Welty Fellow Named

Margaret Pless, a doctoral student at the University of Mississippi, has been named the 2020 Eudora Welty Fellow. Pless will use archival holdings at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) to research how Eudora Welty constructed her identity in her writing.

“I want to understand how craft, for Welty, intersected with actual memory,” said Pless. “I am especially interested in using the archives to explore Welty's relationship with her mother, a relationship characterized in One Writer's Beginnings by secrecy. I want to understand how such secrecy shapes an understanding of self, especially in a figure as public as a writer.”

Established by MDAH and the Eudora Welty Foundation, the fellowship seeks to encourage and support research of the Eudora Welty Collection by graduate students.

“We're grateful to the Foundation for their continuing support and excited that Margaret Pless will make extensive use of the Welty Collection this summer,” said David Pilcher, director of the MDAH Archives and Record Services Division.

After receiving her BA in English and history from Vanderbilt University, Pless completed her MA in English at the University of Mississippi where she is currently working towards her PhD. Pless will use the $2,000 fellowship to cover travel, housing, and other expenses incurred while doing primary research at the William F. Winter Archives and History Building in Jackson.

Beginning in 1957, and over the course of more than forty years, Welty donated materials to the department, primarily literary manuscripts and photographs. At her death her remaining papers were bequeathed to MDAH and included unpublished manuscripts and 14,000 items of correspondence with family, friends, scholars, young writers, and noted writers.

The Eudora Welty Collection is the world’s finest collection of materials related to Welty and one of the most varied literary collections in the United States. Selected series in the Eudora Welty Collection may be closed due to the digitization of materials. Contact Forrest Galey at or 601-576-6850 for information about availability of the collection. The project is funded by a two-year National Endowment for the Humanities grant.



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