The Archives faithfully preserves historical documents and artifacts relavent to Clay County.
We use a system to track our holdings which helps us locate them for you, and provides a method for you to cite them in your research. The top level are "Collections," and are listed below. Collections are divided into "Series" of similar material, and are further divided into "items" which are the various individual boxes, files, or in some cases, individual numbered documents.
The Archives has retained the system of arrangement of public records which the various constitutional officers created. For other collections, the Archivist has created arrangements appropriate to the holdings.
This website provides historical context by showcasing items primarily from the Maps and Subject Files collections, supplemented with links to other sites which provide historical information outside of the Archives collections. For example, the Family Histories and Diaries & Letters shown in the pull-down menu are nearly all samples from the Subject Files and links to other sites.
Besides the collections, hundreds of books have been donated to the Archives Reading Room.
The Archives collections include:
The Clay County Public Records from the 18th and early 19th century.
This large collection of Public Records are bound documents and files. It is in generally good condition, and is stored in a secured, air conditioned vault adjacent to the archives. The Archivist will retrieve materials as researchers call for them. Some records are stored in the Clerk's Vault and we can direct you to easily find them in the walk-in shelves.
The materials include all of the existing, early records of the Board of County Commissioners and the constitutional officers. For example: probate, civil & criminal proceedings, Board of County Commissioners (BCC) minutes, tax records, deeds, voter lists (poll books), and sheriff records. An inventory of the Archives is available.
More recent public records maintained by the Clerk may be available at clerk.co.clay.fl.us, or at the constitutional officers. For your information, in Florida, the Clerk has a wide set of responsibilties, including serving as the recorder of deeds.
The Archives has a small set of copies of public records from other locations, and is in the process of locating additional materials. In general, volunteers have provided copies or transcriptions of those materials. For example, Clay became a county in 1859. Original Duval County probate and marriage records are at the Duval Clerk's office, but copies of the indexes are available at the Archives so you can determine if it is worth your while to look farther afield.
Maps include an assortment of hundreds of miscellaneous maps that have been collected over the years, arranged by geographic area in drawers.
Complete hardcopy sets of aerial photographs of the county for vavrious years. Two of these years are also available online at www.uflib.ufl.edu/ufdc/?c=flap but the printed versions have much more detail.
Plat map books, in their original bound form. Instructions for viewing these plats online at the Clerk's site are available.
In addition, the Archives holds hundreds of historical paper maps which are listed in the Inventory of Maps in the Archives.
Many actual hardcopy issues of historical newspapers are stored in archival boxes. Some of these are the only known copies of those publications.
Twenty binders of newspaper clippings are arranged chronologically, and some have been digitized. In addition, hundreds more clippings are stored in the Subject FIles.
The photograph collection contains more than 50,000 images related to Clay County. The Archivist, a professional photographer, has captured images of the county during his tenure. In addition, he has taken an interest in collecting images from other public archives and from local families who have donated materials.
All of the photographs are digitial. Very few original negatives or printed photographs are available.
Subject files (vertical files) of loose documents are maintained by the Archives on various subjects including architecture, businesses, churches, cemeteries, elections, people and military concerns. An Index to Subjecti Files is available at the Archives.
The Special Collections contain a wide-variety of unrelated holdings, including Village Improvement Association records, Health Department scapbooks, and many other subjects.
While not strictly speaking a museum, the Archives does retain hundreds of artifacts of various description. These have been arranged into attactive displays both in the Archives building and at the Old Courthouse.
Besides our up-to-date catalog, the "County Archives for Clay" is a WPA era publication describing the Clerk's office and Clay County at that time. Available at the Archives.