Clay County Genealogy Resources
Tracing our ancestral trees can give us an enriched sense of our heritage and a better understanding of our family history. The Archives aims to provide best-in-class genealogical research materials.
To make your research easier, volunteers have transcribed 75 lists, most of which are not available at ancestry sites. They are specific to Clay County. We have combined the lists into a single database so that you can search once. We call this the Goldmine of Names.
We have also standardized surnames making it easier to use our Goldmine of Names search engine. In the 19th century, many people did not know how to spell their names. Officials guessed if they weren’t sure. Later transcribers couldn’t read the handwriting and made additional guesses. This resulted in some people’s names being spelled many different ways. Volunteers spent years reviewing the records to standardize these names so that you can search once, instead of all possible spelling variations.
As you find interesting entries in our database, we can help you find the original source material. Much of it comes from bound records, court cases, or vertical files which have at the Archives.
The Archives also has in house access to many of the popular online genealogy sites.
Tracing African-American families earlier than 1900 or so presents some challenges. Cemeteries have disappeared. Not much shows up in official records. Few family histories have been published. And prior to the Civil War, few surnames are used.
To aid your research volunteers have been collecting and indexing black history sources. Please ask us for help to get started. You may also be interested in Jane Lander’s “Black Society in Spanish Florida”, available at the Archives and “The Forresters” by Vishi Garig. The Forrester family was the only free African-American family in Clay County in 1860. Many Clay residents are their descendants including, the Lycurgus, Redmond, Lewis, Miller, Lemon and Stewart families.
The Archives maintains subject files on more than 400 individuals and families. The files contain clippings, photos, family histories, oral interviews and other items. | Catalog of the Subject Files – Genealogy |The catalog is always being added to so if you don’t see a name you’re interested in there, email us and we can check our files for you.
A genealogy group focused on Clay County families meets at the Fleming Island library. Tiffani Pearson is in charge of the genealogy room at the library. Email Tiffani at Tiffani.Pearson@claycountygov.com