Join the Crowd at MSA’s Family History Festival

By Emily Huebner, Research Archivist at the Maryland State ArchivesLearn about document archival and scanning at the Family History Festival!

For the second consecutive year, the Maryland State Archives is hosting a family history festival with the sponsorship of The Crowley Company. An Archive can seem like an unconventional location for a festival, but with the help of staff, supporting partners like Crowley and an enthusiastic community of genealogists and historians, the Maryland State Archives (MSA) is bracing for our largest, most informative and fun festival yet.

The Family History Festival is one of the ways that the Maryland State Archives fulfills its obligation to serve the people of today. Festivals – whether they celebrate a harvest, the arts, an anniversary or the pursuit of one’s roots – are community events. This particular festival celebrates the past, more specifically the documents, images, artifacts and family ties that connect the Marylanders of today to those of yesterday.

2014: The Flagship Event

The 2014 MSA Family History Festival drew more than 500 visitors, who learned about topics such as book and archival scanning.
The 2014 MSA Family History Festival drew more than 500 visitors.

The warmth with which the first MSA festival was embraced by the community exceeded even our own expectations. Within minutes of opening the doors, the activities and search, lecture and workshop rooms were filled and remained so throughout the day. Altogether, the first Family History Festival drew approximately 500 visitors from across the state and country.


2015: Bigger and Better

Next Saturday, November 7th, the Maryland State Archives will open its doors once again for this free public event.

This year, MSA is offering a new workshop in conservation sponsored by The Crowley Company. Our in-house conservationists will present and guide participants in a hands-on activity, using their expertise to help visitors learn how to preserve their own family treasures.

Learn about archival scanning and preserving at the Family History Festival.
History and research comes alive for all ages at the Family History Festival.

Other workshops will teach visitors how to use – the access point for all land records in Maryland going back to the founding of the colony – and our catalog, also known as the Guide to Government Records. Professional genealogists will give lectures on how to begin genealogical research and how to turn this research into lasting family treasures. The Chesapeake Children’s museum will be on hand with fun for the whole family, featuring activities and games. And finally, what festival is complete without food?  Food trucks will be parked at the Archives to sustain the hungry work of researching.


9:00 a.m.

Activity Registration

10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Participate in workshops, hear lectures, speak with representatives of genealogical and historical societies from around the state, participate in interactive family activities, take and share pictures in our social media station and collect giveaways donated by the Archives and its partners.

Take Advantage of MSA

The Maryland State Archives organizes festivals and participates in outreach and education in order to ensure that future generations of Marylanders understand and have access to their history. Every day people come into the MSA search room looking for records created by their own lives – like birth and marriage records – or the lives of people in the past – like certificates of freedom and Revolutionary militia muster rolls. It is only by serving the community, made possible with the support of generous partners like The Crowley Company, that the past, present and future meet in the Archives.

For more information about the Maryland State Archives’ Family History Festival, please go to our website or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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