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Start here for an overview of the research process in History, with suggested resources.

Journal Articles

In addition to the traditional history databases listed on the Secondary Sources: Journal Articles page of this guide, historic preservationists and architectural historians may want to consult specialized literature in architecture, architectural history, and related fields. The following databases index popular and scholarly architecture journals.

Property Research

There are many primary source materials that may be useful for doing original research on a building or landscape. Sites that already have a historic designation or have been researched for potential inclusion on such lists may be found on national and state level registries.


State of Florida

Tallahassee / Leon County


Genealogy & Census Records

Many companies market genealogy databases for researching one's family tree. These often include census registers; vital records like birth, marriage, and death certificates; immigration records; and newspapers. Some will allow searching for free, but most require a subscription available by the month or year.

FSU Libraries is not able to provide access to these services. However, the Leon County Public Library and the State Library & Archives both provide on-site access to

The decennial United States Census is an invaluable resource for finding people and learning about community demographics. The questions that the Census takers asked changed year to year, so classifications by race, occupation, and other interesting characteristics are not always consistent between census years.

To protect individual privacy, the detailed registers of census takers that include individual names, ages, etc., are not released to the public until 72 years after that census year. Thus, the most recent detailed census records available to the public are from the 1950 census. More recent census data is available in aggregate.


Local newspapers can be a gold mine for information on individuals, business, and other events relevant to historic sites and properties. Many newspapers published social pages that announced marriages, parties, and other life events, in addition to reporting on what we might consider more "newsworthy" topics.

Consult the Newspapers guide for a complete list of Florida and other United States newspapers available in our full-text searchable databases and on microfilm.

Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)

The federal Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) began as a New Deal program during the Great Depression and continues into the present. The Library of Congress keeps the records for HABS and its related programs, some of which is digitized and accessible online. Search the HABS page for "Tallahassee" for links to buildings that were deemed important enough for detailed surveying.

Of particular interest is the study and diagrams of the former Smokey Hollow community, an African-American neighborhood that grew in what was then the southeastern edge of the city as African-Americans migrated from the surrounding countryside into this mixed rural-urban settlement. The residents of Smokey Hollow were displaced in the 1960s in the name of urban renewal, the land being used for expanding state government buildings and what is today Cascades Park.

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