Cape Girardeau County Archive Center in Jackson.
Part 1 of this article focused on three places for historical research in Cape Girardeau. This part is about three facilities in Jackson. The Cape Girardeau County Courthouse, which includes only public records of the county and no personal collections, was left off the list.
Cape County has six research facilities for a population of 81,710. It may seem like a lot, but if you look closely, each site is unique. The people working at these facilities are great at their jobs and eager to assist you in your research.
I mentioned some tips for research in my first article and want to repeat them in this one. First, make friends with a research librarian. They can make your life much easier searching for a topic and often make suggestions guiding you to a great find. Go prepared. Call the research facility to set an appointment time and ask them to pull the material you want to examine. This helps everyone be more efficient. You may want to contact the facility first, introduce yourself and discuss your research project. Use a pencil instead of an ink pin. If you slip and hit the document, you won’t leave a permanent mark. Allow the librarian to put documents you’ve examined back on the shelf to reduce the chance of misplacing an item. With each facility containing specific collections a short drive to Jackson to check out their three facilities is well worth the drive.
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The Riverside Regional Library — riversideregionallibrary.org — opened in 1955 to serve the residents of Cape County. It is the central library for the three-county (Cape, Scott and Perry) Riverside Regional Library system. While the library does not house any specific collections, it provides one-on-one help on devices, such as tablets and computers with tutorials on their website and the ability to get interlibrary loans within their system and outside of it along with many other services.
The Cape Girardeau County Archive Center — capecounty.us/archivecenter/archive%20center.aspx — opened its doors in 2001, after records from several county offices were moved into the newly constructed, 4,500-square-foot building. The building preserves some of the oldest records in the state beginning with 1790. If you’re interested in genealogy, this is the place to start. Its website gives a list of its extensive holdings.
The Cape County History Center’s Research Annex — capegirardeaucountyhistorycenter.wordpress.com/links/ — opened in 2021. Since its opening, the Annex has received many collections, so it’s best to call to check on its ever-growing collections. Genealogy research with Ancestry.com plus on a couple of computers allows you to search European databases at no cost.
If you’ve never done historical research but wonder about the “who, what, when and how” of a historical person or event, and you like solving a mystery, Cape County has six great places to begin your research. Each site has great staff willing to assist you in your research, so don’t hesitate to start the journey.