State archives can be an invaluable resource for finding information for your genealogy research. The amount of information available for free online varies from state to state. Mississippi is one of the growing number of states that offers a Digital Archive. The digital archive currently offers documents of the Sovereignty Commission, a number of photograph collections, a historic map collection, interviews with Sam H Bowers Jr and the estate papers of Jefferson Davis.
The Sovereignty Commission operated from 1956 to 1973. It was created in response to Brown v. Board of Education. Officially, the Commission's purpose was to protect the sovereignty of Mississippi against federal encroachment. In actuality, the Commission was put in place to counter civil rights activism.
The records contain the names and activities of thousands of individuals. Records include lists of teachers, investigation reports, letters, telegrams and more. If you have family that lived in Mississippi in the time period the Commission operated, it's worth searching to see if there are any records pertaining to them in this collection.
There are a number of photograph collections including the 1927 Flood Photograph Collection, photographs from Hurricanes Camille and Katrina, Lochinvar Photograph Collection, Mississippi State Penitentiary and Vicksburg National Military Park Photographs, just to name a few. Other personal collections document the state of Missisippi and her people.
The Historic Map Collection is another free genealogy resource offered in the digital archive. The collection has over 2,400 maps. However, at this time, only 22 are currently digitized.
The Jefferson Davis Estate Papers will be of interest to those that study the Civil War. Jefferson Davis served as President of the Confederate States of America. The complete probate and will file are available. You can browse or search the collection.
Sam H Bowers Jr was responsible for the death of civil rights leader Vernon Dahmer. In the 1980s, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History recorded three interviews with him. These are available to listen to for free in the digital archives. Transcriptions of the interviews, as well as a manuscript written by Bowers is also available.