The Mississippi Digital Courthouse Project (MDCP) was created by University of Southern Mississippi historian Susannah J. Ural in 2015. Its work in Marion County, however, originated through the efforts of Ann Atkinson Simmons and the Marion County Historical Museum & Archives, a partner in this project. As the Founding Director of the Marion County Museum and Archives and former president of the Mississippi Historical Society and the Marion County Historical Society, Ann Simmons has been collecting, archiving, and preserving Marion County records for decades. When she and Ural met in 2014, their discussions about these sources helped Ural realize that Marion County, which is older than the state itself and near the Southern Miss research team, was the perfect place to launch the Mississippi Digital Courthouse Project.

Marion County Courthouse

Ural created the MDCP to digitize samplings of the state's Circuit and Chancery Court records from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. There are four main goals for this project:

  • to help communities preserve their history
  • to make community members more aware of their own past and how it can help them in county planning today
  • to give scholars and historians better access to local sources
  • to give a voice to populations who may not leave behind traditional sources (letters, diaries, memoirs, and newspapers) but whose stories can be found in court records.

The MDCP hopes to expand across south Mississippi and inspire similar cooperative projects between universities and their surrounding county courthouses throughout the state.