Primary & Secondary Sources
As students explore history, science and literature, they will find the need to analyze primary and secondary sources. An evaluation of history related primary sources is done to determine their reliability. Reliable primary sources help to differentiate between kinds of historical persons and their contributions to the bigger picture. Use of information from multiple sources (primary and secondary) helps us form a more complete picture of historical events.
What is a primary source?
Think of it as dealing with raw data – a document or physical object written or created during the time period or event being studied. Examples include original documents, relics or artifacts (pottery, clothing, furniture, buildings), and contemporaneous recordings (oral histories, diaries, letters, photos).
At the Clay County Archives Center you will find the following primary sources for your review/use: correspondence/letters, diaries, interviews, physical artifacts, manuscripts, military service records.
What is a secondary source?
This type of source interprets and analyzes a primary source, steps removed from the original. Secondary sources may have pictures of or quotes from primary sources, like a book written by an author who draws from multiple primary sources to create an organized story about a historic event. Examples include textbooks, magazines, articles, commentaries, encyclopedias.
At the Clay County Archives Center you will find the following secondary sources for your review/use: historical fiction, media/press publications, autobiographies, memoirs, census records, ledger books, recorded oral histories.
Artifacts – We have those, too!
The Clay County Archives Center and our storage building houses more than documents, books and photographs. We have artifacts – tangible items – on display that tell stories themselves. For example, the bullets that killed Sheriff Peeler in 1894, county maps, a chunk of concrete foundation from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Hell House” studio, and much more.