Help/FAQs for Site Users

Question: How do you go about navigating this site? 

Answer: There are a couple of different ways. For a general search can click on a specific site collection of interest. For narrowing searches to specific tags can utilize the sort tag feature.

Question: How do I view and manipulate the digital images to be user friendly?

Answer: The best way to go about doing this is to right click on the image and then save as to your computer. The saved image will allow you to zoom in and out, rotate the image, and manipulate the picture in a much more user friendly way then on the environmental archive site. This is extremely helpful for deeds, U.S.G.S. maps, or any other image.

Question: What are all these deeds for?

Answer: The deeds show transfer of properties from grantors to grantees, which trace back who owned the land, and what they might have done with it.

Question: What does this collection include?

Answer: This collection includes changes in ownership, various interpretative maps, and river studies. Also accounts of NEPA studies done by the Environmental Protection Agency and any additional material that would help students understand environmental changes and how it affects our community.  

Question: Why are environmental changes to the land important?

Answer: The changes in land usage show us how the land had been used previously and what the landscape may have looked liked before it was manipulated. It primarily gives us a picture of what type of species may have been presented in an area and how the land has been used over time.

Next steps for the Enviornmental Archive

Tips on how to continue with the project if I was still apart of the team.  The first objective would be to acquire the land deeds and any plat maps from the KSU East campus and Sports Complex already constructed. Then go back as far as you could, probably be around time after the Civil War. These properties will be located along Chastain, Big Shanty Road, and Busbee.  For those familiar with the area are the KSU stadium, Continuing Education building, and fields around the old Gold Gym across from the Atlanta Beat Stadium, and fields being constructed. This information will be found at the Cobb County Superior Court Building on the bottom floor where deeds and records are kept. More information on this process is listed below. This will enable you to show a complete history of the property and previous land usage by the owners before being acquired by the Kennesaw State University Foundation. Also any additional maps that could be found will assist in layding down the foundation and most of this might have already been acquired. Secondly, to inquire about any materials still available at KSU Facilities, which is located at the corner of Chastain Road and Big Shanty Road. Can contact Paul Underwood or John Anderson at 770-499-3602. After acquiring all this additional information and adding what Dr. Dickey's classes have done last semester on KSU, I would check with Dr. Keene on what more could be possibly done and probably clean up the site a little bit as he will be utilizing it to teach a class. What changes have been positive and what can be done better. Then once got the go ahead to proceed with the next project.

Once KSU campus is completed or an additional builder is added, that person can move on to the Kennesaw Battlefield goal and start with acquiring deeds associated with those properties taken by the federal government before the park was established at the turn of th 19th century. Some of this information might be already located with the National Park Service and HABS site, those of you with historic preservation knowledge know what I'm talking about. Can check with Dr. Dickey for additional assistance and Dr. Thomas Scott's papers from students might find valuable information on how this park was created and how to start deed collecting. Then need to aquire a layout of the area and find any possible GIS maps, historical maps, and anything that will give you a picture of the area prior to and after the establishment of the federal park. There might be some useful information at the Library of Congress website and even locally at city of Kennesaw, or Cobb County offices. Then talk with the people at the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park and see what they have if have not done so already. 

Help File for Future Researchers

Here are a few tips and guidelines to help you get started with Kennesaw State University’s Environmental Archive research project for Dr. Keene.

The basis of this project, as a researcher, is to uncover changes in land use of a particular site and the ecological impact over time at that location. Most importantly, keep your focus as a researcher on the main topic. Similarly, how would a student utilize this information that you have gathered for researching this site, does this material impact the environment, and try not to get preoccupied with going down a rabbit hole? So, when creating a finding aid as what you will be doing make sure that it helps the student identify the main points clearly and document everything as you proceed.

Might be wondering, how do I go about starting to work on this project? The goal with each new site is to develop a baseline as phase one and going back as far as possible to who has owned the land and the maps associated with the property to get a visual sense of the area. This would also suggest going out to the site and introducing yourself, describe what the project is all about, and develop contacts. So that when you begin phase two of that site will be able to gather environmental data changes from them. At these various projects, there will also be professors that can help you along the way that have been at these sites already conducting studies such as Dr. Catherine Lewis and Dr. Jennifer Dicker at In The Valley and Hyde Farm and they will be able to give you contacts and information to help you along the way. For the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park there are HABS information available online and Dr. Dickey could help assist with that too. Dr. Brian Wills, Civil War Historian at KSU, might have some interesting information or contacts at the Civil War offices located on the 3rd floor of the social science building.

Phase one is established initially by gathering property deeds. Deeds and record offices can be found at Cobb County for Hyde Farm and Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield Park. For land associated with In The Valley, would need to go to Bartow County deeds office. Lake Allatoona and Lake Ackworth are in Bartow, Cherokee, and Cobb counties and will have to explore association with Army Corps of Engineers. Before you go down to the deeds office, you will need a starting point and it is imperative that you find the property number that corresponds with the piece of land. There are a couple ways of doing this; Start with the most recent owner, which is the grantee and whom they acquired the property from, the grantor. From there you will find the county lot number and what district it is located, an example would be Kennesaw State University is located at land lot 97 in the 20th district of Cobb County. Also, check with the local county’s website to see what you can discover online, because most counties have begun to digitize this material, however to get back to the very beginning you will be required to take a field trip going through the books.

When you are there, make sure you write down to whom you speak with at the deeds and record office, such as Pearlie Vaughn and Rita Webb at the Cobb County Superior Court Deeds & Records Office. Accurate documentation is critical as a researcher so that anyone whom follows in your footsteps can retract your steps if necessary, such as future students doing research projects. Make sure you bring a camera to take photographs and to capture any material that you might find, so that later you can digitize it and load it up onto the site. Most of the old deeds in the 20th century will have plat maps that a surveyor drew of the land, make sure you photograph each of these corresponding land lots if their available. If you do not have a camera, speak with Dr. Livingston or a member of the archives staff and they might be able to loan you their camera for the day. Take plenty of photographs, better to have too many to decipher later than having to go back and retaking photographs. Secondly, it may take time familiarizing the office and may not get much done at first, but it will come.

Once have acquired all of the deeds of the property, you will be able to start to have the necessary background information to get a layout of the land. Develop an episode list of the most important incidents that have occurred at this place. Next objective for establishing the baseline is to acquire maps of the location to get a visual picture of environmental changes. For this you will want to go to the usgs.gov website and download the maps associated with the property by city and put them onto the website. Some helpful hints would be going to the county central library, university library, GA historic & preservation offices, Georgia archives, and seeing what they may have and always take a camera to document any material.

Phase II will be to investigate environmental concerns of that location, and creating a dialogue with the site directors, which will be very helpful at this stage. Mainly here, you will be searching to find out any environmental impact such as zoning changes, geological surveys, river and stream studies, HABS or Historical American Building Survey studies, and etc.  You will need to speak with the site directors, about any changes in land usage over the years and any documentation they may have such as NEPA studies, which were required by the 1969 Environmental & Protection Agency Act. Georgia is within region four of the EPA. Looking up the EPA website, might contain rewarding data. At this stage you will begin to see what environmental alterations have come to pass and give researchers information to pursue various topics of interest.

Just remember your job as a research archivist assistant for this project is to be objective and think like an archivist, which will enable you to create a helpful finding aid and investigative tools for the student.

Closing

When putting deeds, documents, maps, and anything else onto the website make sure that you label each one. Adding the year prior to the title of the object will keep it within sequential order. Next, give an insight into the transfer of land or a general notice of what the material is all about and where you found it. Finally, provide any contact information available and give appropriate general tags for versatile search purposes. From the pictures that you take, make sure you download Picasa. The Photoshop program that can be found within a Google search. The program is very simple to use and will give you the ability to crop the photos taking out any unnecessary defects. Secondly, by using I'm feeling lucky or auto color can enhance the picture quality. There are other tools there can play around with as well if inclined to do so. Once you are done editing within Photoshop, save it, and then upload the picture online to Enviornmental archives website. Then can proceed to label and identify the picture as any other item you add. Any physical materials that you may find can be kept in the environmental archives folder found within KSU Archives.

Good Luck and Happy Hunting!!!

Warm Regards,

Jonathan Torkos