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Mystery Solved: ‘Missing’ County Records Returned 60 Years After They Disappeared

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) —  After 60 years of mystery thousands of pages of Madison County historic documents are back in the hands of county record keepers thanks to a local family.

Three descendants of James William Bragg Sr. delivered the Madison County Records Center the first 8 boxes of documents that “disappeared” from the courthouse in the 1950s.  Benjamin Bragg says  there are about 20 boxes in his family’s climate controlled storage facility.

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According to family, James William Bragg Sr. took the records and carefully preserved them for years. He was known as a very serious historian, developing a master’s thesis when he began taking records home for further study, with the probate judge’s permission in the 1950s, but he unexpectedly passed away before returning everything to the courts.

After his death the family maintained the tradition of keeping the records safe.

Record keepers say the discovery includes “long-lost” court records from the territorial days and even some Civil War era records.

*Click here for an Inventory List of all the records included in the Bragg Family Collection

“We do strongly suspect that several other families may also have old court records, taken from the courthouse many years ago, and hope they will get those back to us,” historian John Rankin told WHNT News 19.

Rankin hopes more families with rich history in Madison County will check their attics and storage sheds in the hopes of finding the rest of the missing documents.

If you do have public records contact the Madison County Records Department  located on the 3rd floor of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library (Main) @ 915 Monroe Street, Huntsville, AL 35801.

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