Archives Grant Helps Non-Profit to Preserve Jesse James� Family History

by Julie Hill

Posted on March 24, 2011

Archives is pleased to announce the recipient of the February Archives.com Grant award: The James Preservation Trust. Founded in 2002, this non-profit organization is dedicated to sharing and preserving the family history of the notorious American outlaw Jesse James.

The organization, led by President Eric James, conducts extensive James family history and genealogy research, maintains James family artifacts and archives, and administers the family's DNA study. James family genealogies are posted on the organization's website Stray Leaves. However, the work is far from complete.

Recently, the James family DNA study produced a surprise, revealing a new branch of the family tree. It was discovered that several of Jesse James' relatives were slave traders--a fact previously unknown to the family. President Eric James notes, "Every family keeps secrets. With this grant, I now get to research and confront how this became one."

With the $1,000 grant award, Eric James plans to travel to Tennessee and Mississippi to closely examine this family line, and conduct extensive interviews with community members. The findings will then be published as a book, the second in a series to be written by James. Eric James feels that this work is extremely important, as it will reveal original historical insights, and shed new light on the James family legacy.

Of the iconic family he's spent countless hours studying Eric James reveals, "the members of the Jesse James family were community builders, preachers, politicians, financiers, educators, writers, and poets. Equally, they were pariahs, outcasts, and outlaws." It is this dichotomy that makes the James family so interesting, and Archives is pleased to help The James Preservation Trust cover new ground in their research.

Archives.com established the Grant Program in January 2011, and has thus far given $3,000 to aid multiple family history projects.

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