MESDA Craftsman Database FAQ


How do I save images from the MESDA Craftsman Database?

Right click on the image and select the “Save Image As” option. Then save the .jpg image file to your computer.


How do I print my search results?

Use your internet browser’s “Print” function (usually found under the “File” menu item) to print pages. If you have a PDF creator or virtual printer installed on your computer you can “Print” to your search results to a PDF document.


What do I need to know about Geographic Location?

Individuals who worked in the Wachovia Area of North Carolina have been documented in a separate database. If your search results include Wachovia Area craftsmen, you will see basic information about their records but for now will need to come to the Research Center to access the full text. MESDA plans to digitize the Wachovia Area resident cards and incorporate them into the Craftsman Database in the future.

If artisans have been found working in two or more locations, they are listed in each location, with separate MESDA identification numbers. Again, caution must be used when identifying migrating craftsmen. When names appear twice, they may or may not represent the same person; to conclude that two listings of the same name do indeed refer to the same person in different regions is a judgment to be made by the researcher based on all the information available.

While primarily focused on MESDA’s early South (Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennessee), some effort has been made to identify migrating craftsmen in cities and towns in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states. Primarily drawn from city directories, you will encounter records in the Craftsman Database for men and women working outside of the MESDA’s seven-state region.


How many craftsman records are there?

There are over 90,000 records covering craftsman primarily working in the South but some have been identified in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states. The records begin as early as 1585 and extend through 1860. The Craftsman Database continues to grow as MESDA’s researchers examine new and recently acquired documents. As MESDA research associates identify new craftsmen or add new material concerning existing craftsmen, that information will appear in the Biblio Source field located below the card images. If a craftsman has been identified after MESDA switched to digital recording, then no card images will be present.