In this Saturday, Jan. 27, 2013 photo, University of South Florida professor J. Michael Francis holds fragile documents at the Historical Archives of the Catholic Diocese of St. Augusti

 

              In this Saturday, Jan. 27, 2013 photo, University of South Florida professor J. Michael Francis holds fragile documents at the Historical Archives of the Catholic Diocese of St. Augusti
In this Saturday, Jan. 27, 2013 photo, University of South Florida professor J. Michael Francis holds fragile documents at the Historical Archives of the Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine, in St. Augustine, Fla. The records date back to the year 1594, when Spanish colonialists settled in the area. Francis is working to digitize the records. They are written in Spanish and recorded the births, deaths, baptisms and marriages of the earliest settlers of the United States. Florida celebrates its 500th anniversary this year. Records show that by the time Jamestown was settled in Virginia in the early 1600's, St Augustine was a diverse home to 500 people of European descent, Native Americans, free and enslaved Africans. (AP Photo/Tamara Lush)