May 17, 2022

County Recorder takes final steps towards total record digitalization

All records will now be accessible via computers at courthouse

A long-term project by the Jasper County Recorder’s Office to digitize more than 100 years of county records was approved 3-0 by the board of supervisors during its April 12 meeting. The contract with the company managing the process, Cott Systems, was approved with no alterations and will likely take effect sometime this year.

This digitalization is just the last in a long line of projects to make the county’s records more accessible to staff and the public. The recorder’s office has been working hard over the past few years to ensure a complete digital catalog of birth, marriage and death records within Jasper County are preserved for future generations.

The digitzed records will encompass marriages within the county from 1849 until 1954, as well as deaths from 1880 to 1967.

“By doing this we’ll have the records preserved forever and they’ll be disaster-proof,” county recorder Denise Allan said. “With a digital copy people in my office won’t have to pull out the giant record books whenever someone is looking for information from that far back.”

While the records will be digital, Allan assured the board they will not be accessible online. To view these new digital records, interested parties will still have to visit the recorder’s office at the courthouse. This decision was made due to security and privacy concerns, Allan said.

“Fraud is something we always have to look out for when you’re dealing with information like this,” Allan said.

The cost of the project will be split into two parts. Upon signing the contract the county will pay $9,510 to Cott, and upon completion of the job will pay another $9,510. In total, the digitalization will cost the county $19,020.

“The money for this project is coming out of the record management fund, which has more than enough to cover the costs,” Allan said.

Along with payment, the contract stipulates the recorder’s office will provide several other essential services to Cott employees throughout the project, which include access to all hardcopy records and permission to take record books off-site.

“These books are beautiful, handwritten treasures, and this project will ensure they are preserved,” Allan said.

While an exact date for when the project will begin was not given, Allan did say that she would be signing and sending back the contract the day it was approved.

“I can only say that it’ll start sometime this year, but I hope the actual start date will be sometime around July 1,” Allan said during a later interview.

Contact Abby Knipfel at 641-792-3121 ext. 6531 or aknipfel@shawmedia.com

Abby Knipfel

Abby "Adler" Knipfel

Journalist at Newton Daily News. Currently covering Jasper County and writing passionate opinion pieces. They/Them