All 254 Counties Surveyed for Their Records

April 12, 2010 by  

Yesterday, the Houston Chronicle ran a very welcome story about documenting some of our most irreplaceable documents in the state of Texas. Soon, county clerks from all 254 counties in Texas will be receiving a survey asking them to document the records they have in their possession, along with the condition of the documents and any preservation plans they have for the documents.

This is due in part to an order last November by the Texas Supreme Court to create the Court Records Preservation Task Force, which is a volunteer group dedicated to documenting and preserving court documents. Some of these may not have even been seen before now, at least by the public:

Old court documents contain valuable information, much of it never seen by historians, said Kroger. Topics include slavery, the Texas Republic, immigration, genealogy and many others.
Many such records, some dating from 1836, have been stolen, lost, destroyed or left to decay. The task force plans to identify where the most valuable records are located and develop procedures for preserving them.

Part of those plans include digitizing/scanning every document and making them accessible to the public, and looking into the possibility of creating a permanent group dedicated to guiding the preservation and documentation efforts.

While it covers court-related documents, from what I’ve been reading and people I’ve been talking to, the plan is to hopefully extend it further to other county documents (and city) of interest to the public and the state.

Very welcome news!

Source: Houston Chronicle

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