County documents slowly copied

BROOKSVILLE, Ky. (AP) - When the conversion of Bracken County's historic records is complete, visitors will no longer need white
gloves to view documents that date back to the 18th century.
Bracken County Historical Society member Bill Baker has worked
with county officials for four years on the project. Some documents
date back to 1797.
Recently, Baker presented members of the Mason/Bracken County
Bar Association with the process he's followed to convert fragile
paper into interactive images.
Baker said more than 3,100 pages have been typed and more than
45,000 images have been scanned for preservation.
"He just gets into a zone and sits there with his music on,
typing away," said Bracken County Circuit Clerk Kathy Free. "Bill
has been phenomenal at getting this done."
The cases, mostly civil actions so far, have been converted to
computer images and duplicated three or four times.
"If something happens to one copy or one of us, there are
others who have the information," Baker said.
Due to concerns over protecting old court documents from fire or
potential theft, state officials mandated circuit court records
across the state be transferred to a secure facility in Frankfort,
Baker said.
But Free said the Administrative Office of the Courts has said
it has run out of storage room for now, with two counties left to
complete transfers, including Bracken.
"That gives us some time. I have been told we may have until
they get the new justice center built in Bracken County before the
records will be taken by AOC," Baker said.
Baker said the preserved documents include the signatures of
George C. Marshall, creator of the Marshall Plan, Thornton
Marshall, who in 1862 voted to keep Kentucky in the Union, and
famous people like Patrick Henry, who had a land grant in 1781.
When the transfer is finished, researchers will be able to
search for a plaintiff, defendant or type of case on the database
index and browse through the documents without the originals
leaving the security of the state vault.
Information from: The Ledger Independent,

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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