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County to digitize surveyor’s records

The Cape Girardeau County Commission approved the addition of surveyor’s records to the Recorder of Deed’s digitization project. The project will cost $3,250, with an annual maintenance fee of $300.

The County approved the digitization of around 50 marriage license books in August and the digitization of over 500 deed and deed of trust books in September. Both projects were awarded to ArcaSearch, a Minnesota-based company that is currently working at the County Administrative Building in Jackson digitizing these records.

Recorder of Deeds Drew Blattner said the 11 surveyor books were left out of the original scope of the project because they had previously been digitized by the State of Missouri. However, the state’s images needed to be replaced to be functional.

“The images that we got from the state were done from microfilm that was made about 50 years ago,” Blattner said. “And some of the pages didn’t have the whole image captured.” He added that the surveyor books also have color-coded boarders that is unreadable in the state’s black-and-white images.

As part of the project, the images will be uploaded to a searchable Web site, and backup microfilm will be produced for the county and state archives.

Blattner said the records date back to when there was a county surveyor, but today the records aren’t used often by the general public. Blattner said one of the reasons why is because they are hard to navigate. With the digitization, the book’s indexes will be combined, which will make it easier to find specific images.

Unlike the marriage and deed records, the surveyor books will be free to search on the county’s Web site. Blattner said that it would be hard to charge for the surveyor records, at least until people start using the digital records, because it might take several searches to find the correct image.

In other action

The County approved the disbursement of remaining domestic violence funds to the Safe House for Women during 2020. The $18,600 will be sent to the Safe House in two installments, one in January and one in July.

The Safe House was the only applicant for the fund, and received the recommendation from the Domestic Violence Authority Board. The funds are collected through court fees.

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past four years. He can be reached at cbjedit@socket.net.

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