This hand-drawn document of the second Burnet County Courthouse was made by architect A.M.C. Nixon in 1883. As part of the Burnet County Clerk Office’s records archival project, it will be placed in a new frame behind special glass for preservation. Staff photo by Jared Fields
STAFF WRITER JARED FIELDS
Burnet County records date all the way back to 1852 from the people who settled and founded it. The handwritten ledgers hold invaluable history but, for the most part, sit in the county clerk’s office out of public view.
To preserve paper records and make them more accessible to the public, Burnet County is archiving 203,776 documents and 407,538 pages of county records.
“Not everybody can come up here, nor do they want to,” said Burnet County Clerk Janet Parker. “But this has been one of my goals ever since technology started stepping out there. We have been trying to make it easier for people to do business with us without having to come into the courthouse.”
The county clerk’s office contracted with a technology company called Kofile to archive county records. Kofile will come to Burnet County and load up all physical records to take back to their headquarters in Dallas, where they will scan everything within six to nine months. The county clerk’s office will pay $802,545.92 spread over four years from the archive fee it collects to pay for the project.
“My staff is not going to be involved in this at all,” Parker said.
Online county records can be found back to 1985 at the moment at countyclerk.burnetcountytexas.org. Once Kofile finishes its archival process, all county records will be searchable online by grantor, grantee, date of the document, and document type. The county also will input that data into its real estate software.
Records can be searched online at any time. Copies can be printed for free with a watermark included, or at a cost of $1 per page for a clean, watermark-free copy.
To help preserve them, the original physical records will be stored for safekeeping once they are returned. Parker also has three framed records in her office of the 1874 Burnet County Courthouse. She found them rolled up about 30 years ago. The courthouse was the second in the county’s history and served until 1935, when it was razed and the current one was built.
“What I did at that point, I didn’t have anything done to them. I just had them framed, but they’ll continue to deteriorate,” Parker said. “This company can do a restoration process, and they will also perform that service.”
The hand-drawn documents, by architect A.M.C. Nixon and dated April 27, 1883, will come back in new frames and behind special glass to prevent further deterioration.
“I’ll be happy to display them in the hall for more people to be able to enjoy,” Parker said.