The County Clerk’s office has completed the scanning and digitizing of all of Atascosa County’s land records from 1856 to 1994, probates from 1856 to 1998 and Commissioners’ Court Minutes from 1990 to 2011. They are currently indexing land records and have completed approximately 1/3 of the indexing project. The indexing portion of this project is time consuming but they are trying to expedite this by utilizing temporary parttime employees. Once they complete the land records project they plan to move forward with the indexing of probate records followed by Commissioners’ Court Minutes.
Diane Gonzales, Atascosa County Clerk said, “Back in 2012 I decided to take my microfilm of deed records and digitize it. A lot of the requests were coming in for digitized copies of my entire deed records library and it was not available in that format. I decided to do this project to improve customer service and also to bring the County forward technologywise.
“From 1995 to present our deed records are already digitalized. The process would take our records from 1856 to 1994 making them available to our customers digitally. The best decision after speaking with my vendor regarding cost and timing was to move forward with the process as soon as possible. This project is very time consuming and expensive. The process is very slow, because my employees are very busy with recording, and producing copies for Eagle Ford Shale customers. Not only do we provide deed record service but all services inclusive in researching abstract work, leaving my employees with very little time to devote to the back-file project.”
Gonzales continued, “Once the records are digitized we have to go through certain pilot stages, we have to check to see that all the volumes and pages are there and numbered correctly. Accuracy is very important in downloading this information into the computer system in order for public research to be correct.
“At the present time, we’ve already gone through the phase of checking the volumes and the pages, so now we’re concentrating on doing indexing.
“This is why I’ve hired two law-degree students to go through the records and make sure that the vendor indexing is correct. I was hoping to have the first phase of the project which takes us through 1968 completed by December of this year, but I’m not sure that will happen, In a deed record, all parties must be identified correctly, this type of indexing is very tedious and time–consuming .
“The two young people, Carla Ozuna and Michael Block are doing an excellent job in verifying all of this.”
Continuing, “Under the records management and preservation fees, the State is allowing us to go up $5.00 on the archive fee and the records preservation fee. Under the preservation fee, I’m taking the old, hand-sewn books that have fallen apart, and I’m sending them out to be restored. The books are being returned in absolutely beautiful condition. In my opinion, these books are invaluable.
“Everything I do in this office is saved on a backed– up system. This process is done on a daily basis. The information is always available to our office in order to continue working even if a disaster should occur. As long as internet is available to my office we can access the records through a laptop.
The County Clerk’s Office will continue to work with various book types that need cleaning, de-acidification, mending of tears, removal of scotch and linen tape, removal of residue as the books are encapsulated, preserved and restored.
They will continue with the project to replace all broken binders, canvas and vinyl covers for the various books that require that type of repair.
The vast majority of the permanent records in the County Clerk’s office were paper-based on a daily basis and used by the public making them vulnerable to loss by theft, wear and tear.
These records are preserved by adding the records management and archive fee to cover the cost of scanning and indexing the paper-based documents without additional cost to the County
Revenue collected and not expended in the year will be carried forward and used toward outstanding balances on the current projects.
CLERK’S ARCHIVE FUND:
Estimated cost left
for completion of project
(*does not include
expense for 2014:
of restoration of
for repair of binders:
ESTIMATED FOR 2014: