Friday, January 22, 2016

New Database: Dutchess County, New York, Ancient Documents in Color!

Got ancestors living in Dutchess County, New York, in the 1700s?

The Ancient Documents Search and a Document for Ellis Bullock
The website of the Dutchess County Clerk's Office now has an online searchable database with images of 12,000 of the oldest Ancient Documents. The images are PDF files in color.

The Ancient Documents consist of eighteenth-century legal documents from the Dutchess County Court of Common Pleas and General Sessions which began in 1721. There are 38,917 numbered documents in total.

This three-phase project was helped by the New York State Archives Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund. Phase I digitally imaged the first 12,000 pages; Phase II imaged another 25,000 pages; and Phase III which will commence in 2016 will image another 25,000 pages. 

So expect more documents to be added to this searchable database in the future once they are indexed.

In 1973, the Ancient Documents and its partial index were microfilmed by the Latter Day Saints for the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and were available for rental to local Family History Centers. A couple years ago, these microfilms were digitized and made available on the website for free under the probate records for Dutchess County, New York. All 38,917 documents are now browseable online at FamilySearch. (There is no digital search for the collection, the images are browse only.) The microfilmed partial index book to the Ancient Documents only covers documents numbered 1 through 15,181.

Once the previously non-indexed, later Ancient Documents are added to this searchable database it will bring light to documents that only a very, very determined researcher has probably seen. We can not wait!

See you soon at Mt. Clemens Public Library!

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