03 August 2011

FamilySearch Team Digitizes Somerset County Maryland Records

NOTE: The quotes are an extract from the July 30, 2011 article "Mormon documents digitized: Original records to be moved to Annapolis," http://www.delmarvanow.com/article/20110730/LIFESTYLE/107300349. Unless otherwise noted all quotes come from Gary Miller, Somerset County Register of Wills for Maryland.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormons, sent a 2-person FamilySearch team to Somerset County, Maryland last year to digitize the records of the Register of Wills office. Some of the Register of Will office's documents were copied to Annapolis previously, but the copying was incomplete. The cost to digitize the records of their office was estimated to run into the tens of thousands. In about four months, last summer, the FamilySearch team digitized the holdings of the entire office from the earliest records in the 1600's to 1940. Currently the digitized work is being organized and indexed according to Miller. "The Mormon work should come back to me this time next summer," Miller said.

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Other than the usual digitizing and indexing FamilySearch provides at no cost Miller was impressed that "the group working in Salt Lake City is taking every document and linking it to relevant documents whenever they could. Some papers that seem to have been lost or misplaced from files or cases, or appear obscure, will be associated with a number that corresponds with a will."

He was so impressed with the team's work that he recommended it to the rest of his state:

"Hopefully, in due time, the Mormons will do every office in Maryland."

As for the benefit to his office and those who come searching for data Miller said:

"This is good for the public because the next step is to provide public access to every document that this office had (prior to 1940). The original documents were so fragile I wouldn't let the public handle them. Soon they will be able to see stuff they once couldn't have."

"We are going to incorporate all of the images and index information they are sending us and put them [in] our system so you can sit down at the public computer here and pull up every document we have up to 1940."

1 comment:

  1. That is excellent news. I have some lines that go into Somerset County, Maryland. This might be the key for me find more info on my Cook and Bennett families. I hope they do the same for Worchester county. Of course all of the counties in Maryland being digitized like that would be excellent. You add a searchable database and indexes to the mix and it's golden.


Thanks for your kind and thoughtful comments.