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Grant Preserves History

By Staff | May 13, 2009

Little by little, our past history county land records in the court house of New Martinsville are being preserved thanks to Record Management and Preservation Grants.

These grants help to preserve public records held in the county offices and improve management, storage, and access.

Land records contain a wealth of information about ancestors; title; locations of land, their ownership, and dates; and much more.

Wetzel County County Clerk Carol Haught informed the county commissioners at their May 12 meeting that the county will only be receiving $11,500 this year from this grant.

She reported to the commissioners that last year they received $14,500 for this project. Haught further explained that she did ask for $25,000, but with so many other counties in West Virginia asking for grant money to preserve their record keeping (books), they received a smaller amount.

Haught told the commissioners that this money will preserve more books and create more microfilming. The latter is very important, as a security feature, to have as a back up copy. She further explained that each book will cost around $1,000 each to preserve. “We have made big progress,” said Haught.

She also told the commission that the West Virginia Division of Culture and History was very pleased when looking at the books. She told how Brown’s River Bindery Inc. is doing the restoration of the books and she is pleased with the work.

Haught reported that their first Wetzel County Land book from 1846 is preserved and the books from the 1800’s to around early 1900’s are now finished. They are now in the process of working on the early 1920 land books. “We are now on a second tier of books to be restored,” reported Haught.

Commission President Don Mason asked Haught if the government cut any money from this project. Haught replied that the funding for the Preservation Program comes from the filing fees they collect at the courthouse.

The Record Management and Preservation Grants was created by the West Virginia Legislature in 2000 to have guidelines and address the needs of record management.