Why Digital Preservation is Important – Lincoln County’s Historical Documents Destroyed by Insects

Makes my heart sink. . .

Lincoln County’s Historical Documents Destroyed by Insects

October 03, 2012 2:00 am  •  By Kimberlee Kruesi kkruesi@magicvalley.com

SHOSHONE • Bookworms in Lincoln County have nothing to do with reading.

They devour public documents without ever filing a records request to the county clerk’s office. They sneak into the county’s records vault without ever having to crack a lock.

They’re small. They’re nefarious. They’re insects.

According to Lincoln County officials, some of the county’s older records have been destroyed by insects.

The county discovered the damage while working on an effort to digitize its older, paper records, said Suzanne McConnell, Lincoln County clerk.

Lincoln County keeps its older records in a vault below the county courthouse. While digging through the documents, volunteers discovered two books of court judgments, at least one from the 1930s, where it looked liked bugs tunneled through the pages.

“This isn’t a good place for the records to be kept,” McConnell said. “We need to get them out of there.”

At least two books are permanently destroyed but volunteers are still in the middle of digitizing the rest of the records, which include judgments, birth certificates, marriage licenses, land deeds and permits from the early days of Lincoln County. The process could take four to six weeks, McConnell said.

“All the other records we’ve opened up are in good shape,” McConnell said. “We’re going to fog the area so that no future damage will happen.”

Lincoln County is relying on FamilySearch, the world’s largest repository of free genealogical records. The company also manages the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

The company has already digitized records for several Idaho counties. However, while most counties have records dating back to the late 1800s, not all have been infested with insects.

“We’ve got a lot of records we’ve been digitizing and most of them are just about completed,” said Kristina Glasscock, Twin Falls County clerk. “If we’ve had a fire or a flood over the years, we might of have lost some of them but not that many.”

It may be hard to preserve them but counties have an obligation to preserve all public documents, said Roy Hubert, Lincoln County commissioner. Once the older records are gone, there isn’t a backup file.

“It’s a responsibility of the county to have permanent records and keep them in good shape,” Hubert said. “I would encourage Idaho counties to go over their own records to make sure they’re in good shape.”

Article credit and additional photos

SOLD! Bonnie and Clyde guns sell for . . .

$504K!

From AP
Last Updated:  7:12 AM, October 1, 2012

NASHUA, NH — Two guns once in the possession of notorious gangsters Bonnie and Clyde when they were killed in a hail of gunfire sold at a New Hampshire auction Sunday for more than half a million dollars.

The guns were two of 134 artifacts that sold for a total of $1.1 million at the auction in Nashua. About two-thirds of the auctioned items were from Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, but items also came from other notorious criminals, including Al Capone, Pretty Boy Floyd and John Dillinger.

Bonnie Parker’s .38-caliber Detective Special that she had taped to her thigh when she was killed in 1934 drew the highest bid and sold for $264,000, said Bobby Livingston, vice president of RR Auction in Amherst, N.H., which held the auction.

Clyde Barrow’s 1911 Colt .45-caliber automatic sold for $240,000 to the same bidder, who didn’t want to be named, Livingston said.

“When rare items like that come up for sale you expect this kind of enthusiasm,” Livingston said. “There was some serious bidding going on.”

Many of the auction items came from the estate of the late collector Robert Davis of Waco, Texas, with the remainder coming from various other collections.

Most of the items came from famous gangsters and outlaws, but some were linked to law enforcement officials including Elliot Ness and Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, who led a posse that tracked down and killed Bonnie and Clyde in Louisiana.

Clyde Barrow’s pocket watch sold for $36,000, Livingston said. A 1921 Morgan silver dollar that was found in his pocket after he was killed sold for $32,000.