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Office of the County Clerk
Bradford Kendall, County Clerk

 

 

Thirty two years after Dutchess County was created by an act of the General Assembly of the Colony of New York in 1683, Richard Sackett was appointed the first Clerk of Dutchess County responsible for the Court of the Common Pleas, Clerk of the Peace, and Clerk of the Sessions of the Peace. Five years later, the first deed was recorded in Dutchess County. Deeds prior to 1718 were recorded in Ulster County. 

Under the First Constitution it was the clerk’s duty to keep the county records, and act as Clerk of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas, and Clerk of the Oyer and Terminer from February 12, 1796.  The seals of the office were the seals of the Court of Common Pleas.  County Clerks are now likewise Clerks of the Supreme Court and their seals are declared to be the seals of the court.

Over the years, the role of County Clerk has evolved. In the post-colonial period, Clerks were charged with administering the Oath of Admission to new citizens. In 1821, under the second Constitution of the State of New York, the office of County Clerk became an elected position.  In addition to overseeing land and civil court records of the County, the Clerk became responsible for Registries of Horseshoers and Stallions, Nurses, Physicians and Dentists, and Partnerships, Businesses and Corporations.  Our early records also include board of supervisors’ records from the 1700’s and election canvases and coroner’s inquests from the 1800’s to 1900’s.

Between 1715 and 1987, the two greatest technological innovations were microfilm and the typewriter.  In 1987, Dutchess County transitioned to the computer age, indexing documents on an IBM mainframe computer.  Twenty years later the office migrated from the mainframe to server based technology, which greatly expanded the availability of information in the office and on the Web.  Today, more than 1.3 million images are available for viewing and purchase over the internet.  The availability of information continues to grow as the office expands the digitized document collection. 

Recently we have begun to participate in the NYS Courts Electronic Filing system that allows for ease of filing of court papers as well as public availability of those same records.  Additionally, we have partnered with the Division of Veterans’ Affairs to record military discharge papers for our residents and extended that partnership to form the Return the FAVOR Program that encourages veterans to register with the county enabling them to be informed of the benefits and services available to them. 

As the clearing house for County records, we look forward to serving the public for another 300 years and beyond.


Adapted from the Legislative Gazette submission 2014.


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Bradford Kendall,County Clerk Bradford Kendall
County Clerk
Dutchess County Seal

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