Dutchess County History Adds to Ancient Document Online Archive
Poughkeepsie, NY: The Dutchess County Department of History has recently completed Phase 9 of the Ancient Document Online Archive project, bringing the total number of available pages of handwritten manuscript to 167,000. These records, dating from 1721 to 1889 constitute the surviving fillings of the Dutchess County Courts of Common Pleas and General Sessions.
County Historian William Tatum III said, “These court records preserve a variety of stories that would otherwise be lost to time, and which increase our understanding of life in early Dutchess County. One example is the debt relief action for Philip P. Schuyler of Rhinebeck, grandson of the famous Revolutionary War General Philip J. Schuyler.
This tale of financial calamity is preserved within the Dutchess County Ancient Documents Collection as Document 23383. This record provides remarkable insights into the trials and tribulations of Dutchess County’s early residents and is freely accessible through the Ancient Documents Search Portal, a continuing collaboration between the Dutchess County Clerk’s Office and the Dutchess County Office of Central and Information Services.
Dutchess County Clerk Brad Kendall said, “This ongoing effort not only preserves the historic record but makes our early history available to researchers and genealogists world-wide. I’m grateful for the continuing support of New York State Archives in this multi-year project.”
The Ancient Documents Project is currently in its tenth year after receiving notification of another year of funding through the New York State Archives Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund. Staff at the County Clerk’s Office and Department of History retrieve the unprocessed material from secure storage at the county records center, number and rehouse the documents in acid-free folders and boxes, then enter the keyword search data into an online catalog. New York State Archives funding covers the expense of digitizing the records, a service provided by specialist vendors due to the fragile condition of the original documents. The project is slated to continue until the entire collection, which extends until the year 1889, is processed, indexed, and imaged.
For more information and to search the Ancient Documents, please visit the Ancient Documents Search Portal at www.dutchessny.gov/ancientdocuments or the Dutchess County Clerk’s webpage at www.dutchessny.gov/countyclerk