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2016 County Clerk News

County Clerk Kendall with County Historian Tatum Host West Point Cadets
Engaging Hands-On History Experience

Published: 10/12/2016

For More Information Contact:

Catherine Durland (845) 486-2133


Poughkeepsie, NY... Dutchess County Clerk Bradford H. Kendall hosted cadets today from the United States Military Academy at West Point’s Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society. The Clerk’s Office, which oversees the Department of History, provided the cadets with a hands-on history experience by performing a document indexing exercise of early nineteenth century county court records from the county’s Ancient Documents Collection.


Following a brief presentation and instruction from Dutchess County Historian William P. Tatum III on the collection’s history, the cadets began reviewing documents, picking out key pieces of identifying information for each document. Their work contributes to the county’s ongoing Ancient Documents Project, which generates images and metadata for the Ancient Documents Search Portal. Researchers around the world can access this collection at no cost by visiting


cadet image


“The Ancient Documents Project continues to be a tremendous cooperative partnership between the County Clerk’s and County Historian’s Offices,” said Dutchess County Clerk Bradford H. Kendall, “Today’s visit from the West Point cadets demonstrates how this project creates new ways of engaging with our wider community and educating new generations about the county’s deep historical roots.”


The five cadets who visited the county office building today come from across the country, representing the states of Pennsylvania, Colorado, California, Oregon, and Washington. Major Benjamin Brands, the History Department faculty member who accompanied the cadets, is a Dutchess County native. West Point cadets have participated in document indexing exercises since April 2015. The documents that the cadets examined today are part of the next installment of 25,000 pages of documents that will be processed by June 2017.


“West Point cadets make an invaluable contribution to the Ancient Documents Project, through assisting with our indexing and providing an opportunity to discuss county history,” said Dutchess County Historian William P. Tatum III, “It is always an inspiring experience to work with these eager young minds.”


The Ancient Documents Project is now in its fourth year, with 62,000 pages of documents indexed and imaged. The Dutchess County Clerk’s Office has received a total of $171,697 in grant funding since 2013 from the New York State Archives to support this project. To learn more about the Ancient Documents Collection and view high-fidelity digital images of these records, please visit the Ancient Documents Search Portal hosted on the County Clerk’s Office website at