CANYON CITY – The Grant County Clerk’s office is getting outside help to digitize most of its oldest records – and at a very good price: free.

Clerk Brenda Percy last week got the OK from the Grant County Court to allow FamilySearch International to create digital copies of some 190,000 pages of county records.

FamilySearch is a genealogy organization that gathers, preserves and provides genealogical records to people who are exploring their own ancestry and doing other research.

The records to be processed include pre-1920 land deeds, birth records, voter registrations, death records and others. They are all public records, not confidential material. Percy said filings such as confidential adoption records are stored by the Circuit Court and would not be part of this project.

The county will get its own copy of the digital record, at no cost.

Percy said the organization already has copied records in other Oregon counties and is working in Harney County now. Baker County officials said the process went smoothly there and produced high-quality images.

She said a couple from FamilySearch will do the scanning on site, and the work will not interrupt her office or access to records by the public.

Court members lauded the opportunity.

Commissioner Chris Labhart said he’s been concerned about all of the records at the Courthouse that could be lost to a fire, a flood from broken pipes, or other damage.

Percy said digitizing the older records would be an expensive job if the county had to hire someone to do it.

Since 1990, the county has paid a company to digitize its daily records. The FamilySearch project will narrow the gap of records that the county still has left to do, Percy noted.

According to its website, FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. It is sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and has family history centers in 132 countries and also offers search services online.

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