Williams County Records Center is the primary repository for county records, both public and confidential. Records preserved and maintained by the Records Center are the institutional memory of Williams County. The Records Center streamlines costs, facilitates evidentiary value, and ensures that citizens will enjoy the protection and use of their records for centuries to come.
The Records Center of Williams County is managed by the Williams County Recorder. The Recorder’s office keeps and maintains accurate land records that are current, legible and easily accessible. An important aspect of the Recorder’s work is to index each document so it may be readily located. Accurate indexing makes it possible for persons searching land records to find the documents necessary to establish a “chain of title” (history of ownership) and ensures that any debts or encumbrances against the property are evident. These invaluable records are utilized by the general public, attorneys, historians, genealogists and land title examiners.
“Records” are defined, in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code as including the following: any document—paper, electronic (including, but not limited to, e-mail), or other format—that is created or received by, or comes under the jurisdiction of a public office that documents the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations or other activities of the office. There are five major categories of information and data found in a county office:
Every record has one or more values – administrative, fiscal, legal, and/or historical. When administrative usefulness of a record has been met, the custodian of that record – the elected official or department/agency head – must determine its disposition. The record must be tested against the remaining values to determine how long it should be retained. Records having links to fiscal and/or legal rights and responsibilities of the county and its citizens must be maintained for certain periods. Records having historical value are to be kept permanently.
By identifying records that have enduring value, legally disposing of records that do not have value, the county will ensure the history and heritage of its government and people will survive. Preservation efforts such as microfilming and environmentally secure storage further promise the longevity of documents with enduring value. Digital imaging projects can improve accessibility of records for government personnel and increase public access. An overall records management program offers county offices avenues to increase efficiency and effectiveness of operations through reduced on-site storage, better tracking of and accessibility to inactive records, and improved work productivity.