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Posted on: September 7, 2022

Clerk Butterfield Fully Preserves the First-Ever Deed Book of Polk County

Clerk Butterfield and County Commissioners pose with Deed Book A

Clerk Butterfield Fully Preserves the First-Ever Deed Book of Polk County - Dedicates It to the Citizens of Polk County at Commission Meeting

Stacy Butterfield, Polk County Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller, gave a unique presentation to the Polk County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday by presenting to them and the citizens of Polk County the full preservation of the county’s first-ever deed book – Deed Book A. 

“This is a significant historical artifact for our county and I felt it should be presented to our citizens in a formal presentation,” Clerk Butterfield said. “Our efforts ensure that it is available in perpetuity.”

Clerk Butterfield was joined by Trae Scism, Kofile client executive. Kofile is the vendor used to complete the preservation. 

Scism explained that non-archival materials were used when documents were created, and the paper gradually deteriorates over time and the content becomes illegible as the paper begins to crumble. The preservation process preserved the integrity of the book and it is now available for use forever.

“The documents held by the Clerk’s office are both historical and permanent. Maintaining the integrity of these documents for generations to come is an important responsibility,” Scism said.

Among the numerous historical records in the book, Clerk Butterfield shared an interesting find. It was the deed transaction between Jacob Summerlin and the County Commissioners of Polk County where Summerlin donated 40 acres to the County for the establishment of the county seat in Bartow. 

The preservation of this book is part of a much larger project the Clerk has underway, which is digitizing the county’s historic deed books back to the establishment of the county in 1861.

“One of my top priorities has been to enhance public access and make records easily accessible online,” Clerk Butterfield said. “This has been a big undertaking and one we’ve been working on for a few decades now. We began digitizing deeds back in 1998. We have been working on this project in phases, and currently, all deeds from 1957 to the present day are available online as well as all marriage licenses ever recorded in Polk County. With the completion of this project, all deeds ever recorded in Polk County will be viewable online.”

A significant benefit of the digitization process is that it also enhances the readability of the documents and gives them even greater clarity than the original books and microfilm. 

Clerk Butterfield poses with Kofile team members as they load old deed books.

“I know this will provide great value to many in industries like real estate, lenders, title companies, history researchers, and so many others,” Clerk Butterfield said. “This is a big undertaking, and we expect it to be completed by the coming spring. In the meantime, we recently digitized the historical deed index, which includes deeds recorded between 1861 and 1956. Customers can now save time by using the online index to find the book and page number of where the deed is recorded. Once found, a copy of the deed can be requested online.”

A video of the presentation is available on PGTV. The presentation begins at the 1:30 mark.

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