Archives Begins Consolidating Historical Court Documents
08/13/12 4:04PM By Bob Kinzel
The first phase of an effort to preserve and improve access to almost 150 years of local court records has been completed.
Secretary of State Jim Condos says legal records from Orleans County covering the period from 1800 to 1945 have been brought to the Vermont State Archives in Middlesex. Condos says they had previously been housed in a number of different locations.
The project was funded by a $118,000 grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and the legal records in Lamoille and Caledonia counties will also be consolidated under the grant.
Condos says the legal records document changes in the lives of Vermonters in a critical time in the state's history.
"It's going to provide a new perspective on the social and economic lives of Vermonters, we'll better understand our evolution as a state and a society," said Condos. " It really opens up a window that we didn't have before because the records were really in disarray."
Condos says the documents reveal things like the prevalence of divorce in Vermont in the early 1800s, counterfeit rings that operated in the 19th century, and early battles over water rights.
"The case files contain the papers that were filed with the Court during a particular case, containing things like briefs, affidavits and depositions and these are the records that can document specific details at issue in a case."Condos says he's seeking additional historical grant money so that his office can consolidate the legal records from Vermont's remaining 11 counties in the coming years.