April 3, 2003

Scotland County Probate Records Now Available On Microfilm

Many historical records of the Scotland County Probate Court are now available to the public on microfilm at Scotland County Memorial Library. The records include probate case files from 1841 through the mid-1990s.

"We hope this effort will make these records more accessible to genealogists, historians and other researchers," said Scotland County Associate Circuit Judge Karl DeMarce. "Scotland County Memorial Library is a perfect home for these microfilm records. The library has regular hours including some evening hours, staff available to assist researchers, and a microfilm reader-printer for those who wish to make copies."

The microfilm records are housed in the Genealogy Room at the library. Probate Court staff are putting an index to the microfilm records, which should be available in the near future.

The microfilm records have been prepared over the past three years, through a cooperative project between the Scotland County Probate Court and the Missouri State Archives. The records were prepared for microfilming by community volunteers and by the late Betty Shelley, who worked in the Court through the Green Thumb program. The project was accomplished at no cost to Scotland County general revenue.

According to Judge DeMarce, over two-thirds of the Probate Court's records have been put on microfilm, and the rest should be completed this summer. When the project is finished, wills and probate records contained in bound archival volumes will be available on microfilm, in addition to the case files.

The microfilm records will be available to the public at the Missouri State Archives in Jefferson City, as well as at the local library in Memphis. Additional copies of the microfilm may be purchased from the Missouri State Archives.

The Court retains possession of the original probate files and records. However, many of the originals are over 100 years old, and many are in poor condition.

"This project will make these records easier for the public to use, while protecting the originals from damage, theft, or loss," said DeMarce.

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