Historical books

The recorder discovers unique historical books


Nodaway County Recorder of Deeds Sandra Smail searches for a record in an oversized index book.

Nodaway County Recorder of Deeds Sandra Smail found two books documenting Civil War and WWI military records while reorganizing the files.

The first book lists the citizens of Nodaway County who served during the Civil War. Handwritten records contain details such as discharge documents, service, and other facts.

The second book, “Record of Soldiers”, dates from 1919-1920 and lists all records of individuals in Nodaway County in the military during WWI. The documents include facts of attributes such as the occupation of the individual before the war, the schools attended and where they served during the war. It also includes the names of all the relatives who fought in previous wars and the nature of their relationship.

The Bureau of Vital Records Department in Jefferson City sent a field archivist, Becky Carlson, to inspect the books. Carlson said the books are the only ones of their kind that still exist. There are no other copies of these documents.

Smail scanned the books and uploaded the files to the Nodaway County website, nodawaycountymo.us/county-offices/elected-officials/recorder-deeds/, under the respective links, to preserve the story and make it easily accessible to the public.

“For people who do genealogy, it’s great to have some of this stuff out there and it doesn’t cost you anything. These are hidden pieces of the puzzles that are unique to Nodaway County, ”said Smail.

While cleaning the safe drawers in the courthouse clerk’s office, she found the original leather-bound archival book for the county dated 1845, when the county was founded. It was handwritten by the first Recorder of Deeds, Amos Graham. Smail had the pages restored and preserved. She plans to digitize the book and upload it to the website as well. Smail said Maryville was named after Graham’s wife, Mary.

Other books she plans to download include a 1901 atlas, the original Nodaway County book, dated 1856, and the 52 index books. Index books list each document officially registered by its office, indicating the number of the book and the page where the document can be located.

Due to time constraints, Smail said it was doubtful that every recording would be uploaded to the website. She plans to start with all indexes to make it easier for citizens to search and reduce wear and tear on books.

“I try to choose the things that will be the most useful,” said Smail.

Currently, all documents, including land records, surveys, dishes and other items dating from 1967 to the present day, are available electronically on the Nodaway County Recorder of Deeds website. Those interested can click on the “search for cases” link and follow the instructions to become a registered user. Registered users can access and print the records at no additional cost.

Records prior to 1967 are in a book in the Registrar’s Office at the Administrative Center.

Smail also updated the county’s website, adding links for prices, forms and a video explaining the functions of his office.

In 2017, she hopes to have the funds to restore, bind and recover some twenty books in order to preserve them.

to safeguard


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