Researchers who visit the White River Valley Historical Society will soon be able to access the County’s Probate archives, currently available only at the Circuit Clerk’s office. In 2012, the Taney County Commission designated the WRVHS as its’ sole source provider for historic research and document preservation, as well as The Mountain as the sole source provider for imaging the county’s vintage ledger books. Since that designation, images of various civil and criminal case files, docket books, naturalization records, commission minute books, and one-room school registers have become available to researchers visiting the county seat of Forsyth on the county ‘Docuware’ system.
“We’re very excited to begin working on the probate records,” enthused WRVHS Managing Director Leslie Wyman. “Not only are they some of the most-critical documents for genealogical research, but they can also assist with historical research projects. Our visitors have been surprised at the treasure trove of information found in the other records of the circuit clerk, county clerk, and recorder, and have repeatedly asked when we can have images of the probate information available on site as well. After visiting with Circuit Clerk Brenda Neal, Circuit Court Probate Div Clerk Beth Wyman, and the Hon. Tony Williams, Judge of the Associate Circuit Div I and Probate Div, it was decided that these archives should be included in the collection on ‘Docuware’ as soon as possible.”
Due to the efforts of Recorder Robert Dixon with the purchase of the County’s ‘Docuware’ program eleven years ago, images are now available at computer workstations, allowing access to the information with no handling of the fragile originals. According to Dixon, Taney County has more records on this software in the state than anyone else, many of which are accessed for current business needs in addition to historic research. With the sole-source designation, historic researchers are referred to the WRVHS’s research library, which includes many other items of interest ranging from photographs and business ledgers to school yearbooks and archival collections.
“We’ve already started scanning and indexing the probate index cards from the late 1800s through 1940”, continued Wyman. “The Mountain will begin imaging the various probate ledgers within the next month, and the actual case files will be scanned and indexed as the year progresses.”