While in the midst of a pandemic, a few county employees have been hard at work to make sure some county records are accessible to all who need them.

“The preservation of records is the heartbeat of the Franklin County Recorder's Office,” said recorder Connie Bischoff.

Bischoff explained that when the government center was closed to the public, she and her staff recognized the need to have more of their records available online. While they began brainstorming how to make this possible, auditor Karla Bauman notified them about the federal CARES Act grant which would allow them the funds to have their records preserved online at no cost to the county tax payers.

Bischoff also got in touch with county surveyor Glenn Bailey to suggest look into having his records scanned and put online as well, to which Bailey readily agreed.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic came upon us, many changes have surfaced that have affected our lives in many ways,” said Bailey. “These of course include how we work and relate to those who come in contact with us as well. For many, that means we have had to figure out ways to stay home and work while being able to “view” things like documents that couldn't possibly be taken home or lent out for use.”

Jointly, Bailey and Bischoff were able to get a proposal together to have all of the records in both of their offices available on the internet so there will never be a moment when the public cannot access their records. Bailey said their records go back to the beginning of Franklin County in the early 1800's.

Bischoff said currently in her office, if someone is looking to access records, they can only search back to a certain year online. Anything prior to that specific year would have to be accessed through actual record books or even microfilm. Once these records are scanned online the information will be indexed, and 100 percent accessible online.

Bischoff has contacted SBS Portals from South Bend to do all the scanning and preserving. While Bischoff is unsure when this process will be completed, eventually anyone will be able to access the documents through a company called Doxpop via the county's online recording website or through the public terminals located in the Franklin County Recorder's Office.