A closer look at the Clerk’s digitization project
(TAMPA, Jan. 29, 2024) – In an era where digital transformation is paramount, Hillsborough County’s Clerk of Court and Comptroller’s office stands out with its pioneering digitization project. This initiative marks a significant shift in making public records accessible while preserving historical documents.
Starting with the digitization of marriage licenses from as early as 1846, the project opens a new chapter for genealogy researchers and history buffs. It seamlessly bridges the past with the present, offering a digital archive of historical significance.
“The newly digitized and more readily accessible maps and documents from the Clerk’s office will be a researcher’s dream,” said Rodney Kite-Powell, Dir. of the Touchton Map Library at the Tampa Bay History Center.
The project’s scope extends beyond marriage licenses to encompass property records, which are vital in illustrating the county’s developmental history and heritage. The effort to digitize these records is not just about preservation but also about enhancing public access.
A visually engaging aspect of the project is the display of original plat maps on linen, showcased at the Pat Frank Courthouse Building. These maps are more than mere historical documents; they are artifacts that connect residents to their community’s roots.
The numbers underline the project’s scale and impact. The first phase alone digitized more than 167,000 marriage license images, with subsequent phases adding a vast array of historical documents and official records. The development of an intuitive online platform for accessing these records further underscores the project’s commitment to public accessibility.
“The information now available, from land records and plat maps to a huge trove of marriage records, represents a big step forward in allowing researchers of all types access to this critical information. I, myself, cannot wait to dive right in,” said Kite-Powell.
This digitization effort represents a significant leap in public record management, setting a standard for other counties and public offices. By digitizing and making historical records easily accessible, the project not only preserves the past but also enriches the present and future of public engagement with history.
Residents are now invited to delve into this digital repository, offering a unique opportunity to explore Hillsborough County’s history with just a few clicks. This initiative is a testament to technology’s transformative power in public service and historical preservation.