Tag Archives: records management

It’s Records and Information Management Month!

Did you know that April is Records and Information Management (RIM) Month? Here in Warren County we promote proper records management all year long, not just in April. Now, if you’re scratching your head trying to figure out what that means, don’t worry! You’re not alone.

RIM month was started nationally in 2002 to promote records management standards and best practices while also emphasizing the importance of organized information. The archives and preservation side of the Records Center is much more visual to the public, whereas records management is much more behind the scenes, but just as important! As the county records manager*, outside of managing the department, records and information management is a big part of my responsibilities.


Records storage temporary storage for records

 

We keep all kinds of records for county departments. A record is defined as any document, device, or item, regardless of its form, that serves to document the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of an office.  Each record is recognized on a retention schedule, commonly known as an RC-2. This schedule then determines how long a record should be kept depending on whether it has administrative, fiscal, legal or historical value.

The county follows a general retention schedule (GRS) and each department has their own RC-2. These are especially important because not every record should or needs to be kept long term. By staying current with departments’ retention schedules, we save valuable tax payer dollars through the proper destruction of records after they have hit their retention period. In turn this reduces operating expenses and cuts back on the cost of unnecessary storage of inactive records.


Certificate of Destruction for Sheriff’s Department Records in 2017

Once records are ready for destruction, a certificate of destruction (RC-3) or court order for disposal  is required to be submitted to the Records Center for most items. Once this happens, then proper destruction of records can happen, which we conduct onsite.  All of these steps are instrumental in order to keep the flow of records and information management moving.

 


Onsite Records Destruction in March 2018

 

*Guest blogger: County Records Manager, Jen Haney Conover

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Death Records and their Usefulness as a Research Tool

The idea of being able to use death records for research can be a morbid thought. The fact of the matter is that there is an abundance of useful information that exists within these records. First off there are numerous types of death records. For Warren County we have three types available to the general public for research: Statement & Report of Deaths by township 1885-1908, Death Records 1867-1908, and Coroners Inquests 1873-1908.

Death records can be a great place to start researching family history because they can be one of the most comprehensive record of information about the person when they passed. The death record index and Statement & Report of Deaths typically includes the following information: name, date of death, condition (married, single, widowed), age, place of death, place of birth, occupation, father & mother’s names, race, cause of death, place of residence, and who reported the death. Having all of this information in one place can easily direct researchers to their next destination of records. For instance if you know your great grandmother passed away in Warren County but are unsure of her place of birth these records can provide that information. Another useful type of family research that can be obtained from these records is family medical history.  You can track such genetic health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, cancer, etc.

Tracking the causes of death within a county is fascinating, especially if you survey this information chronologically. The causes of death become more detailed and complex as medical knowledge advanced throughout the decades. In one year you could have the cause of death listed as “kidney disease” and a few years later it is listed as “Bright’s Disease” which shows the isolation of a  type of kidney disease. You can also track the transition of what certain illnesses were reported, i.e. when influenza was previously listed as La Grippe. This also varied according to the physician or individual who reported the death. The introduction of new technology also introduced new causes of death such as “killed by cars” or “killed on railroad”.

The images below represent examples of how these records can be used. The first images include a township that kept useful comprehensive records with all of the requested information. In the next 2 images these show the first recorded death by “flux” also known as “dysentery” in the year 1868. Following this initial case there were 28 sub sequential deaths caused by the spread of dysentery throughout the county.

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Salem Township Statement of Deaths, 1887

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Salem Township Statement of Deaths, 1887

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Salem Township Statement of Deaths, 1887

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Warren County Death Record, 1867-1881

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Warren County Death Record, 1867-1888