|Jim Powell, Jr.|
Jim Powell counts himself lucky to have landed the job of Ancient Records Coordinator, responsible for nearly 200 years of records. It was his love of history and his experience in programming and photography that began his journey into digitizing the ancient records, and developing a huge multi-state group of dedicated volunteer who help clean up digital images, index them, and every-word transcribe their contents. He even constructed a book scanner and has written computer programs to accelerate sheet feeding scanning and file name assignment. Not only does digitizing, indexing, and transcribing make access from the courthouse convenient for county business, but it also provides free online searchable access for genealogists and historians. The only documents not freely every-word searchable and accessible are the probate files, although will book indexes are available.
At present, the Alachua County official records date from the 1820s through the 1970s including marriage records, deeds, mortgages, commissioners minutes (through 1992), will book indexes, Soldiers and Sailor Books, and more. Nearly 500,000 images have been digitized and are every-word searchable, and over 35,000 pages have been transcribed. The availability of these records allows anyone in the world easy access to Alachua County ancestors and to ancestors who lived in the jurisdiction of Alachua County prior to other counties being split off from Alachua. Visit the Ancient Records website at http://www.alachuaclerk.org/archive/default.cfm.
Jim Powell, Jr., is the epitome of one person who turned his vision and a passion into a brilliant community records resource for the rest of the world.