As America races towards its 250th birthday, there are numerous challenges to preserving records from the very beginning of our nation. One of the main challenges is deterioration that occurs over time from usage, sunlight, oxidation, mold and improper storage. Many early records are handwritten, requiring transcription services. Insufficient storage and the cost of archiving paper records is another growing issue. Cities and counties across the country are taking action to preserve their history.
Over the last 40 years, Avenu’s Digital Processing Services team has partnered with jurisdictions to preserve records (historic, governance, vital, land, financial, and administrative) and make them available for generations to come. Billions of documents and images have been digitized and transcribed by our experts, securing them from wear and tear, accidents, and natural disasters, while enabling the public to easily search and access them.
In honor of Presidents’ Day, we wanted to look at a previous preservation project involving a historic record with two past presidents. Let us set the stage with a brief history lesson.
For nearly 200 years, John Adams (2nd President) and John Quincy Adams (6th President) were the only father-son pair to serve as Presidents. In 1800, John Adams lost his presidential reelection campaign to Thomas Jefferson, and in 1802, John Quincy Adams was elected to the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts. In 1803, during the first year of John Quincy Adam’s term in the U.S. Senate, John Adams and his wife Abigail Adams, sold over 320 acres to their son.
Avenu partnered with Norfolk County, MA to transcribe and digitize 871 books. Included in this project was the four-page deed of sale for this property. The deed details thirteen different lots owned by John Adams that were purchased for $12,812. It provides a detailed account of how John Adams acquired different lots, structures on the property, various uses of the land, geographic boundaries, and the names of individuals who owned neighboring property.
All of this property he attests “are free of all encumbrances… that I have good right to sell and convey the same to the said John Quincy Adams, & that I will warrant and defend the same to the said John Quincy Adams and his heirs and assigns forever against the lawful claims and demands of all persons.”
The document is also noteworthy because both John and Abigail Adams signed and sealed the document as the property transferred included property from Abigail’s dowry. This deed along with numerous historic documents from Norfolk County can be viewed online.
Avenu takes great pride in using our technology and experienced team to preserve records for future generations. Each document preserved provides a detailed account of the individuals, land, and events that occurred throughout the history of our nation.
Avenu also digitized Plymouth County, Massacheusetts’ historical records in advance of the 400 anniversary of Plymouth Colony.
How the Norfolk Circuit Court Increased its Jury Response Rate from 36% to 80%.
Low jury response rates can be a drag on court operations and the administration of justice: cancelled trials; wasted time and money; frustrated judges, lawyers, parties, and witnesses.
These low jury response rates also punish the members of the public who do show up to meet their civic responsibilities. These responsible citizens often serve more frequently because of the citizens who simply shirk from their civic duties.
The citizens who do respond to a jury duty summons are not always reflective of the population leading to jury pools that do not accurately represent the demographics of the community.
The Circuit Court of the City of Norfolk, Virginia faced all of these problems in 2015. And they were not getting any better.
Clerk of Court George Schaefer summarizes the Court’s experience in improving the jury response rate in this way: “We’ve improved our jury response rate from a low of 36% to around 80%. Are we where we want to be? No, not yet. But through a lot of concerted effort and a software program that allows us to do what we need to do, we’re so much better off than we used to be. We’re quite pleased.”