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(Woodbury, NJ)- Gloucester County Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney announced today that Gloucester County will accept the $1,446,481 grant from the New Jersey Division of Archives and Records Management State Records Committee at the regularly scheduled Freeholder meeting tonight. The grant will be used to preserve and electronically record the county's records.

This is the first year that the grant, whose monies were collected by revenue generated from recording fees from County Clerk's throughout New Jersey, was awarded by the State Records Committee. The county's award of the $1.4 million PARIS grant for Public Archives and Records Infrastructure Support is one of the largest in the state.

"Although today we live in an information and technology age, just as short as two decades ago we did not," said Sweeney. "It is as vital that we preserve the county's records of the 20th century as those of the 18th century. The PARIS grant will allow the county to archive and electronically record and preserve documents so that they will be usable and readable in perpetuity," stated Sweeney.

Sweeney said, "The Surrogate's Office has at least twenty books from the 1700's that are literally disintegrating. These books mainly contain inventories of estates that executors would have catalogued for value. These books are still used today, mainly for genealogy, and through this grant they will be rebound, cleaned and conserved in a way that will allow them to be usable without causing further damage," the Freeholder Director said.

"There are about twenty projects that the county will use this grant for to preserve our oldest documents, create disaster and recovery systems for electronic storage, enhancing our records storage space, and other preservation," said Freeholder Director Sweeney.

Freeholder Director Sweeney noted that other projects that the grant will be utilized for include: disaster and recovery system at the County's Clayton Complex, records recovery, an electronic document management system, microfilming mortgage books, naturalization records and back file microfilming deeds in the County Clerk's Office, microfiche to microfilm conversion in the Surrogate's Office, image conversion and off-site microfilm storage for the county records, assessment and preservation of highway maps, inventory of records of the Gloucester County Historical Society and for a Records Manager and Records Analyst.

In 2003 the legislature established the New Jersey Public Records Preservation Account and provided a funding source through certain document filing and recording fees collected by the county clerks. The State Records Committee created the PARIS Grants program in December of 2004 for the purpose of having the 21 counties apply annually for the competitive grants for achieving and recording. The grant begins July 1st and runs on the states' fiscal year.

"I have to thank our PARIS Committee, who was comprised of the County's Data Management Office, the County Clerk's Office, the Surrogate's Office, the Prosecutor's Office, the Clerk of the Board's Office and Administration for working together to identify, prioritize, strategically plan and successfully apply for the $1.4 million grant for preserve ring our history and documents," the Freeholder Director concluded.