DuPage clerk begins preservation effort to save county's historic documents

Staff members in the DuPage County Clerk's office, in an effort to preserve vital historical records and improve public access, have begun an archiving campaign.

Officials from the Illinois State Archives began working with DuPage staff Friday to archive thousands of records and scan them to microfilm.

"Early in my term, it was brought to my attention by a local genealogical researcher that we needed to improve our vital record system and public access in DuPage County," Clerk Jean Kaczmarek said. "It was then that I realized that in addition to issues with access, our historical vital records were not stored safely; a fire or tornado could wipe out original vital records dating back to 1839."

Kaczmarek said the archives office, a branch of the Illinois secretary of state's office, is providing the microfilm and environmentally-controlled storage at no cost.

Kaczmarek said Friday's archivists' visit was the first of numerous trips to obtain records in batches, starting with: birth records and indexes from 1877 to 1919, death records and indexes from 1877 to 1916, and marriage records and indexes from 1839 to 1944.

"We're calling this endeavor 'The Judi Project' after Judi Wilkovich, our office's vital records and licensing supervisor," Kaczmarek said. "It has been Judi's vision over the years to take vital record-keeping and preservation to the next level. Finally, here we are."

Once the records are scanned and recorded to microfilm, they will be taken to the Illinois Regional Archives Depository at Northern Illinois University, where they will be available to researchers and, eventually, posted online.

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