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Officials back up records

A catastrophic fire left most of Webster County’s records destroyed last month, but a local official said measures are in place to avoid a similar loss in Lincoln County.

Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop said his office began electronically backing up records in 2000.

Documents moving through the chancery clerk’s office include those dealing with land deeds, oil and gas, divorce, estates, land disputes, family disputes and youth court.

The process of backing up the records requires scanning the originals onto an external server. After initially having an outside group scan the records for the office, the chancery clerk’s staff now scans the items.

Since the process began, the office has scanned about 30,000 files and backed up every land deed in the county.

“If you own property in Lincoln County and something happened to the courthouse, we could give you proof that you own your property in short notice,” Bishop said.

Along with the backup files on the server, the chancery clerk’s office also holds onto the original file.

The chancery clerk’s office uses Delta Computer software to back up files. Delta also maintains the server the documents are stored on.

Adding a further level of security, the Biloxi-based company moved its server to Jackson after Hurricane Katrina, Bishop said.

Delta Computer backs up the scanned records every day at 10 p.m. The backup file is paperless so the file can be accessed from anywhere with the help from Delta Computer, Bishop said.

Filing of paper documents is also something Bishop has addressed since he took office as chancery clerk.

“When I arrived, there were so many filing cabinets, I could barely get in the door,” Bishop said. “We bought huge filing racks to make it easier.”

In January, the historic courthouse of Webster County was almost completely lost to a fire. All the county’s records were held in the courthouse and no backup system was in place.

Most of the records were destroyed, but a small amount was saved by firefighters.

The rescued documents were, however, severely water damaged and are currently in deep freeze to halt further deterioration and dry them out, Bishop said.

Bishop also said he and his staff are going to help Webster County retrieve some of those files, but Webster County officials have to tell them what kind of help is needed.

“We are waiting on them to go through the process,” Bishop said.