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2001 Governor's Archives Award

WHS Director Bob Thomasgard, left, presents the 2003 Governor's Archives Award to Department of Veterans Affairs Administrator John Scocos.
Former WHS Director, George Vogt,
presents the 2001 Governor's
Archives Award to Audrey Johnson
of the Monroe County Historical

The Monroe County Local History Room is the winner of the first Governor's Archives Award for its exceptional work to preserve and provide access to the Monroe County Circuit Court and County Court Civil Case files from 1855-1937.

In 1990, the Monroe County Local History Room undertook this ambitious archival records project. In that year, the State Historical Society of Wisconsin accepted title from the Monroe County Clerk of Courts to a number of civil court case files. At that time, the Historical Society did not have the staff to process the materials, and in a unique agreement with the Monroe County Local History Room, they accepted the records on a temporary basis to process them.

Over the next 10 years, a team of local volunteers weeded, refoldered, and reboxed all the case files. Most importantly, the volunteers re-indexed the entire collection, which previously had been indexed by proper name only and was housed in seven large, heavy volumes. The new index is now on a computer database, using Microsoft ACCESS, with sophisticated search capabilities. It is now possible to search by plaintiff, defendant, type of case, date, and other combinations of fields. This new index is a boon for genealogists and local history researchers.

A five-member committee of the Wisconsin Historical Records Advisory Board selected the winner from a large field of nominees. The Governor's Archives Award is sponsored by the Wisconsin Historical Records Advisory Board that assists Wisconsin institutions in applying for federal grant money for archival work and in improving the appreciation and care of historical records in Wisconsin. Members are appointed by the governor and represent historical records creators, keepers, and users.


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