Sherburne County will post 20 years of data online

The Sherburne County Board has approved a plan by the county recorder’s office to transfer more than 20 years of microfilm data electronically in order to post the data online for subscribers.

The records include documents such as deeds, titles, liens and mortgage papers concerning real estate transactions in Sherburne County from 1957 to 1979, when copying such data onto 35mm film was standard, County Recorder Michelle Ashe explained to the Star News.

Prior to 1957, office staff recorded details from real estate documents first strictly by hand (using only pen and paper) and later with typewriters. The office’s hand- and typewritten records cover about 100 years of transactions in Sherburne County, as the county’s boundaries were separated from Benton County to the north in February 1856. Ashe said that her office does have one bound book of Benton County data recorded before 1856.

The data is all public information, she said, but the subscribers commonly include attorneys, surveyors and title and abstract companies, often based in Minneapolis.

The county began its current procedure of scanning documents for immediate digital storage in 1994.

Ashe expects the transfer from microfilm to be complete by the end of 2012, at an estimated cost of $47,000, which was the low bid from U.S. Imaging Inc. of Saginaw, Mich., a firm that works only with county records, she said.

Financing for the project comes not through the county tax levy but rather from a Recorders Technology Fund that is built through a portion of fees paid by subscribers for copies of titles, deeds and other documents. Minnesota state statute directs each county recorder’s office to charge a flat rate of $46 per document copy (for either one or multiple pages) and the county gets to put $10 from each $46 payment into its technology fund. Those dollars can cover the costs of computers, software and a variety of other needs, Ashe said.