Gartin Building Courtroom with the Great Seal of the State of Mississippi

Hancock County Chancery Court records scanned for electronic access

November 4, 2005

The Hancock County Chancery Court is scanning all its records for electronic retrieval. A documents preservation company was hired to scan all Hancock County Chancery Court records.

Hancock County land records dating back to the 1800s have been available for public access via computer terminals in the clerk’s temporary office since Oct. 17.

The Hancock County Chancery Clerk’s office is now in a Quonset Hut at the Hancock County Civic Center on Longfellow Drive in Bay St. Louis. The Chancery Clerk’s offices are expected to move into two trailers at the Civic Center location by Dec. 1. Officials haven’t decided yet whether to move the land records access area from the Quonset Hut into one of the trailers. Authorities will evaluate how the Quonset Hut stands up to the weather.

Land records were needed for title searches and other purposes as people who lost their homes attempted to rebuild and seek loans.

“Our county can’t rebuild without having access to the land records. That was the first priority, and those records were really in the worst shape of all of our records. They took on more water,” said Hancock County Chief Deputy Chancery Clerk Pamela Cuevas.

The land records were dried and treated to kill mold. The originals were scanned. The paper originals are now in a refrigerated truck, Cuevas said.

Wills, estates, divorces and other Chancery Court records are now being scanned. Cuevas said that project is expected to be completed within three or four weeks. Anyone needing public access to such records before that time may contact the clerk’s office.

“It’s a huge project. We had to do something quickly,” Cuevas said.