History lesson: Don’t try to sell official county records

Did Grandpa’s old trunk or Great Uncle Alfred’s house yield some sort of old record book from a county or state government? Maybe you have the volume labeled Marriage Record 5. Perhaps your cousin told that they had the original records of the early tax lists for the county. In many states the law prohibits the selling of such items whether online or at an antique shop. Many dealers know that they should contact the state archives or county officials if they come upon such an item.

An article in the Arkansas Times blog  tells the story of original tax records from Jefferson County, Arkansas that were being offered on Craig’s List for $10,000. Yes, you read that correctly.

Thank goodness someone saw the ad and contacted the proper authorities and the records are being returned to the county.

Read that blog post here.

Some older records that neither the county or state officials deem worth keeping may be ok for you to own. Check with officials. Better safe than sorry or embarrassed. Archivists and others check shops and online auction sites all the time for missing records.

© 2013 – 2014, Paula Stuart-Warren. All rights reserved.

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1 comments on “History lesson: Don’t try to sell official county records

  1. Twice original marriages records from Kentucky have been offered for sale on eBay. In both cases, they had disappeared over 50 years ago and turned up in an antique shop. They were purchased and returned to the county courthouse. Now, if we could just find the others that are missing.

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