Save the City’s Records
By: Maryel Doyon
If someone wants a copy of a birth certificate, he/she goes to the Municipal Clerk’s office. The same goes for obtaining a marriage license. We do not just have the records of Portland residents; if the event occurred in the City of Portland, we have a copy. It is extremely important, and required by law, that the records be well maintained so they will last forever. We cannot just microfilm them and throw away the originals; we must maintain the original copies. In addition, we have all of the City Council records covering several centuries of Portland history. As businesses were established and licensed, and as proclamations were done to recognize the great work of those around us, those events were recorded in the Council minutes.
Over time, the records have begun to deteriorate, either because of the ink used in yesteryears or the ingredients used to make the paper. The air and our handling of the documents break them down, also. It is important to note that these are the vital records of people’s lives, and they are not just the records of Portland residents. If the event occurred in Portland, there is a copy here, no matter where one lived at the time.
We have received an estimate of $700,000+ to restore these books. The restoration will remove the acid from the pages and encapsulate each vital record in acid free mylar. The record itself will never be touched again, but certified copies can still be made.
Whether someone is doing a genealogy search or doing historical research about the City of Portland, these books are invaluable as an educational tool. This is not just the history of Portland; it is the genealogy of an entire region.