Crumbling at the seams: Register of Deeds restoring old marriage licenses

Published 9:45 am Saturday, April 13, 2024

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Kelly Funderburk takes her job as the Register of Deeds for Davie County seriously.

The latest is a preservation project for old marriages licenses.

“Funderburk has shown her commitment to preserving historical documents in her office and Davie County marriage licenses was an area that needed attention,” County Manager Brian Barnett said in his newsletter.

“Preserving and protecting Davie County’s historical records is something I take very seriously,” Funderburk said. “In North Carolina, all 100 counties are required by statute to have an Automation Enhancement and Preservation Fund (AEPF) allowing 10 percent of monthly revenues to be expended on the preservation and storage of public records.

“Seeing that Davie County’s oldest marriage licenses were crumbling apart at the seams, I knew it was crucial to begin a preservation project on these important documents dating back to 1868,” she said.

“By preserving a few years at a time, we have begun a beautiful series of leather-bound books encapsulating our preserved marriage licenses, which are no longer facing destruction, but are retaining their character and historical significance for perpetuity.”

Davie County works with preservation company, Kofile in Greensboro, to bring the documents back to life.

The process includes cleaning the pages, removing any tape with alcohol and acetone, repairing tears with an archival heat-set tissue, applying non-aqueous deacidification with magnesium oxide, encapsulating the documents in 2 mil polyester film sleeves, and then encapsulating all pages in a slide and release post leather binding.

“Prior to agreeing to work with Kofile, I toured their lab in Greensboro,” Funderburk said. “Their work, the preservation lab, and the care they show for historical documents is amazing and very much like work produced from the National Archives.”

Barnett said:
“Funderburk and her staff are proud of the work of the marriage license preservation project and hope residents know that the Register of Deeds makes it a priority to preserve and care for Davie County’s history.”