The very term applied to the records that are classified under the classification known as the Sumter County Public Records denote that they must be available to the public at all times. In order to understand the reason why, one must first take into consideration what these records are. These records are the official records of a transaction or a proceeding that are of great importance to the public. There are numerous transactions and proceedings happening around the world at any given time, but most of these are private and are not within this collection because they are of no importance to the public. The records within the archives, therefore, are those that are of importance to the public.
There are a number of document types within the archives. Most of these documents have no prescribed form, but all of them contain the name of the parties that are involved. Sometimes, only the name of the party that initiated the transaction or the proceeding is in the record, but there must always be a name, because more often than not, it is these names that would be used as the title for the records. The information contained within the records is the reason why they are of great importance to the public. The information could be used in a number of purposes both in the public and private sphere.
As was mentioned before, the contents of the archives are generally available to the public at all times. No less than statute had mandated the official custodian of these records, the clerk of courts, to keep the records accessible to the public. It is for this reason that the clerk of court could not refuse any person access to the archives where the records are being kept, but because the clerk is mandated to secure these records, there are a number of procedures that must first be complied with before access to the records is given.
The first thing that one would need when searching at the archives where the records are kept is permission from the clerk of court. There are a number of methods that one may resort to in order to obtain permission from the clerk, but it is submitted that the most efficient method would be to actually go to the office of the clerk and ask personally. This is because the records would be made available at the same day that the permission is asked. If letters are resorted to, the searcher must wait for the letter to reach him before he could do the search.
Once permission has been given and access to the records had been given, the searcher may now do his search. Of course, he may leave the search to the clerk who should be faster in completing the search because they are more familiar with the filing system. Note that the records that would be made available to the searcher are the official original records. As such, these may not be taken out of the archives, but copies of the same could be made after paying the copying fee which is usually one dollar per page. Once the copies are made, they may be certified for two dollars per document.
Another option would be to conduct the search online. There are a number of online databases that will provide the same information as the ones that could be picked from the office of the clerk of court, but searching here would be relatively faster because they are done using the internet. In addition, these searches are mostly free and because the online databases are connected to other databases, there is the possibility of other types of information being obtained.