Nodaway County Recorder of Deeds Sandra Smail looks up a record in an oversized index book.

Nodaway County Recorder of Deeds Sandra Smail looks up a record in an oversized index book.

Nodaway County Recorder of Deeds Sandra Smail found two books documenting military records from the Civil War and World War I while re-organizing files.

The first book lists citizens in Nodaway County who served in the Civil War. The handwritten records contain details such as discharge papers, service and other facts.

The second book, “Record of Soldiers,” dates from 1919-1920 and lists all the records for individuals in Nodaway County in the military during World War I. The documents include attributes facts such as the individual’s occupation before the war, schools attended and where they served during the war. It also includes the names of any relatives that fought in previous wars and the nature of their relation.

Jefferson City’s Bureau of Vital Records Department sent a field archivist, Becky Carlson, to inspect the books. Carlson said the books are the only ones of their kind left in existence. There are no other copies of these documents.

Smail scanned the books and uploaded the files onto the Nodaway County website,, under respective links, to preserve the history and make it readily available to the public.

“For people who do genealogy, it’s great to have some of this stuff out there and it doesn’t cost you anything. These are hidden pieces of the puzzles that are unique to Nodaway County,” Smail said.

While she was cleaning out the vault drawers in the courthouse recorder’s office, she found the original leather-bound book of records for the county dated 1845, when the county was founded. It was handwritten by the first Recorder of Deeds, Amos Graham. Smail had the pages restored and preserved. She plans to scan the book and upload it to the website as well. Smail stated that Maryville was named after Graham’s wife, Mary.

Other books she plans to upload include a 1901 atlas, the original Nodaway County Plat Book, dated 1856, and all of the 52 index books. The index books list every record officially recorded by her office, giving the book and page number where the record can be located.

Due to time constraints, Smail said it is doubtful that every record will be uploaded to the website. She plans to start with all the index books to make searches more convenient for citizens and to decrease the wear on the books.

“I am trying to pick things that will be the most helpful,” Smail said.

Currently, all records, including land records, surveys, plats and other items dating 1967 to present, are available electronically on the Nodaway County Recorder of Deeds website. Interested individuals can click on the link for “search records” and follow the directions to become a registered user. Registered users may access records and print them at no additional cost.

Records prior to 1967 are in a book in the recorder’s office in the Administration Center.

Smail has also been updating the county’s website, adding links for pricing, forms and a video explaining the duties her office performs.

In 2017, she hopes to have the funds to restore, rebind and recover approximately 20 books to preserve them.