PARIS — Patricia Shearman, Oxford County Register of Deeds for the Eastern Division, is running unopposed for a second term.
Citing her experience, forward-thinking first-term and passion for history, the 65-year-old Democrat said she would continue to make strides to improve the quality of archival access in the digital age.
“I have a strong desire to assure future researchers have the best access to public information,” Shearman said.
The eastern division serves all but nine towns, records of which are stored in the western division registry in Fryeburg.
Shearman is the 18th register to serve the county since its inception in 1805.
In 2010, Shearman’s friends convinced her that her business background and passion for history made her suited for the position. She was elected, taking over from longtime register Jane Rich.
A native of Waterville, Shearman has a master’s degree in American and New England studies from the University of Southern Maine and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Ohio University.
A former small business owner with experience in bookkeeping and payroll management, Shearman is an avid historian and painter. She has lived in Norway for the past 25 years.
Over the past four years, Shearman said she’s focused heavily on ensuring the nearly two million digital records are legible, conform to standards and do not degrade as file formats change, while saving the county an estimated $23,000 a year by swapping technology vendors.
Over the next four years, Sherman hopes to continue work searching for and scanning an estimated 5,000 illegible plans and securing a reliable storage place for hard copies.
“It’s a privilege to serve as an elected register of deeds and a job I’m proud to hold,” she said.
Every day the job is slightly different, be it assisting a book researcher or helping descendants find the gravesites of their ancestors, deeds work at times is like solving a puzzle, she said.
“For a historian, it doesn’t get better than that,” she said.