V. Kelly Bellis is a licensed professional land surveyor and artist living with his beloved wife in Ellsworth, Maine since arriving from Ohio on the heels of a nor'easter in January 1988 with their three young sons. For more information, check out the About Panocea page

Oct 062013
Indexed plans being made ready for hanging with the archive room in the background

Indexed plans being made ready for hanging with the archive room in the background

The Clement Collection addition to the Hancock County Survey Archive, its first set of survey records received, continues to be processed into the land records system. As of last week, all of the plans which had been rolled up – some tighter than a window shade – have been indexed with their scanned images searchable and accessible over the Internet.

The next step in the processing of these records first required the physical space, a modest sized room off of the third-floor Law Library, to be cleaned out and painted. This is the space for the long-term storage of the plans at the Courthouse designated as FOR REFERENCE ONLY.

Self adhering polyester hangers are applied to individual drawings

Self adhering polyester hangers are applied to individual drawings

In order to hang each plan, a polyester hanger is attached to the edge of it. The hanger itself has a 1/4″ self-adhesive edge and four holes. These holes facilitate what could be viewed as a heavy duty looseleaf book with a two-tined binding.

A single Easi File cabinet can hold up to 1250 plans with a minimal footprint making it the Registrar’s first and only choice for archival storage of such survey plans.

Consider getting involved with HCSA by volunteering.
If interested, drop me a line.

See related stories:
HCSA – First Collection Received
FRO Intro – and a new beginning

Arching heavy duty tinesLid lifts up, front rotates forwardPagination for each leaf corresponds with indexed information

 Posted by on October 6, 2013 at 3:25 pm
Sep 242013

MAC collection received x 800

It is with much appreciation that the Hancock County Survey Archive has received its first collection of survey records. The survey records of Millard A. Clement have been donated by his family and were delivered to the Hancock County Courthouse on September 16th. The inventorying of Mr. Clement’s survey files took place during the week of the 16th.  Linked below is the PDF of the inventory which includes my sometimes not so legible scribbled notes of their contents.

The Physical Mechanics

tiny-FIT-x-75During the week of the 16th the larger plans were examined, unrolled, flattened and made ready to be scanned. This process of flattening is important for smooth scanning and final document storage. The following week (of the 23rd) scanning and indexing took place. All 160-plus drawings in the collection took less than three hours to scan on Monday morning. Many of the plans are by other surveyors including K. Priest, R.A. Pinkham, P.E. Robinson and others. With a couple of exceptions, these plans relate to Hancock County with a particular concentration in the areas of Bucksport and Orland. Indexing these plans began Monday afternoon and continued …

The Metaphysical Mechanics

tiny-paper-FIT-x-75This first collection of records has been helpful beyond their immediate face value of preserved information that otherwise may have been lost or in having placed them within the grasp of the surveying community for the general benefit of the public. The records of Millard A. Clement have paved the way for other surveyors’ records to be received and processed into the Hancock County Survey Archive in so far as the physical mechanics are concerned; a fitting continuation for this mechanical engineer’s efforts. Mr. Clement’s records will also allow another very important part of the process to burgeon: development of a community of surveyors, abstractors, lawyers and other land records researchers willing to donate their time in building the archive. Please consider getting involved by volunteering, and if interested, drop me a line.

See related article:

Adobe_PDF_Icon.svgAn inventory of survey records received from
The Estate of Millard A. Clement
(March 22, 1924 – January 3, 2013)

 Posted by on September 24, 2013 at 10:07 am
Sep 222013


FRO – no, I’m not talking about a stylish do from the 60s – FRO in this context is a new document type: FOR REFERENCE ONLY which has recently been created at the Hancock County Registry of Deeds, here in Ellsworth, Maine. The thing that makes this worth talking about is why.

If you ever have done any lands records research, you’ll understand how wonderful it is to find an old survey plan and most especially when the very plan is cited in the deed that you’re reading only because of the similar researching occasions, and much more often than not, of never finding that plan. Sadly, more survey plans have ended up being lost and forgotten through neglect, poor stewardship or worse; through their overt destruction by heirs and family members only wishing to be rid of them.

Now, for the first time in Hancock County, and possibly in the state of Maine, there will be a searchable online repository to the survey records from surveyors that have left the face of the Earth thanks in no small part to the efforts of the Hancock County Commissioners, the Hancock County Registrar of Deeds, Ms. Julie Curtis and the county’s software vendor, Property Info. Without their participation and cooperation the Hancock County Survey Archive would never have been realized.

These are the early days, just the beginning for the HCSA. However, it will only be able to flourish through the work of volunteers who will receive, process, separate, unfold, unroll and flatten these old documents in preparation for their scanning, indexing and final storage in the Hancock County Survey Archive – all done in close coordination with the Registrar. If you would like to volunteer to help work on building the HCSA, please drop me a line at with HCSA support in the subject line.

Once indexed, the public will have free access to these records. Searches of the FRO documents will be like any other indexed land record in the system. Here’s a quick introduction video on how it will work:


See Related articles:

Where Do You Want Your Surveying Records to Go When You Die? (PSM – October 2000)

The Dodge Papers – Online

 Posted by on September 22, 2013 at 9:19 am
Sep 212013

Since July I’ve been making headway on a not so daily basis into migrating The Dodge Papers onto my website. Presentation of the collection of scanned documents from three surveyors started out with the idea that users would be accessing the information locally utilizing Windows Explorer (or its equivalent), that is, on their own personal computers and not on a remote server.

A few changes were needed to make viewing the documents a little more friendly, but if you have one of those first CDs made (circa January 2000), you’ll see the interface’s behavior hasn’t been altered much. You will note however, that the collection of images which comprised Volume 1 of The Dodge Papers has nearly doubled.

As you explore The Dodge Papers keep in mind that there are two navigational strips; one along the left margin that changes with document type selections and the other, across the top:


I hope that you find this information useful!


 Posted by on September 21, 2013 at 2:41 pm
May 282013


All rounds written by Cathy Jacobs 🙂

 Posted by on May 28, 2013 at 10:23 pm