Hug Your Researcher Revisited!

Back in 2016 County House Research Operations Manager Phil Bryer spent a week on the road in Massachusetts filling in for one of our in-court researchers. His notes from the field became the basis for “Hug Your Researcher!“, one of the Tip Sheet’s most popular pieces ever. There have since been major changes in Massachusetts, so the Tip Sheet caught up with Phil for an update.

[TS]: Your “Hug Your Researcher!” piece is legendary; one of the most read articles in Tip Sheet history. What’s changed in Massachusetts since your experiences there in 2016?

[PB]:  It is not an overstatement to say that research in Massachusetts has been completely transformed. The Mass Courts have digitized the bulk of their district court records and made them available through terminals in the courthouses. This is similar to what had already been available for superior courts. This makes a huge difference for turnaround time because we are not waiting for clerks to pull records. The vast majority of the information is available through the in-court terminal. That means clears are usually within 24 hours and records between 24 and 48 hours.

Your experience from 2016 required A LOT of driving around and waiting on people. It sounded frustrating and tiring. What does the process look like now?

If you can pardon the pun, we’re miles away from that now. In the new system, our researchers arrive at the courthouse and get the information directly from the terminals. Each researcher travels with a mobile office system that includes scanning functionality, allowing them to transmit abstracts or digital copies to the County House Research office where our records associates put the information into our system. The information is sent to the client through one of our integrations like Accio Data, FRS, or ClearStar, or we can enter it into their proprietary systems if that is what they want. This is really the way the mobile office concept was meant to work when we developed it years ago. It is very satisfying to be able to transmit the information directly to the main office as soon as possible after we get it.

Is all district court information available through court terminals?

No, some records, especially the oldest records, still require the pulling of the physical files. That’s one of the advantages of maintaining a fleet of researchers. Older cases are prone to inconsistencies because of the migration from the old system. Our researchers have the experience and knowledge to be able to discern if additional information is required. If there is information missing or something doesn’t make sense, our researchers go directly to the district court whenever necessary to verify the information or have the record pulled. So this is a very important thing to keep in mind. Sometimes you need the courthouse to confirm dates of birth or other inconsistencies. “Take out the doubt” have been words to live by at County House Research since the company started. Being able to search from courthouse terminals is a game changer but as in-court research professionals we know that sometimes there is no substitute for going to the court. 

It sounds like research in Massachusetts has gotten much more fun. Is there anything you want to add?

I don’t know if fun is the right word. It’s certainly more satisfying to be able to provide our clients with the information they need quickly and accurately. Being able to search on courthouse terminals also means that our researchers can put the professional skills they have developed over many years toward the research rather than driving from courthouse to courthouse. Ultimately, it’s that experience and expertise that clients rely on so I’m excited that the changes in Massachusetts let us show just how amazing our team of researchers is.

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I know that in past years I’ve lamented how quickly the summer passes. Not this year. As anyone who lives on the east coast can tell you, we’ve been having extremely hot weather. In Philadelphia, we’ve also had one of the stormiest Julys on record with days on end of severe thunderstorms and flooding. According to the National Weather Service, that’s all changing. We’ve had a couple of clear, relatively cooler days and more of the same is predicted for the days ahead. Let’s hope the forecast is correct so people can get out and start enjoying my favorite time of year. Have a great rest of the summer!

Warmest regards,

B. Zimmerman

Thousands of low-income students eat free or reduced-price meals during the school year. but those same kids face higher risks for hunger and malnutrition in the summer. The Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger’s summer meals program help to fill that gap, by providing kids the nutritious food they need to stay healthy all summer long! Please join us in supporting their efforts.

Click to support Summer Meals.

I’m super excited to announce two big pieces of news this month. One is that we have a new website. Besides its beautiful new design, we’ve added some new features like our coverage area search. You can now look up our coverage areas by state or courthouse right from the homepage or from any of our coverage area pages. We hope to add more great features that make our clients’ lives easier as we move ahead.

The second announcement is even bigger! With our recent acquisition in Delaware, we have launched a new service offering the most direct access to Delaware courts available. With CHR turning 20 this year is really gratifying for me to see us continuing to grow and evolve to meet the background screening industry’s changing needs. You can read more about our new DelawareDirect™ below or visit our Delaware coverage page.

Warmest regards,

B. Zimmerman


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Got some questions? Need advice? Get in touch with us!

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County House Research
Contact us today for #court updates and how we can best serve you during this time!

#courtresearch #courtrecords #updates #researcher #researchimpact #pbsa #fcra #certified #vendor #Pennsylvania
County House Research
County House Research
As we continue to face this unprecedented time for our a nation and across the globe, we at County House Research remain committed to being your resource and providing you the best service possible during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

First and foremost, our deepest condolences go out to those friends and families who have lost loved ones during this time. May you know G-d's deepest peace and comfort as you continue forward.

With many courts closed to the public across the nation, we remain hopeful that this will soon be over, and businesses can start to heal.

If you have questions about jurisdictions that are still available or just want to say hello (!), please contact Prissy Hamilton at (215) 717-7433 x25.

We will continue to update you on changes as new information becomes available.

Thank you again to all of our industry partners for their support during these difficult and uncertain times.
We wish all our clients and colleagues safety and good health.

Blessing of peace on you all during this time!

Your family at CHR
County House Research
County House Research
County House Research remains committed to providing you the best service possible during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

We continue to provide full service in:
Cook County, Illinois
New Hampshire
NH State Police
New Jersey
Philadelphia Civil
West Virginia

Other jurisdictions may be available.
If you need searches in a jurisdiction not listed above, or if you have questions, please contact Prissy Hamilton at (215) 717-7433 x25.

We will continue to update you on changes as new information becomes available.

Thank you to all our industry partners for their support during these difficult and uncertain times. We wish all our clients and colleagues safety and good health.


COVID-19 Information Resources:
Here are some resources to help you navigate the coming weeks.

Center for Disease Control (CDC)

World Health Organization (WHO)

U.S. Department of State

Stay safe!
Your team at
County House Research, Inc
County House Research
County House Research
Happy Saint Patrick's Day from CHR!

Saint Patrick was kidnapped from Britain when he was 16 and taken to Ireland, where he was enslaved and worked as a shepherd. He escaped and returned to Britain after six years. After becoming a priest, he was led back to Ireland by a dream and returned, sharing the love and hope of G-d in the land of his former captivity.

As we all deal with health protocols and navigate this situation together, may we find "gold" in the things we are grateful for, focus on solutions and keep pushing through! There is always a bigger plan.

We're here to assist in any way we can. Stay safe!

Your team at
County House Research
County House Research
County House Research
Dear Clients and Colleagues,

In the face of difficulties arising from the current outbreak of COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus), we want to assure you that we remain deeply committed to our “It’s Our Search Too” philosophy. More than just a motto, It’s Our Search Too means that will do whatever we can to continue providing you with the best service possible.

Our Work Place
The best way to ensure that there are no interruptions in service is to take care of the people who make up the County House Research team. In keeping with recent health advisories, those CHR team members who are able to work from home are now doing so. We are also monitoring the situation in the courthouses to determine any health and safety considerations affecting County House Research employees. If we determine that there is a threat to the health and safety of our team members, we will communicate that information to you at the earliest possible time.

Courthouse Closures
We anticipate that over the course of the next few weeks, courthouses throughout the country will close sporadically in order to assess conditions and clean facilities. We will keep you updated on any courthouse closures or service interruptions as we learn about them. Our researchers are in continuous contact with the various courthouses we serve. If service is not available, we will communicate that information to you as soon as possible.

Current Closures
Currently, all Massachusetts courthouses will be closed on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Massachusetts courthouses are rescheduled to open on Wednesday, March 18. Will keep you apprised of conditions as information becomes available.

Information Resources
As those in our industry know only too well, good information is the best tool for making good decisions. Here are some resources to help you navigate the coming weeks.

Center for Disease Control (CDC)
World Health Organization (WHO)
U.S. Department of State

We wish you all our clients and colleagues good health in the weeks ahead. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Prissy Hamilton at (215) 717-7433, x.25 or

Thank you very much.

B. Zimmerman, President
County House Research, Inc. | 1500 John F Kennedy Blvd, Suite 330 Philadelphia, PA 19102-1750
County House Research
County House Research
In light of the #Massachusetts Governor’s Declaration, #court leaders closed the Trial #Courts to the #public yesterday and today, March 16 & 17.

We will continue to keep you updated on court #delays and #closures as we are made aware.

As #business closures and #event #cancellations continue in an effort to #mitigate the spread of the #Corona #virus, be #safe, follow the recommended #hygiene protocol, stay #positive and enjoy this unexpected time with #family!
#Massachusetts #delays #closure #coronavirus #safety
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