County Recorder

A Single Location Where Information About Real Property Rights is Recorded

A Recorder of deeds refers to the government office tasked with maintaining a record of real estate ownership, as well as other deeds that provide persons other than the owner of a property with real rights over that property.

The office of the County Recorder might also be known as the Registrar-General, Register of Deeds, Registrar of Deeds, Registrar of Titles, Deeds Registry, Deeds Office, or Recorder of deeds , depending on the jurisdiction and custom in the area serviced by the recorder of deeds. In some U.S. states, the function of recorder of deeds is part of the county clerk's responsibilities.

The purpose of a recorder of deeds is providing a single location where information about real rights can be recorded and searched by interested parties. The principals of statutory, case and common law are given effect by the recorder of deeds, insofar as it relates to vested ownership in land and other real rights. Because estate in land can be held in so many complex ways, a single deeds registry provides some stability, even though it cannot "guarantee" those real rights.

San Joaquin County Records Building

The legal certainty provided by a title deed issued under the registration of the recorder of deeds is of great significance to all parties who hold, or wish to acquire rights in real property. Certainty of title is the basis for the investment of massive amounts of money in real estate development for residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural use each year. This is why the meticulous recording of registration information by the recorder of deeds is so important.

The recorder of deeds keeps record of real rights on paper, in the form of old land registers and paper copies of new registry entries, on computer, as well as on microfilm. Each document recorded against title to real estate can be examined and the portion of the bundle of rights that it includes can be determined. These records can assist interested parties in researching the history of land and the chain of title for any property and purpose.

Documents describing real rights that are regularly recorded by the recorder of deeds include deeds, mortgages, mechanics liens, releases and plats, among others. To allow full access to deeds recorded throughout the office history, several indexes are also maintained, which include grantor-grantee indexes, tract indexes, and plat maps.

South Africa: deeds registry

The South African system of deeds registry is hailed by many as one of the best systems of title registration in the world. The South African Registrar of Deeds is responsible for the national system of deeds offices which, through a juristic foundation and long-standing practices and procedures, has the effect of “guaranteeing” title.

The Deeds Registries Act and Sectional Titles Act are applied to regulate the deeds registry system, and form the foundation of land registration in South Africa.

United States: recorders of deeds

In the U.S., most Recorders of Deeds are elected officials serving the area of a county or county equivalent territory.

In some states, the recorder of deeds may also act as a public posting place for documents that are not directly related to estates in land, such as corporate charters, military discharges, UCC records, applications for marriage licenses, and judgments.

Deeds in a few states of the U.S. are maintained under the Torrens title system or some limited implementation of it. (For example: Iowa, Minnesota, some property in Massachusetts, Colorado, Hawaii, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Washington.) Other U.S. states, on the other hand, maintain their deeds under Common law, typically, in chronological order with a grantor/grantee index.

See also

Some Recorders/Registers of Deeds who became prominent in politics:

  • Joseph Montgomery: Recorder of Deeds and Register of Wills, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, 1785-94
  • Samuel P. Morrill: Register of Deeds for Franklin County, Maine, 1857-67
  • Hugh McLaughlin (politician), Register of Deeds for Kings County for three consecutive terms from 1861
  • Frederick Douglass: Recorder of Deeds for the District of Columbia, 1881-86
  • Charles E. Townsend: Register of Deeds for Jackson County, Michigan, 1886-97
  • Blanche Kelso Bruce: Recorder of Deeds for the District of Columbia, 1891-93
  • William S. Vare: Recorder of Deeds for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1902-12
  • Edward Boland: Register of Deeds for Hampden County, Massachusetts, 1941-52
  • Carol Moseley Braun: Recorder of Deeds for Cook County, Illinois, 1988-92
  • Jesse White: Recorder of Deeds for Cook County, Illinois, 1993-1999

External links

Recording process: Directory: Organizations: Specific offices:
  • Cook County, IL
  • Columbus County, NC
  • Guilford County, NC
  • Hall County, NE
  • Anderson County, TN (first with online document viewing, 3/24/97)
  • San Joaquin County, CA 
  • Shelby County, TN
  • Johnston County, NC (first electronic recording of a land record via eNotary under the newly approved North Carolina ERC rules)
  • Delaware County, OH
Commercial Online Providers:
South Africa:
  • DeedsWeb is the Department of Land Affairs' official website for the supply of deeds registration information.
  • Contact details for deeds offices in South Africa can be found here.
  • This report gives an overview of the foundations, performance, and goals of Deeds Registration in South Africa.
  • All land and houses Records are at Ministry of Justice of Ukraine

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