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What Does the Recorder of Deeds Actually Record?

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

So now you'll know what A Recorder of Deeds does when you enter that lonely voting booth in November.

Just what kind of deeds does the Recorder of Deeds record? Fortunately for us all, it isn’t the deeds of our daily lives…especially the ones done dirt cheap.

Instead, the Recorder of Deeds in Chester County deals with what is for most people the most significant asset their lives (and the Deed that goes along with it). The Office plays a pivotal role in the management and preservation of property records within the county. This office is responsible for maintaining a comprehensive database of legal documents pertaining to real estate transactions. These documents include deeds, mortgages, liens, and various other instruments related to property ownership and transfers. The Recorder of Deeds ensures that these records are accurately recorded, indexed, and stored in a secure manner to facilitate easy access for the public and legal professionals.

One of the key functions of the Recorder of Deeds is to authenticate and validate the legality of recorded documents. This involves verifying the authenticity of signatures, the acknowledgment of parties involved, and the proper execution of legal forms. By performing these critical steps, the office helps to establish the legal standing of property transactions, providing a foundation for property ownership rights and title transfers. The office serves as a critical custodian of property records, safeguarding the integrity of real estate transactions for the benefit of the community...especially today, as Deed Theft continues to be more prevalent.

The history of the Recorder of Deeds as a position can be traced back to ancient times when written records were used to document various aspects of society, including property ownership. In ancient Mesopotamia, for example, clay tablets were used to record land transactions. Similarly, in ancient Rome, there were officials responsible for maintaining records of property transfers.

In England, the system of recording deeds evolved over centuries. By the Middle Ages, local officials were appointed to keep records of land transactions. These records were maintained in local registries, often within churches or other public buildings. The system of recording deeds was further formalized with the establishment of the Court of Chancery in the 15th century, which played a crucial role in overseeing property transactions.

In the United States, the Recorder of Deeds system was inherited from English common law. Early American colonies adopted this system, and it became an integral part of the legal infrastructure. Recorder of Deeds offices were established in each county to record and safeguard property transactions.

As technology advanced, particularly in the 20th century, the process of recording deeds evolved. Initially, records were kept in physical books, but gradually, many offices transitioned to electronic databases to streamline the recording process and enhance accessibility.

To-date, our Recorder of Deeds Office has not fully embraced technology, and attempts at the digitization and automation of our information have not been entirely successful. Fortunately, we have an exceptional candidate for this office on the ballot this November: Brian Yanoviak. A highly successful executive, Brian has implemented similar technology changes and will bring our Recorder of Deeds Office into the twenty-first century.

Image courtesy of 8photo Freepik

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