Deed records are available to the general public and can be found in the Circuit Court's Registrar of Deeds office that is located in the jurisdiction of the real estate for which you are searching. The majority of records are in traditional print, but with new technology, some records are now available electronically. A search can be made by looking at either the Tax Assessment Land Book or the Grantee Book. "The Free Dictionary" defines a Grantee as the "person to whom a grant is made."
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Location of the Circuit Court's Registrar of Deeds office
- Tax assessment land book or grantee book
- Deed book
- Monthly subscription for electronic access to registrar's office (optional)
Visit the Circuit Court Registrar of Deeds. The Circuit Court is usually located in the county offices where the property is located. Ask the clerk for the current Tax Assessment Land Book and Grantee Book.
Search the most current real estate Tax Assessment Land Book. The names of each owner of real estate within the jurisdiction are listed in alphabetical order.
Pinpoint your name in the book. Next to your name will be the deed reference, which is either a deed book and page number, such as Deed Book 235, Page 023 (traditional print), or an Instrument Number, such as 201000455 (electronic).
Locate the name under which the deed is titled if it is a name other than your own.
Find the Deed Book using the deed reference. These books are usually shelved along the deed room walls. For example, if you are given Deed Book 500, Page 25 as a reference, pull the Deed Book numbered 500 and turn to page 25 of that book. You have now located your deed.
Follow the computer's instructions in the deed room to access instrument numbers. Type your number into the computer to access your deed's image.
Tax Assessment Land Book
Track down the Grantee Book containing your name and the year you purchased the property if you were unable to find your deed reference in the Tax Assessment Land Book. The book's cover will display a period of years and the first letter of the grantee's last name. For example, if John Doe purchased property on February 2, 1965, pull Grantee Book "D" for year 1965.
Turn to the index page to locate your last name or first letter of your last name. Turn to the corresponding page number listed in the right hand column.
Scan the given page until you find your name listed among the periodically listed landowners. Your deed reference will be specified in the right column next to your name. Write down the deed reference.
Obtain Internet access to the deed records by contacting your local Registrar of Deeds office. A member of the staff there will provide you with a web site link; some require a monthly subscription. A directory of Registrars online offices is available at "State and Local Government on the Net."
Access the court's Internet deed records at the link provided.
Choose the "Land" and "Grantee" search options and enter the search criteria.
Select the owner you wish to access in the listing and click on "Display Image" to view your deed.
Tips and warnings
- For property acquired by a Last Will and Testament, use the same steps. Search the Will Index and Will Books rather than the Grantee and Deed Books.
- Ask for professional assistance if the property was acquired by an unrecorded inheritance.
- The computer software used by courthouses varies. Ask the court office employees for assistance if necessary.
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