Philadelphia Information Locator Service
Archival Record Series

Recorder of Deeds

[Record Group 5]

5.1 Deed Books
1683-1952
1342 volumes, 27 microfilm cabinets,
Recorded copies of deeds, each of which lists dates of making and recording, grantee, grantor (wife's name normally also listed as grantor), parties' occupations and general areas of residence, metes and bounds of property, price, occasional recitals of title and consequent general family information, and date of recording.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
5.2 Exemplifications of Recorded Instruments in Pennsylvania Land Office
1683-1799
11 volumes, index
The entries within these books are true copies of documents filed with the Proprietary Land Office, the Master of the Rolls and the Pennsylvania Land Office. Generally, they refer to transactions which relate to Philadelphia County, including patents, deeds, letters of attorney, leases and releases, etc. Excerpts are from Patent Books in the A, AA, P, and H series; Commissioners Patent Books A1-A4; Letter of Attorney Books of the D and LA series; Lease and Release Books A1, B2 and B3; Record Book F6; Patents of New York; Deed Book E3 vol. 5; and Patents for City Lots.
For index to volumes 9 & 10, see Guide to the Records of the Sale of Commonwealth Property in Philadelphia County, 1780-1798 (1994)
For index to remaining volumes, see Guide to the Philadelphia Exemplification Records Series . . . 1669-1838. (1994)

Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Shelf list is available.
5.3 Patents, City Lots
1781-1785
1 volume, index
Patents granted by Supreme Executive Council for lands in City held by Commonwealth and sold at auction; entries list grantee, price, description of property, dates of sale and recording, signatures of President and Secretary of Supreme Executive Council.
For index, see Guide to the Records of the Sale of Commonwealth Property in Philadelphia County, 1780-1798 (1994)
for additional city patents, see volumes 9 and 10 of Record Series 5.2 - Exemplifications

Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
5.4 Register, Sales of City and State Island Lots
1781-1787
1 volume, index
Entries for sales, May 1781, of lots on State Island list lot number, acreage and acre price, purchasor, price paid; entried for sales of City lots, 1781-1782, list date, lot number, purchasor, price paid; entried for sales of City lots, 1786-1787, lists lot number and location, metes and bounds of some lots, purchasor.
For index, see Guide to the Records of the Sale of Commonwealth Property in Philadelphia County, 1780-1798 (1994)
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
5.5 Mortgage Contracts, General Loan Office
1736-1755
6 volumes, index
Entries list dates of making and recording, parties (Province the mortgagee, through the Trustees of the General Loan Office), mortgagor's occupation and place of residence, amount of loan, description of property collateral, terms of installment repayments.
For index, see Guide to the Mortgages of the General Loan Office of the Province of Pennsylvania, 1724-1756 (1994)
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
5.6 Mortgage Books
1749-1952
50 volumes, 30 microfilm cabinets and 8 microfilm drawers,
Entries list dates of making and recoding, names of parties, their occupations and general places of residence, amount of mortgage and description of property collateral. The City Archives possesses 39 volumes 1749-1800, 11 miscellaneous volumes 1800-1863, and film 1749-1952.)
For later mortgage records, see Department of Records Mortgages .

Mortgages, 1963-date, are located in Department of Records, Registry Unit, Room 154 City Hall
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104


5.7 Letters of Attorney
1791-1863
31 volumes, index (1791-1797)
Letters list dates of making and recording, parties, their occupations and general places of residence, and (often) the specific function for which power of attorney granted. Volumes 17911797 are 1848 copies of letters of attornies and other legal documents relating to Philadelphia matters located in volumes 1-7 in State Surveyor General's Office.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
5.8 Miscellaneous Books
1799-1951
46 volumes,
Recorded copies of instruments for which no specific record series provided; great variety of entries include court orders and decrees; charters and/or constitutions of churches, business firms, associations, agreements, bonds, military discharges, bills of sale, etc.
For similar records 1952-1955, see Department of Records, Miscellaneous Books.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
5.9 Commission Book
1818-1899; missing 1846-1860
14 volumes,
Copies of Governor's commissions to officers appointed by him or whose elections required his confirmation (e.g., Sheriff, Register of Wills, Port Physician, Clerk of Mayor's Court, measurers of corn, auctioneers) list name of appointee and date of appointment, office and jurisdiction within County, appointee's oath.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
5.10 Aldermen's Commission Book
1840-1873
3 volumes,
Governor's commissions (including some for justices of peace) list alderman's or justice's name, area of jurisdiction, and oath of office.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
5.11 Alderman's Bond Book
1840-1869
3 volumes, index
Entries (including some for justices of the peace) list date, name of office holder, his jurisdiction, and copy of surety bond.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
5.12 Notary Public Commission Book
1903, 1923
2 volumes,
Commissions list date, notary's name, his oath, amount of surety, surety's acknowledgement and affidavit.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
5.13 Auctioneers' Bond Book
1842-1874 ; missing 1855
3 volumes,
Copies of bonds list date, auctioneer's name, address, amount of bond, and conditions under which commission held.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
5.14 Certified Copies, Ordinances of City Council
1855-1860
2 volumes,
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
5.15 Feme Sole Petitions
1878-1913
2 volumes,
Copies of petitions list date, petitioner, address, husband, business intended to be pursued.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
5.16 Annual Statements, Manufacturing Corporations
1874-1916
1 volume,
Statements filed in accordance with the Act of 29 April 1874 list company's title, amount of capital stock, stockholders' names and number of shares held by each, amounts invested in real and personal property, debts due corporation and cash on hand, and debts owed by corporation.
For similar records, see Recorder of Deeds, Manufacturing Companies, Agreements.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
5.17 Physician's Diplomas
1850-1870
1 cu.ft.,
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
5.18 Dentists' Diplomas and Affidavits
1883-1903
2 volumes,
Affidavits filed by dentists without diplomas recount their dates and places of practice.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
5.19 Deeds, Mortgages, Miscellaneous Instruments Left for Recording and Not Called For.
1743-1879
2 cu.ft.,
Deeds, mortgages, and other legal instruments left for recording and never picked up by the owners. Index volume also lists holders of offices of Master of Rolls and Recorder of Deeds and dates of their assuming office, 1753-1879.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
5.20 Charter Books
1873-1919
61 volumes, index
Recorded copies of charters of incorporation granted by State legislature or Court of Common Pleas; entries indicate corporate name, date of incorporation, business or activity intended to be performed, amount of capitalization, names and addresses of directors and stockholders; types of associations listed include agricultural, art, athletic groups; asylums, banks, building and loan, and beneficial associations; cemeteries, churches, dramatic groups, fire companies, hospitals, land associations, libraries; musical, military and veterans associations; schools; secret, social, and scientific societies; temperance groups, transit and trust companies.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
5.21 Office of the Recorder of Deeds of Philadelphia.
1914 (?)
1 volume,
Contents include names of Master of Rolls and recorders of Deeds, a brief history of the office, description of the method of recording instruments and the function of the administrative section of the office, office rules, statistics for the years 1902-1913, names and positions of employees and fee schedule.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
5.22 Manufacturing Companies, Agreements
1849-1875
3 volumes,
Record certificates of incorporation filed in accordance with the following Acts of the General Assembly: "To encourage manufacturing operations in this Commonwealth," approved 7 April 1849; "To enable Joint Tenants, Tenants in Common, and adjoining owners of Mineral Lanes in this Commonwealth, to manage and develop the same," approved 21 April 1854; "Relating to corporations for Mechanical, Manufacturing, Mining and Quarrying Purposes," approved 18 July 1863. Each certificate lists corporate name, date of organization, object of incorporation, total amount of capital stock, number of shares of stock and par value, place of transaction of business by the corporation, names of corporation's officers and of some of its directors, and dates of acknowledgement and of recording.

Certificates filed in accordance with the Act of 7 April 1849 add the number of names of directors managing the affairs of the corporation, the amount of capital stock subscribed at the time of filing, and the names and addresses of shareholders and the number of shares subscribed by each.

Certificates filed in accordance with the Act of 21 April 1854 add the description, location, and number of acres of the land, and the number of shares in which it is divided, the names and addresses of the owners and the number of shares owned by each, and the number and names of directors. Occasionally, agreements between corporations and individuals or other corporations, e.g. for the sale of land, are recorded.
For similiar records, see Recorder of Deeds, Manufacturing Companies, Annual Statements.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104


5.23 Partnership Books
1836-1955
34 volumes, index
Entries of certificates , statements, articles of association; certificates of continuation, extension, or renewal; amendments, and cancellations of partnership agreements provided for under the Acts of March 21, 1836, relative to limited partnerships; June 2, 1874, authorizing the formation of partnership associations ["partnerships limited"],in which the capital subscribed shall alone be responsible for the debts of the association, except under certain circumstances; May 9, 1899, authorizing the formation of partnerships in which one or more, or all of the partners, may limit their liability for the debts of the partnership to the amount of capital subscribed by such partner, or partners, respectively, and providing penalties for violation of its provision; and April 12, 1917, relating to limited partnerships. Information common to each type of partnership recorded includes name of firm, association or partnership; the name of each of the partners and his or her place of residence, the character or nature of the business, location of principal place of business, the duration for which the partnership is to exist; the amount of capital subscribed by each partner (or, in the case of limited partnerships, by each special partner); type, unit value, and total value of real or personal property subscribed in lieu of cash;total amount of capital subscribed to the partnership, names of witnesses to the signing of the agreement and officer before whom acknowledgment taken, and dates of acknowledgment and recording. Other information required by specific Acts includes the following: Act of March 21, 1836: name of newspapers in which partnership advertised and notations of affidavits of proof of publication; Act of June 2, 1874: names of officers of the association, method in which capital is to be subscribed, and formula for the division of profits; May 9, 1899: names of partners whose liability is to be limited to the amount subscribed by each to the capital, method by which capital is to be subscribed; bylaws, rules, regulations, powers and duties of the partnership officers, and names of those members active in the partnership; and Act of April 12, 1917: additional contribution, if any, to be made by each limited partner and when contribution is to be made; the time agreed upon when the contribution of each limited partner should be returned and the share of the profits or other compensation by way of income which the limited partner shall receive by virtue of his contribution, and special rights given to general and special partners.
Index volumes 1836-1867, 1872 only
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

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Last updated on November 8, 2000