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Recorder of Deeds

[Record group 5]
Agency Function
This duties of this agency are currently the responsibility of the Department of Records.

Agency History
The functions of this office were originally performed for Philadelphia County by the Master of the Rolls, a Provincial officer established by the Frame of Government of 1682, although a practice common in the very earliest years of the Province was simply to acknowledge deeds and similar instruments in open court. Very similar Acts of 1706, 1711, and 1715 established the Recorder of Deeds as a County officer, requiring him to keep an office in which to take acknowledgements and record and prepare copies of deeds, mortgages, and leases for more than a year's time. In time it became customary also to record many other instruments of value. The Act of 1715 specified the Recorder of Deeds for Philadelphia County and the office continued to be filled by the Assembly until 1790 when the State Constitution of that year gave the Governor the power to appoint him. The office was made elective in 1838 and a three year term provided; this was extended to four years in 1909. With the adoption of the present City Charter in 1951, the office of the Recorder of Deeds was abolished, and its duties, powers, and records transferred to the then-established Department of Records.

Archival Records
5.1 Deed Books (1683-1952)

5.2 Exemplifications of Recorded Instruments in Pennsylvania Land Office (1683-1799 )

5.3 Patents, City Lots (1781-1785)

5.4 Register, Sales of City and State Island Lots (1781-1787)

5.5 Mortgage Contracts, General Loan Office (1736-1755)

5.6 Mortgage Books (1749-1952)

5.7 Letters of Attorney (1791-1863)

5.8 Miscellaneous Book (1799-1951)

5.9 Commission Book (1818-1899 (missing 1846-1860))

5.10 Aldermen's Commission Book (1840-1873)

5.11 Alderman's Bond Book (1840-1869)

5.12 Notary Public Commission Book (1903, 1923)

5.13 Auctioneers' Bond Book (1842-1874 (missing 1855))

5.14 Certified Copies, Ordinances of City Council (1855-1860)

5.15 Feme Sole Petitions (1878-1913)

5.16 Annual Statements, Manufacturing Corporations (1874-1916)

5.17 Physician's Diplomas (1850-1870)

5.18 Dentists' Diplomas and Affidavits (1883-1903)

5.19 Deeds, Mortgages, Miscellaneous Instruments Left for Recording and Not Called For. (1743-1879)

5.20 Charter Books (1873-1919)

5.21 Office of the Recorder of Deeds of Philadelphia. (1914 (?))

5.22 Manufacturing Companies, Agreements (1849-1875)

5.23 Partnership Books (1836-1955)

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Last updated on November 8, 2000