The registry of deeds, which as a government function is carried out by the officer referred to as the recorder of deeds, is an official duty which involves the general collection and maintenance of publicly relevant and accessible documentation, but in particular that relating to real estate and property rights attached to persons other than the owner.
In addition to recorder of deeds and register of deeds, such an individual might also be called the registrar general or the registrar of titles. The term used for the office of the registry of deeds can thus vary according to the preference of local government, and as such residents of the area involved in real estate transactions may wish to apprise themselves of this knowledge.
Some of the kinds of documentation maintained by a recorder of deeds, in addition to those which actually represent deeds, can also be observed to include mortgages, releases, mechanic’s liens, and plats. A primary concern of a register of deeds is to administer the indexes through which members of the public can gain access to any of these previously mentioned forms of documentation, as come in the various possible and specific forms represented by a tract index, plat map, or grantor-grantee index.
The registry of deeds is not only maintained as a public service, but also as a means for granting legal standing to various kinds of real estate transactions and areas of laws, including those in the common, case and statutory forms, and can thus be used in judicial and legal proceedings.