All of the Massachusetts registries of deeds now offer free online document search capabilities. The main portal for most registries is www.masslandrecords.com operated by the Secretary of State’s Office. Other registries have their own systems.
Here is a handy list of all registries liked to their online search portals:
- Berkshire: South, Middle, North
- Bristol: North (Taunton), Fall River, New Bedford (South)
- Dukes/Martha’s Vineyard
- Essex: South (Salem), North
- Middlesex: South (Cambridge), North (Lowell)
- Worcester: Main and North
Here is the link to the Massachusetts Registry of Deeds County Map to determine in which county your town is located.
How To Search Masslandrecords
1. By Name/Basic
In the basic search form, you input the property owner’s last name and first name and hit search. For common names, this will often generate too many names results as the search function is not limited to town.
2. By Name/Advanced
In the basic search form, click the Advanced button on the right side. The search will expand to the screenshot above. This is the optimal search method as you can limit the search by town and document type. I usually leave the search on “all document types.”
3. By Book and Page
Massachusetts Registry of Deeds documents are organized by “book and page.” Before electronic records, land records were recorded in actual thick book volumes. The “book” reference refers to the volume number and the page refers to the page number. Each recorded instrument has its own unique book and page reference at the top of the document’s first page. Even with the proliferation of electronic records, the book and page reference is still in operation in Massachusetts.
4. By Property Address
Search In Action
So, let’s give this a try. Find your registry where you live. Use the Registry County Map if you don’t know. In the basic search form, click advanced. Input your first and last name and click your town in the drop down menu. Press Search. Voilá, there’s a list of all recorded instruments on your title. For viewing and printing, click any of the documents. The details will appear on the right side of the search page. Click View Images and the image will appear in a new window. You can print from there.
Please note that the above is not a substitute from a full title exam by a qualified title examiner and should not be relied upon for any purchase, sale or refinance transactions. A statutory title certification covers a 50 year period and also checks bankruptcy and probate records.
Feel free to email me with any questions!