Lowell Deeds

The latest on real estate recordings and new technology from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell

November 1, 2005


by @ 4:05 pm. Filed under History

One of the many things I love about working at the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds is its rich history. So often we come across items or books that remind me of this fact. You may remember that last summer we found newspapers printed in the 1930’s attached to old Registered Land documents. Yesterday was one of those lucky days here at the registry. We found eight old and rare copies of the Massachusetts Lawyers Diary in the basement of the registry: 1910, 1913, 1914, 1918, 1919, 1922, 1932 & 1939. This morning I glanced through the oldest of these, the 1910 edition. It gives one a rare glimpse of Massachusetts 95 years ago. The structure of the book is very much like the one published today. Listings of judges, sheriffs, courthouses, clerks, District Attorneys etc can be found in the book. And of course there is a listing of the lawyers that were members of the Mass Bar Association in 191o. Interestingly enough, this group is divided into “Boston Attorneys” and “Attorneys from outside of Boston”. We are presently working on uploading the complete list of Lowell members to our webpage lowelldeeds.com. For now… I thought it might be interesting to mention some of the information listed in the old diary.

On the inside cover of this 1910 edition is an advertisement for the book…the Mass Lawyer’s Diary was available in three different styles 95 years ago…Full Russia for $2.50Leather Back with Cloth Sides for $2.00 and the “New” low priced edition Full Cloth for only $1.50.

The Governor of Massachussetts was Eben Draper of Hopedale, Lt Governor Louis Frothingham of Boston, Secretary of State was William Olins also of Boston, and the Attorney General Dana Malone of Greenfield.

Listed on page two is the official postage rate: in 1910 you could mail a first class letter for $.02.

The two US Senators from Massachusetts were Henry Cabot Lodge and W. Murray Crane. Lodge served for a total of 37 years as both a Congressman and Senator before leaving in 1924. You may remember that his son Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr also served as a US Senator for 15 years before being beaten by none other than John F Kennedy.

Massachusetts’ official holidays in 1910 as listed on page 5: Feb 22 (Washington’s Birthday); April 19(Patriot’s Day); May 30(Memorial Day); July 4;
September 5(Labor Day), Thanksgiving, & Dec 25.

The Congressman from the fifth Congressional district was Bulter Ames of Lowell. Butler Ames was the son Tewksbsury’s Civil War General Adelbert Ames and the grandson of Lowell’s famous Benjamin Butler. Butler Ames served in Congress from 1903-1913.

The Middlsex North Register of Deeds was William Purcell. Purcell was elected in 1909 and served for 25 years until 1934 when he died in office. In one of his re-election ads (not in the diary) he boasts that he “Complied a consolidated classified index of attachments” (computers do that now).

It’s not the “On The Road” scroll, but the 1910 edition of the Massachusetts Lawyer’s Diary is very interesting …especially… if you are a local history junky. If you get a chance drop by Customer Service and we will be happy to let you take a look at it.

E-Recording Glitch

by @ 3:29 pm. Filed under E-Recording

The wisdom of our long test period with electronic recording was made evident yesterday when a significant problem arose for the first time. We had agreed to increase the volume of submissions to evaluate how the system (and we) handled it. With the system already busier than usual with the predictable last day of the month up tick in recording volume, we received 82 separate electronic recordings all at once. Fortunately they were all mortgage discharges so the indexing data we had to verify was not particularly complex, and each document consisted of only a single image. The problem occurred with the 21st document. Each document was a separate “payload” so they were being recorded individually (remember, a “payload” is a group of related documents, much like a “set” is with walk-in recordings). This 21st document was all in order, but when we clicked to put it on record, the computer generated an error message that indicated that the work station we were using had lost contact with the database on the main server in mid-recording. The transaction was issued an instrument number, all indexing info was present in our database, and the correct fee was charged, but there was no image – it had evaporated. Of course, the obvious risk with electronic recording is that there’s no paper document to fall back on; all you have is that electronic image and now we didn’t even have that. Unfortunately, none of us had contemplated this exact problem. We had experienced computer problems previously, but they would simply bounce the recording back to the customer. This was different – the document was recorded but suddenly there was no document. So we’ve put a halt to electronic recording for now until we develop a standard procedure to follow in the case of a damaged or missing electronic document. We’ll share this procedure with you and make an announcement here once we have resumed electronic recording.

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