The latest on real estate recordings and new technology from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell
Historically, registry of deeds records have been indexed primarily by the name of the human beings involved in the transaction memorialized in each document. Only recently – within the past dozen years – have property addresses treated as an important item to be added to our index. Once you move beyond the traditional title search, however, and look at how most people could best utilize our records, you would have to conclude that an address based system would be more useful. If someone is interested in a particular property, they are more likely to know that property’s location than they are the name of the current or past owner. To better meet this need, we have started work on an address-based system of finding registry documents that will run outside of and in addition to our current land records system. This new application as we envision it will allow you to find the most recent deed to a property by selecting that property’s address. That deed, in turn, will be connected to the other deeds in the chain of title going back in time. Currently, those types of connections do not exist within our database – that’s what title examiners get paid to do – but we’ve decided to have the registry staff begin working on this and make their product available to the public. Besides linking together all the deeds that represent the ownership history of a particular parcel, this new application will also have direct links the maps, photographs and land usage data help by Mass GIS, the state’s mapping agency. Once this is up and running, a single click of your mouse will bring you from the property deed to a parcel map and then to an overhead photograph. Eventually, we will add links to the assessor’s office and perhaps even a comment feature that will allow members of the public to add their own information about particular properties. We’ve been thinking about this for many months but now we’re about to start turning it into a tangible program. It’s deployment is still months away, but we’ll keep everyone apprised of our progress with frequent blog entries on this topic.
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