Document Search

Document searches may be conducted by any member of the general public to establish a chain of ownership of a parcel of real property. This is done to establish ingress and egress rights, oil, gas and mineral rights, or easements or restrictions affecting the parcel. Title companies can be retained to conduct the research, or a private party may do the work.  Recording office staff members are not permitted to conduct real estate searches.

Search results display a code for the document type, a list is available with the document code and their definition.

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Tips For Searching Recorded Documents

It may be easiest to begin with the current owner and then search for previous, historical owners of the property starting with the date of the latest filing (deed). This is best accomplished by locating the present owner’s deed and then identifying the seller listed on the deed (the previous owner). Repeat this same process of finding the last, previous owner in order to identify all of the historical transactions for the property until you find the original patent or deed. You can also use the opposite process by starting with the patent and then tracing ownership forward. This process can take a great deal of time and patience.

Each deed is recorded in the Grantor and Grantee indices according to the date it was recorded (which is not necessarily the date the deed was issued or signed).

Once you have established a “chain of title” or ownership, you must search the owner(s) name in the Grantor index. Any deeds transferring easements, mineral rights, etc., should be notated. You should view a photocopy of the deed for specific details. While indexing information is found on our website, the image is not. You must visit our office to view images.

A shortcut for easements or right-of-ways is to check the last warranty deed for any reference to these or other restrictions. Most deeds list restrictions as “except easements, covenants or other restrictions of record”, which means you have to conduct a search to discover what, if any, are recorded.

Additionally, if the property is in a subdivision (duly platted and recorded), easements may be shown on the plat copy in our office. This does not apply to property not subdivided.

Please remember that our records are not cumulative, but rather chronological; and that an easement or right-of-way may have been granted at any time by any of the previous owners.

A sample “chain of title” is shown below:

Date of Sale Buyer Seller
03/26/1998 Grey, Maxell (current owner)
07/14/1979 Grey, Maxwell Brown, Harriet
05/30/1962 Brown, Harriet Tom & Mary Hill
09/14/1925 Hill, Tom & Mary Foxglove, Rupert
01/01/1882 Foxglove, Rupert United States of America

Now that you know the names of all of the owners and the time periods which they owned the property (Tom & Mary Hill, Sept. 14, 1925 to May 30, 1962), you are ready to search the “Grantor” indices, looking for any easements, covenants, etc., which they may have “granted” while they owned the property.