The practice of recording real estate documents is based on law in England which traveled to the New World with the colonists. Public land registrars were appointed in colonial America to keep accurate records. A system of registration was necessary to prove the rights of persons who first made claims to property.
In 1787 the Northwest Territory was formed, encompassing all lands north and west of the Ohio River. A Recorder’s office was established in each county. Ohio became a state in 1803 and although the state constitution did not provide for a Recorder’s office, the first state legislature mandated that a Recorder be appointed in each county by the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas. In 1829 the Recorder’s office became an elective position and in 1936 the term was established at four years. Patti Rockey is the current Recorder, her term began in 2013. Prior to that she was the Williams County Records Center Director.
Today the County Recorder’s Office keeps and maintains accurate land records that are current, legible and easily accessible. An important aspect of the Recorder’s work is to index each document so it may be readily located. Accurate indexing makes it possible for persons searching land records to find the documents necessary to establish a “chain of title” (history of ownership) and ensures that any debts or encumbrances against the property are evident. These invaluable records are utilized by the general public, attorneys, historians, genealogists and land title examiners.
The Ohio Recorders’ Association was founded in 1927 and remains a vital organization to the present day. Membership is made up of Ohio’s eighty-eight County Recorders and their deputy recorders. The objective of the Ohio Recorders’ Association is to educate its members so that Recorders and their employees may better serve the citizens of their counties. To this end, the association sponsors continuing education seminars on topics such as current legislation, office procedures, personnel management and constituent issues.
The association encourages the development of legislation to enhance the work and efficiency of Recorders’ offices and to respond to modern technological changes. Association meetings provide the opportunity for Recorders to exchange ideas, review statewide recording procedures, and promote legislation in the best interest of the citizens of Ohio.
Additionally the Records Center of Williams County is managed by the Recorder’s Office. Williams County Records Center is the primary repository for county records, both public and confidential. Records preserved and maintained by the Records Center are the institutional memory of Williams County. The Records Center streamlines costs, facilitates evidentiary value, and ensures that citizens will enjoy the protection and use of their records for centuries to come.