Suffolk County, Massachusetts deeds can be a challenge because they are spread across three different locations in Boston. Only two of the locations have indexes so preparing ahead of time is critical. Luckily, many of the deeds are online so you can start your search without leaving your computer.
Suffolk County deeds are available from the Suffolk County Registry of Deeds website and also from Masslandrecords.com. In fact, when you click on the Registry of Deeds document search it will forward you to this second site.
Deeds are indexed by surname back to 1975. Start with the Name Search under Recorded Land. If you don’t find the name you are looking for there, then do the Name Search under Registered Land. Remember this index only goes back to 1975.
Instead of a Name Search, you can select Book Search and do a search by book and page number. Now here’s where things start to get a bit confusing. This particular search is only for the indexed deeds, so in essence you can go back to 1975 by Book Search.
The Good News
The good news is that the deed books are actually digitized all the way back to 1893. Said another way, you can find books 2171 to the present online. (This will change as more books are digitized.)
So where are the rest of the Deeds Hiding?
In order to access the rest of the images you must select the search criteria called Unindexed Property Search. Within this option you can search by book and page number. You must use an index, either in book form or on microfilm, if you don’t already have a book and page number.
Viewing Your Deed
After entering your book and page number you will see a random link below called unindexed documents with the book and page number also hyperlinked off to the right. Click on any of the links (unindexed documents, book, page) and a window will pop up with the digital image of the deed page.
Printing and Saving the Deed
At this point you can either save the deed (by right clicking and choosing save image as) as an image in gif format or you can print the deed by using the print document link in the upper right corner of the page. Consider yourself very lucky! A number of other Massachusetts Registries will not allow you to save or print deeds for free.
Let me know if you have any questions.
In Suffolk County, Massachusetts – Part 2, Deeds Books, I will explain how to find the deed books and grantor and grantee index books.