History of the Office of County Recorder

The office of the county recorder was created by the first Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Iowa in 1839, but similar offices had existed previously in the territories to which Iowa had been attached. Yet, in spite of this long history, the basic duty of the county recorder is much the same today as it was then: to maintain official records of documents affecting title to real estate in order to preserve property rights and protects innocent third parties in real estate transactions.

Although this basic duty remains relatively unchanged, responsibilities have grown exponentially over the years. The recorder now records or retains on file a wide variety of important documents, handles vital records, and issues several types of permits and licenses. Some of these duties are defined in statutes, and others are established by state agencies through administrative actions. Finally, the county recorder, as an elected county official, shares the duties and responsibilities common to all such public officials.

The County Recorder’s office is at the heart of the courthouse function to serve you. A significant portion of duties performed by other county officials is dependent on the work performed by your County Recorder. Every parcel, building, and piece of property in the county is represented in a recorded document that our office has recorded. These documents are a symbol of the widespread process that is foundational to our economy. We protect and we preserve those documents for future generations.