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Since 20 September, 1750, until the present day, the Recorder of Deeds has maintained a permanent public record of deeds and documents related to the development, transfer, and encumbrance of real estate in Cumberland County.
In the early days of the office other forms of property - cattle, horses, slaves - had their sale recorded here as well. Happily, though, Deed Book IL (1794-1796) contains several manumissions of slaves. Unscathed by the courthouse fire of 1845 and securely hidden during the Confederate invasion of 1863, the records provide a unique vista on the people who have made Cumberland County what it is. From agreements between neighbors to the official commissions of judges, all are here and on view to the public. Until the early 1970s non-profit corporations - churches, college fraternities, lodges - received their charters from the county's Court of Common Pleas, and those charters have been recorded here. Prior to 1929 all records were copied by hand into canvas-bound books; today all documents are copied by machine. All records are divided into three categories: Deeds, Mortgages, and Miscellaneous. Separate index books for each category were made until December, 1993, when indexing became computerized. As the office enters its fourth century, the Recorder of Deeds continues to seek ways to make its ancient service adapt to the times.