Establishing a complete ‘chain of title’ in property research may hinge upon finding deeds that were never recorded or recorded at a later point in time. Unrecorded Deeds may be the ‘missing link’ in house history research. In the eighteenth and nineteenth century deeds were drawn up on large pieces of parchment known as an ‘indenture’. Deeds were then brought to the Courthouse and copied by scribes or clerks in large docket books typically within a few weeks after being drawn up. After the recording fees were paid the original deed was returned to the grantee or buyer. Due to the hardships of traveling to the Courthouse and paying recording fees some deeds were never recorded. Some deeds were recorded over a century after they were originally drawn up. Unrecorded deeds may have been kept with the house and recorded only after the new owner recorded their own deed.
Unrecorded Deeds that were later recorded remain indexed within this collection of the Lancaster County Archives. Unrecorded Deeds with a date in the recorded column can be found by searching the deed index available on the Recorder of Deeds website: www.lancasterdeeds.com, select ‘Online IQSInfodex’, and search the appropriate timeframe for grantee or grantor. *Some Unrecorded Deeds may not be photocopied due to their size or condition. Researchers should search the regular deeds and indexes atwww.lancasterdeeds.comprior to searching for Unrecorded Deeds.