“Advanced” – To the far right of the search boxes at the top of the screen is the “Advanced” button. Click this to display additional search boxes such as town, document type and date range to further refine your search.
Registered Land – Most property records in Massachusetts are “Recorded Land.” However, about 10% of all property is “Registered Land.” Registered Land falls under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Land Court. While Registered Land documents are kept at the registry of deeds, they are stored in a separate database. If you are unable to find a document, be sure to also search in the Registered Land database (see “search criteria” above). To determine if property is Registered Land, look in the property description section of a document. If you see a reference to a Certificate of Title, then it’s most likely Registered Land.
“Basket” - Once you have displayed a document image, you can also print it. Because every computer/printer/software combination is different, it is sometimes better to download the document to your computer and then to print it. (Downloading also allows you to email the document image). Use the Basket function to download a document. With the document displayed, click “Add to Basket” which is to the top right of the document images. From the box that appears, select “Add [all] pages” and click “next.” On the upper menu bar, click “Basket” and then check the box next to the document you want to download. Click “download PDF” and wait for the download process to complete. Once the document file has been downloaded, you can open, print, email or save.
Hints - The primary method of indexing documents is by owner name, not by address. Most liens are against all the property owned by the debtor so they do not specify and address; restricting a search to records from a particular town will exclude many relevant liens. If you can’t find a record, look in Registered Land. The best way to find a recorded subdivision plan is to find its plan book/plan number from the property description portion of another document and then retrieve the plan by its plan book number. Plot plans do not get recorded.
Coverage – All documents from 1629 to the present are available online. Documents from 1950 to the present can be retrieved with “Book search”, from 1855 to 1950 with “Unindexed property search” and before 1855 with “pre-1855 document search”