Stephen J. Murphy

Register of Deeds

Suffolk Facts:


The Suffolk  Registry of Deeds, located at the Edward Brooke Court House 24 New Chardon Street, Boston, MA 02114 is responsible for recording all documents relative to real estate including deed, mortgages, releases, and liens in the cities and towns of Boston, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop. The Suffolk Registry has been recording deeds since the early 1600's. The Registry provides access to these documents for the purpose of checking ownership and to see if a title is clear (no liens against it) before the buyer purchases property or land. Documents are indexed in books by grantor and grantee, and assigned a unique book and page number.

Suffolk County encompasses an area of 57 square miles of which the City of Boston occupies 74% of the land area (42 square miles). The population of Suffolk County is approximately 671,000 of which 85% (575,000) reside within Boston. By area, Suffolk County is the second smallest county in Massachusetts (Nantucket County is approximately 43 square miles). In total volumes of recordings it ranks second (Middlesex County is first). The total number of recordings for the County in calendar year 1998 was 159,380 documents of which 16,799 were deeds of all types and 31,951 were mortgages. The total value of deeds for cash accepted by the Registry of Deeds in 1998 was $4,182,389,000.00 (Approximately 25% of all deeds recorded are for a nominal sum). Within Suffolk County there are 165,312 parcels of land which represents all Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Mixed Use and Exempt properties.

City Number of Parcels Percent of Total Parcels
Boston 137,596 83%
Chelsea 5,971 4%
Revere 16,383 10%
Winthrop 5,362 3%

The Registry is divided into Registered Land and Recorded Land because each has different legal requirements for processing the title, depending upon whether or not the real estate is registered under the Torrens system. Both are supervised by Executive Administration, which is composed of the elected Register Stephen J. Murphy, and his support staff.

[ Registered Land ]

In Registered Land title to property is guaranteed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and may be determined easily by a perusal of the Transfer Certificate of Title. Registered Land accounts for approximately 11% of all of the land in Suffolk County.

[ Recorded Land ]

The remaining 89% of the land in Suffolk County is unregistered land (Recorded Land). In most cases your best protection against title defects in the Recorded Land section is the purchase of private title insurance.


Copyright 1999 Suffolk  Registry of Deeds.;   All Rights Reserved.