Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) System Illinois State Archives


The office of county recorder was created by the General Assembly in 1819. Recorders were charged with recording and filing all real estate deeds submitted to them, and with keeping a chronological entry book which listed them. Recorders were appointed by the governor from 1819 to 1835, elected to four-year terms from 1835 to 1845, and elected to two-year terms from 1845 to 1848.1 In 1847, recorders were required to keep indexes to real estate grantors and grantees.2

The Constitution of 1848 abolished the office of county recorder; their duties were transferred to the clerks of the circuit courts, who were elected to four-year terms.3 The Constitution of 1870 restored the office in counties with populations of 60,000 or more. The new position was elective, with a four-year term.4

The duties of the county recorder were codified by the Illinois Revised Statutes of 1874. Recorders were required to keep deed records, indexes to their books of record, files of maps and plats, and, at the discretion of the county board, abstracts of title of each tract in the county.5 In 1903, recorders and circuit clerks were authorized, if they had up-to-date abstracts of title, to sell them to the public.6 In 1919, recorders were required to keep records of all honorable discharges of veterans then living in the county.7

In 1925, recorders of counties with populations of 500,000 or more were permitted to reproduce documents photographically or photostatically rather than copy them by hand.8 Citizens were permitted to file chattel mortgages in the recorder's office without having them copied, and the recorder's books were required to be open to the public.9 In 1963, county clerks became ex officio recorders in counties with populations below 60,000, and circuit clerks ceased to be recorders. That same year, recorders were charged with keeping a separate index of the owners of all tracts of land in the county subject to legal action or condemnation, to facilitate title research.l0

Record Descriptions

1L. 1819, p. 18; L. 1835, p. 165; L. 1845, p. 28.
2L. 1847, p. 69.
3Constitution of 1848, Article V, section 19; L. 1849, p. 64.
4Constitution of 1870, Article X, section 8; L. 1871-72, p. 645.
5Rev. Stat. 1874, p. 833.
6L. 1903, p. 291.
7L. 1919, p. 404.
8L. 1925, p. 521.
9L. 1933-34, Third Special Session, p. 214.
10L. 1963, pp. 2695, 2698.