The title "Register of Deeds" might imply that our main function is to record deeds. But did you know there are over 200 types of documents that we record? It is interesting that in many parts of the USA we are more accurately called "County Recorders." In Michigan, the County Register of Deeds is a state constitutionally elected officer with duties prescribed by law. Because our duties are set by state statute, it is very important that the Register stay educated in all legislation that affect the office and duties. The Register is the official recording officer for any legal document pertaining to the transfer or encumbrance of all real property within Midland County. Land records in Midland County date back to 1855 and are all securely kept in our vault which is open to the public during business hours. We also keep a complete history of all Land Corners surveyed and recorded in our county. Ultimately, it is our duty to record and permanently secure all these records in a safe and researchable system.
The Register of Deeds is also the Chair of the County Plat Board, whose job it is to oversee the subdivision of land within Midland County. Before any newly developed plat of land is sent to the State of Michigan for final approval, it must come before the County Plat Board. As Chair, I must be familiar with the process and regulations for submission that the Michigan Dept. of Labor & Economic Growth require. My goal is to help land developers by making the approval process more streamlined and successful because that means good growth for our county.
Many other County departments, such as, the Treasurer’s office, Equalization, GIS, and the Housing and Planning Departments depend on our land records as a basis for their respective responsibilities. The city and township assessors receive copies of all our deeds to assist them with tax roll changes. Private businesses such as title companies, real estate firms, lending institutions and others also use our records as an invaluable reference to what they need to accomplish.
Maintaining an accurate index system is crucial as it is used to prove a chain of title or property ownership. We use a Grantor-Grantee index, which simply means we index our records by name. Abstract companies use a tract index, which keeps a history by property description. We maintain a user-oriented index system capable of retrieving any of the several million documents that have been recorded here since then. Anyone can view or purchase a copy of any document recorded in our office as they are all public record. By Michigan State statute MCL 600.2567 (1)(b) all copies of our official records are to be sold at $1.00/page. The Midland County Register of Deeds office is open Monday – Friday from 8 to 5, and we can be reached at 989-832-6820. If you want to know more, or are interested in learning how to use our records, just come in or give us a call, and any member of our excellent staff will be glad to answer your questions and help you get started!