Santa Cruz County Recorder
Sean Saldavia, County Recorder

Historical Background

On September 9, 1850 California was admitted as a state and one of the first acts of the legislature was to adopt a recording system. Under the Spanish and Mexican governments there were no statewide registry or recording laws, so it was necessary that some device be created by which evidence of title to, or an interest in land could be collected in a convenient and safe public place. The system allows persons intending to purchase or otherwise deal with land to be informed as to the ownership and condition of the title, and be protected from secret conveyances and liens.

The basis of the California recording system is modeled after the recording system established by the American Colonies and in use in many of the eastern states at the time California became a state. This system provided for the indexing of the names of parties to the document in volumes and the copying of the actual document into separate volumes. This copying was done first by hand and in later years by typing, photostat and then by filming. Separate sets of indexes and volumes were provided for each type of document. Government Codes 27232 through 27254 presently list 21 different types of indexes (indices) that the Recorder shall provide. This system of indexing became cumbersome as the volume of recorded documents grew and in 1921 the legislature provided that a combined General Index could be used by the Recorder to index all types of documents.

Today, recorded documents are imaged and microfilmed as a permanent record and the original document is returned to the customer after filming. Filed documents are retained for a specified length of time, or kept permanently, as in the case of maps. All records are indexed by the names of the principal parties to the document and by the year recorded. The records are open for public inspection and copies may be purchased at this office.


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