Barnstable Registry of Deeds

Barnstable Registry of Deeds

The Barnstable Registry of Deeds is the place to go for most public records and documents – property rights, estate listings and other property-focused materials. Barnstable County itself was founded in 1685, and the Barnstable Registry of Deeds covers two of those three centuries worth of property ownership history across the Cape’s 15 towns.

Though the material itself can be dry, the value in protecting and managing this resource is invaluable. Few places in the United States can lay claim to comprehensive property history dating back to pre-American Revolution times. Likewise, it isn’t often you’ll find an establishment that serves the public in virtually the same purpose and method as it did in the 18th century.

Where is the Barnstable Registry of Deeds Located?

On the GPS, enter 3195 Main Street/Route 6A, Barnstable, MA. to get there. The Barnstable Registry of Deeds is located directly across from Nirvana Coffee and The Barnstable Restaurant and Tavern. It’s a quick drive off exit 6 from the Mid-Cape Highway.

Hours of Operation

The Barnstable Registry of Deeds is open for recording from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. For research purposes, those hours are extended from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Services Offered

Unlike many other states, registries of deeds in Massachusetts can only deal with titles to real property. Any dealings in other aspects of property ownership – such as building type and size, taxes and zoning – are governed by the jurisdiction of the municipality, or town, where the property is located.

That said, the Barnstable Registry of Deeds offers developers, land owners and buyers, the press, and researchers of all kinds access to hundreds of years of materials which ultimately tell the developmental and societal history of Cape Cod. Copies of deeds can be purchased for a $3 fee in-person or online.

With the exclusion of a couple of large or especially fragile items, all of the records kept at the Barnstable Registry of Deeds are available for public review, both in-person and on their website.

While open access to these pieces of history is a right all are entitled to, not everyone will be able to understand exactly how to search for specific information. The state’s general laws mandate that the documents are indexed using a name-based system that only those who have experience will grasp. So it’s generally advisable to have an attorney or experienced title examiner at your side to make heads or tails of the documents.

The Barnstable Registry does provide an address-based search option but this will not necessarily lead users to the most current material.

In essence, filing a document of property ownership authenticates the title one claims over the property and allows for those interested in it to check its status. All documents for submittal must meet state guidelines as far as language is concerned, and Registry staff is legally prohibited from offering advice on that. Anyone who works at the Registry is simply a “librarian,” tasked with the correct filing and retrieval of the documents. A filing fee will apply to every submission.

After completely paying off a mortgage, one must submit the “Discharge of Mortgage” document to the Registry of Deeds in order to clear the property title of the mortgage.

History of the Barnstable Registry of Deeds

Property records at the Barnstable Registry of Deeds go back to the year 1704, and Land Court documents date as old as 1898. On October 27th, 1827, a fire took down the court building and then Registry of Deeds, destroying all volumes of records except for one. The surviving record dates back to around 1806.


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