LAND & PROPERTYReal Estate RecordingAbstract and Torrens Property   
Abstract and Torrens Property

Abstract Title property is the most common form of title found in the United States. An Abstract of Title is a history of the recorded title to a particular tract of land. It is a document which consists of a summary of material parts of every recorded instrument affecting the title. It begins with a legal description of land covered by the abstract, and then shows the original patent and all subsequent recorded documents. In St. Louis County, approximately two-thirds of documents recorded are Abstract Title Property.

Torrens Title property is property in which the title is under the supervision of the District Court. Under the supervision of the Court, the Registrar of Titles issues an owner’s copy of the Certificate of Title which is delivered to the parties submitting documents for recording. Torrens title property is legally separate and distinct from title to Abstract property. Approximately one-third of documents filed in St. Louis County are Torrens Title. To read more about the history of the Torrens system, click here

To learn if the property is Abstract or Torrens property, email your legal description found on your property tax statement to

Methods of indexing and maintaining documents have advanced with the advent of computerized record-keeping and internet access.  To learn more about this process, click here to read a report by Cathy Racek, former Chief Deputy Recorder.


View a list of Abstract Document numbers and Torrens document numbers by year.
View a list of County Recorder’s.
View a chart of total documents recorded by year.
View a chart of the total number of mortgages and deeds by year.