The County Recorder provides protection and public notice by recording, indexing, maintaining and displaying records of legal documents that affect real estate or personal property and issues land title certificates. Property in St. Louis County is classified as two types of title, Abstract or Torrens.
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.
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, Chief Deputy Recorder.
Access to indexes, documents and certificates of title is available by paid subscription. For more information, click on "Online Contract" in the Related Topics column.