Two hundred and twenty-five (225) years ago John Hancock as Governor of Massachusetts signed legislation on March 26, 1793 that established Norfolk County on June 20, 1793. For those of us who live in Norfolk County this may have been the second most important document John Hancock, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, ever signed.
Norfolk County was carved out of 21 communities from Suffolk County in 1793. The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds dates back to the founding of Norfolk County in 1793. Back then it was a time when recorded land documents were written by hand in the old cursive penmanship style. The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is a treasure trove of history. There is a deed for Paul Revere’s purchase of Canton property noting one of the landmarks as “the small Elm Tree on the Southside of the East bank of Neponset River.” There are records involving John Adams, the second President of the United States and John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States. In another deed John Adams spoke about the contributions of his fellow patriot John Hancock to the founding of this great country, the United States of America that we live in. Four Presidents of the United States of America were born in Norfolk County leading it to be called “The County of Presidents.”
The rich history found at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds has come alive with our transcription project that has taken those hard to read cursive penmanship documents and converted them to an easy-to-read text format. Out of this transcription project came the idea of celebrating the two hundred and twenty-five (225) years of Norfolk County history. This book highlights land records of remarkable persons that have lived in the twenty-eight (28) communities that make up Norfolk County. I hope you enjoy learning about the contributions these women and men have made to the education, science, public service, military, medicine, law and other fields of prominence.
Much has changed in two and a quarter centuries at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds. The Registry operations have gone from days of scriveners with quill pens to the modern era of computers and advanced document imaging. No longer do people ride by horseback to the Registry of Deeds to review land documents. Now these records are brought into homes and businesses via computerized internet land record research. May the future of the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, Norfolk County and those that live here be as bright and hopeful as the past.
William P. O’Donnell
Norfolk County Register of Deeds