Register O’Donnell Guest Speaker at Canton Public Library

Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell appeared January 28th as guest speaker at the Canton Public Library. O’Donnell gave an  overview of the Registry,  the principal office for providing real property information in Norfolk County.


O’Donnell also spent time talking about various consumer issues. A point of emphasis was the advantages of having a Homestead recorded against a homeowners primary residence. “A Homestead,” noted the Register, “provides limited protection against the forced sale of a homeowner’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000. A Homestead application can be obtained by going to our Registry’s website at,


O’Donnell also spoke about the importance of ensuring a mortgage discharge is recorded once a mortgage has been paid off. “A discharge is a document (typically one page) issued by the lender, usually with a title such as ‘Discharge of Mortgage’ or ‘Satisfaction of a Mortgage Discharge’. This document is sometimes filed directly by banks or settlement attorneys with the Registry of Deeds as a result of a property sale or a refinancing transaction. In other cases, a mortgage discharge is sent directly by the lending institution to the property owner who then is responsible for making sure the document is recorded with us. Either way, when a mortgage is paid off, a mortgage discharge document needs to be recorded at the Registry to clear title,” noted O’Donnell. 


Register O’Donnell also touched on the rich history of Norfolk County. “All of the Registry’s land documents, dating back to its beginnings in 1793, are available for viewing online via our website Included in these records are information on the birthplaces of four United States Presidents, John Adams (Quincy), John Quincy Adams (Quincy), John F. Kennedy (Milton) and George H.W. Bush (Milton). These and other land document records are a valuable resource for those interested in history. Genealogists can also access our records to research their family history. To further help those performing research, we have completed a project that transcribed hard to read cursive land documents recorded between 1793 and 1900. By completing this project, we have truly been able to make our records more accessible and make the great history of Norfolk County come alive,” stated the Register.


In conclusion, Register O’Donnell stated, “I first want to thank those attended the outreach event. They asked great questions and their attendance was greatly appreciated. I also want to thank Andrea Capone, Library Director and Carolyn Elkort, Outreach Librarian for allowing us to speak at the library. They, and all the Canton Public Library employees, do an outstanding job serving the residents of Canton.”


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The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is located at 649 High Street in Dedham. The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information. All land record research information can be found on the Registry’s website Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center via telephone at (781) 461-6101 or email us at [email protected].




The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds will be closed on Thursday, July 4th in celebration of Independence Day. We are open Friday, July 5th.

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is closed Today, July 4th in celebration of Independence Day. We are open Friday, July 5th.