Register of Deeds O’Donnell Named 2017 Register of the Year

Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell was recently named the 2017 Register of the Year by the Massachusetts County Registers of Deeds Association.


Commenting on the honor, O’Donnell stated, “I am truly humbled to receive this award, and I accept it on behalf of all the employees who work here at the Registry. We understand our mission and our roles when it comes to public service.”


The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is the depository of more than 6 million land records, dating back to 1793. It annually handles and documents hundreds of thousands of real estate transactions, including deeds, mortgage discharges, homesteads, liens, etc.


In 2017, the Registry among its various accomplishments, reached 3 notable milestones:


  • The completion of its “History Comes Alive Transcription Project,” where land documents from the period of 1793-1900 transcribed by scriveners in the old cursive style of writing were converted into easy-to-read text documents. The project earned the praise of two-time Pulitzer Prize Historian David McCullough. Norfolk County was the first registry of deeds in New England to perform such a project.

  • Another completed initiative was the indexing – for easier customer research – of all land records dating back to 1793 which is the year Norfolk County was founded.

  • In April 2017 Norfolk County became the first registry of deeds in Massachusetts to record registered land (Land Court) documents electronically. This initiative came about from the passage of legislation spearheaded by Register O’Donnell and Plymouth County Register of Deeds John Buckley to modernize operations in the Land Court which was signed into law by Governor Baker last January.


“These 3 major projects amply demonstrate how blending history with modern technology makes resources more accessible to all of us when it comes to offering documents,  programs and services,” noted Register O’Donnell. The Register also noted that the Registry is quite proud of its extensive outreach programs, including its annual “office hours” visits to each one of the county’s 28 cities and towns.”


“In conclusion,” stated Register O’Donnell, “for 224 years, the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds has been serving the real estate needs of Norfolk County residents. At the Registry of Deeds we pride ourselves on striving to run a sound customer service orientated operation. We are grateful for the recognition.”


To learn more about these and other Registry of Deeds events and initiatives, like us at facebook/com/NorfolkDeeds or follow us on and


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.