The County Line: More than land deeds in Recorder Janet Robert's office

Thursday, December 16, 2010
County Recorder Janet Robert looks through a deed index book at the County Office Building in Jackson on Monday, Dec. 13, 2010. (Kristin Eberts)

Cape Girardeau County Recorder of Deeds Janet Robert said while the office is responsible for recording all land records for the county, there is more to her office.

"We do beneficiary deeds for people who want to avoid probate court. We record subdivision plats, land surveys and issue marriage licenses," she said. "That is probably what most people associate with our office. We do about 600 to 700 marriage licenses a year."

The office is also responsible for filing and recording military discharge records and federal and state tax liens.

"It's kind of a variety of things. When you say recorder of deeds, you think of deeds, but there's a lot more," she said.

Of course land records do make up a large part of her office's role.

"We are in charge of all the land records for the county," Robert said "We record warranties, which are when people are buying or selling property, and deeds of trust. When they pay their property off there is something called a deed of release. We have all kinds of other land records that relate to that."

Records in the office date to 1805.

Robert, who took office in 1977, said the types of documents recorded in her office have increased drastically.

"When I first came there were about four or five kinds of land records. Now we have a list of probably 200 types of records that we do," she said.

In 33 years the technology has also changed the workings of the office.

"When I first came, we were indexing in books. Then they had gone to microfilm. We went from microfilm to computers and now to images," she said. "It's gone from pen and ink to digital images. That's a big change. If we were still writing in the books, you'd have to have an office 20 times what we have now and probably about 20 people to handle the volume we'd be doing."

While technology has made searches quicker for staff and the public, Robert said, the job still requires knowledge of the documents and the office's management systems.

The recorder's office generally makes enough revenue through fees to sustain itself and add money to the county's budget.

Robert will be leaving office Jan. 1 and will be replaced by Scott R. Clark.

The recorder of deeds office was created under Chapter 59 of Missouri Statute. The 2010 budget for the office was $319,965.

cbartholomew@semissurian.com

243-8600

Pertinent Address:

1 Barton Square, Jackson, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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