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Register O’Donnell Discusses Online Research Capability for Genealogy and History Enthusiasts

Oct 29, 2020 06:00AM ● By Pamela Johnson

Register of Deeds William P. O'Donnell

Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reminds genealogy enthusiasts and those with an interest in the rich history of Norfolk County that all Registry handwritten land documents have been transcribed and are available for viewing via our website,

Register O’Donnell noted, “Since the beginnings of the Covid-19 pandemic back in mid-March of this year, many have had to stay close to home. Certainly, freedom of movement has been curtailed for individuals and families who have a concern about contracting the coronavirus. Many have spent hours online catching up with family and friends via social media. If you are looking for something new to do and have always been curious about your family history or local history, the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds can be a valuable source of relevant information via its online research offerings.


“A few years back, the Registry and its vendor completed a project which transcribed all our hand-written land documents dating from 1793 to 1900. Prior to this effort, these hand-written documents were in many cases difficult to nearly impossible to read. With the transcription project completed, our over 8 million land documents can be accessed for viewing from the comfort of your home via our website,


It should be noted that while the transcribers made a best effort to translate these hard- to-read documents, their accuracy is not guaranteed. “These transcribed documents,” noted O’Donnell, “are not legal documents in and of themselves and are not considered binding on the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds or its employees. They are considered merely a convenient reference for Registry users. For documentation purposes, users should refer to the scanned image of the original document instead of the transcribed image.”


Concluding his remarks, Register O’Donnell noted, “While the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds building in Dedham remains closed to the general public due to the COVID-19 state of emergency, our online research offerings remain a viable way for genealogists and history buffs to perform research from the comfort of their homes. Please know that as your Register of Deeds, I continue to take very seriously my core responsibility to be the custodian of land document information in Norfolk County. I and the Registry staff strive each and every day to ensure the accuracy and accessibility of these land documents. I am proud that future generations will be able to access these land documents and read the transcribed images with the ongoing goal of ensuring a correct record of land documents here in Norfolk County.”


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




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