(508) 362-7733 info@barnstabledeeds.org

About the Registry of Deeds


The Registry of Deeds handles all property records for Barnstable County, serving all 15 towns on Cape Cod.  We are located in the Deeds & Probate Building in the Barnstable County Complex, located at 3195 Main St. (Route 6A) in Barnstable Village.




The Registry of Deeds is an office of Record where the public may register deeds, mortgages and other land records.  Copies of these records and others such as easements, mortgage discharges, liens and plans of land, many of them dating back to the early days of the colonies, are to be found at the Registry.  These documents affect the legal or financial status of real property with the County of Barnstable.


At the Registry it is possible to determine property ownership, to research land titles and to acquire copies of recorded documents and plans.  Towns’ Boards of Assessors depend on the Registry to furnish them with Copies of all property transfers and related matters to enable them to keep municipal ownership records up to date.


The Registry provides a permanent public record of the title to property. In doing so, it places the public legally on notice as to that title, and thereby provides permanent protection for the rights of ownership.


An essential step in the current recording process is that of electronically scanning all documents, instruments and plans.  Multiple layers of backups are created in different media formats with offsite underground storage for long-term archival security.


The Registry of Deeds is a county office operated under the supervision of the Register of Deeds who is an elected county official.  By virtue of his office, the Register of Deeds is also an Assistant Recorder of the Massachusetts Land Court.  All transactions recorded in the land court section of the Registry deal with registered land, the title to which is insured by the Commonwealth.



John F. Meade
Register of Deeds

Mr. Meade is the elected Register of Deeds and has held the position since 1989. He is an attorney licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Prior to assuming the office of Register, Mr. Meade maintained a successful law practice in the town of Falmouth. Mr. Meade received his B.A. from Bates College in Maine and his law degree from Emory University Law School in Atlanta Georgia. He is the former President of the Massachusetts Registers and Assistant Registers of Deeds Association and a member of the Barnstable County Bar Association.



David B. Murphy
Assistant Register of Deeds

Mr. Murphy has been the appointed Assistant Register of Deeds since 1998. An attorney licensed to practice in the Commonwealth, he holds a Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School, an L.L.M in Taxation from Boston University Law School and received his B.A. from Providence College. Prior to becoming Assistant Register, Mr. Murphy worked with Maurice H. Sullivan Jr., P.C. in Brighton.




Of more than passing interest is the historic court house fire which destroyed the original Registry of Deeds.  The history of deeds recorded in Barnstable County dates back to 1686. (Prior to that time the land records were recorded in Plymouth County).  By the year 1827 ninety-four volumes of land records had been recorded at the Barnstable Registry.  On October 27, 1827, a disastrous fire destroyed the Court building which housed the Registry of Deeds.  All but one the ninety-four volumes of land records then in existence were lost in the blaze.  Even though many of the instruments were subsequently re-recorded, the effect of this loss is being felt to this day.