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Massachusetts Deed History

Massachusetts was first colonized in the early part of the 17th century, and became the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the 18th century. In 1780, the commonwealth became the 6th state to formally adapt the constitution of the United States.

There are 14 counties in Massachusetts. Three of the counties were formed in 1643 and were the original colonies created in Massachusetts Bay Colony. The three original counties are Essex, Middlesex, and Suffolk. Another county, old Norfolk County was also created in Massachusetts Bay Colony, but most of this county was absorbed by New Hampshire in 1680.

The first permanent English settlement in America was in 1620 when the pilgrims founded Plymouth Colony. Conveyances for Plymouth Colony started in 1627, but other Colony records date back to 1623. The first deeds in Plymouth Colony were probably recorded by Governor William Bradford, who was the second governor of Plymouth Colony. An important piece of Plymouth County history regarding land transactions occurred in the 1623 Division of Land, which was recorded by William Bradford. In the Division of Land, each colonist, man, woman, and child was entitled to one acre.

In 1650, the General Court of Massachusetts transferred the recording office from the General Court, which was at the colony level, to the county court. The first act relating to county affairs passed in 1685, which established the office of the county recorder. After the county courts had been established, Samuel Sprague served as the first county recorder in Plymouth.