**CoVid-19 update: The Recorder's office will be open to the public beginning August 3, 2020. Masks are required. Use the Avenue H entrance for Fort Madison and the Blondeau entrance for Keokuk. Guards will take temperatures and monitor the number of people allowed in the building at one time. For searching land records or genealogy research please call the office to schedule a time due to limited space.
The Office of the County Recorder was created by the First Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Iowa in 1839. The basic duty of the county Recorder then and now is to maintain official records of documents affecting title to real estate in order to preserve property rights in real estate transactions. Every real estate transaction that takes place in the county starts in the Recorder’s office.
The County Recorder is responsible for land and records management, maintaining and recording a wide variety of official documents affecting real estate and numerous other valuable miscellaneous documents. The office collects real estate transfer tax for the Iowa Department of Revenue and collects and reports the County Auditor's fee on transfer of property.
The Recorder’s office serves as licensing agent for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for registering and titling boats, snow mobiles and ATVs. They no longer issue hunting and fishing permits.
As of July, 1997 the Recorder's office is the County Registrar of Vital Records and has the responsibility of issuing Marriage Licenses, registering Birth, Death and Marriage Certificates and issuing certified copies of Vital Records.
The Recorder's duties are defined by state statutes and established by state agencies through administrative actions. The County Recorder works with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Revenue, and the Iowa Department of Public Health. Detailed reports are filed monthly and annually to the county and to the state agencies.