THE PRACTICE OF RECORDING real estate documents is based on law in England which traveled to the New World with the colonists. Public land registers were appointed in colonial America to keep accurate records. A system of registration was necessary to prove rights to persons who first made claims to property.
IN 1787 THE NORTHWEST TERRITORY was formed, encompassing all lands north and west of the Ohio River. A Recorder's office was established in each county. Ohio became a state in 1803 and although the state legislature mandated that a Recorder be appointed in each county by the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas. In 1829 the Recorder's office became an elective position and in 1936 the term was established at four years.
TODAY THE COUNTY RECORDER KEEPS AND MAINTAINS accurate land records that are current, legible and easily accessible. An important aspect of the Recorder's work is to index each document so it may be readily located. Accurate indexing makes it possible for persons searching land records to find the documents necessary to establish a "chain title" (history of ownership) and ensures that any debt or encumbrances against the property are evident. These invaluable records are utilized by the general public, attorneys, historians, genealogists and land title examiners.
On December 17, 1817, the Ohio government authorized the creation of Brown County. The county was originally parts of Adams and Clermont Counties. Brown County was named for General Jacob Brown, an American hero from the War of 1812. County residents, including John Rankin, played a major role in the abolitionist movement and Underground Railroad during the 1830s, 1840s, 1850s, and the 1860s. President Ulysses S. Grant also resided in Brown County during his youth. The Ohio History Connection maintains the Rankin House, Grant Boyhood Home and Grant Schoolhouse as historic sites in Brown County.
Brown County is located in southwestern Ohio, and its southern border resides upon the Ohio River. Brown County's 492 square miles are overwhelmingly rural, with just one-tenth of one percent of the county qualifying as urban area. The largest community in the county is Georgetown, the county seat, which had a population of 3,691 people in 2000. Despite the small urban population, unlike most rural Ohio counties, Brown County experienced tremendous growth between 1990 and 2000. Between 1995 and 2000, approximately twelve thousand people moved to Brown County, increasing the county's population to 42,285 residents.