​The office of Register of Deeds originated in the 1600s – the earliest days of North Carolina. In an effort to attract more people to the region, Lords Proprietors offered individuals grants of land. Written rules were established to offer protection to the new landowners, and registers of deeds were appointed to record the land grants.

Wake County was established by the General Assembly in 1771, and today the county is 549,000 acres, or 860 square miles. From east to west, it measures 46 miles. From north to south, it measures 39 miles.

Wake County’s Register of Deeds office is the custodian of documents recorded from 1785 to the present day. The office processes about 230,000 documents each year. It records real estate documents, births and deaths. The office also issues marriage licenses, certified birth and death certificates, and other documents.

The Register of Deeds staff is composed of Register of Deeds Laura M. Riddick, one Deputy Register of Deeds, 35 Registers of Deeds Technicians and an IT staff of three.

Here are some of the people who have served as Wake County Register of Deeds.

REGISTER OF DEEDS​ Years​
James Hinton unknown
Willis Hinton 1799-1806
William Hill 1806-1807
Richard Smith 1807-1847
Hinton Hudson 1847-1863
J. A. Moore 1863-1866
C. M. Busber 1866-1867
G. W. Taylor 1867-1868
W. W. White 1868-1883
M. W. Page 1883-1886
J. P. H. Adams 1886-1890
S. M. Dunn 1890-1891
Millard Mial 1891-1894
Joseph J. Rogers 1894-1898
W. H. Hood 1898-1901
J. J. Bernard 1901-1910
C. H. Anderson 1910-1914
Arch J. Wood 1914-1918
W. H. Penny 1918-1927
Hunter Ellington 1927-1953
W. F. Booker 1953-1964
J. A. Rowland 1964-1975
R. B. Mckenzie 1975-1983
Kenneth Wilkins 1983-1996
Laura M. Riddick 1996- present
 

 

Sources: “North Carolina Guidebook for Registers of Deeds” by Charles Szypszak; Wake County Register of Deeds; WakeGov.com
 
Click here to read more about our first recorded document.