NOTICE OF FEE CHANGE
Effective August 1, 2023 – If the PA state budget does not pass, the recording fees will be changed to adjust for a fee that cannot be charged due to its expiration. It applies to any document (deed, mortgage, assignment, satisfaction and others) that charges the JCS/ATJ fee of $40.25 will be reduced to $19.00. This will reduce recording fees for these documents by $21.25. It will remain this way until the state budget passes.
What is the JCS/ATJ fee?
The initials mean Judicial Computer System/Access to Justice. This is a Pennsylvania State fee that is collected on all appropriate documents recorded in our office. This fee was determined by Title 42 in the state legislation. Recorder of Deeds is not the only office that collects these fees.
MIDDLETOWN GRANGE FAIR 2023
August signifies many things, such as the end of the dog days of summer and back to school sales. Here in Bucks County though, it means the Middletown Grange Fair is back. Minus two years due to Covid-19, the Grange Fair has been held annually since 1948, and in its current location since 1967.
Located at 576 Penns Park Road in Wrightstown, the Middletown Grange Fair is a mix between farming, agriculture, and county fair. There are rides and games for all ages, along with typical fair food, like deep fried Oreos. But then there is the farming and agriculture aspects, which is the foundation of any grange organization. The fair is host to 4-H activities, cattle and horse shows, crop and flower exhibits, and art displays. There are also vendors that sell things from tractor supplies to handmade t-shirts. Another thing the fair is known for is their chicken barbeque dinners, which started in 1954.
As in years past, Bucks County will have a large tent that will accommodate information tables for different county offices. Dan and his staff from the Recorder of Deeds office will be there throughout the entire fair.
This year the Middletown Grange Fair runs from Wednesday, August 16th through Sunday, August 20th. For hours and vendor information please visit their website at: https://middletowngrangefair.org/.
The office receives phone calls asking about deeds on a regular basis. Most times those calling are asking for a copy of their deed, which can be sent via email as a complimentary service for the property owner. Other times the calls are asking for what would be considered a title search. Our office is not allowed to perform title searches, our job is to record the documents presented to the office. We do provide ways for the public to access our records, either in person or online, and can offer assistance with the computer system in the office. Generally speaking, our staff will help as much as possible, especially since there are details that we have knowledge of from working in this office.
So what are some of those details? Knowing the difference between a deed and mortgage, or when you should receive your deed. If you are researching a property, what is language to look for in documents. How documents are indexed and what the system is to search for those. Also, who is aware that when conducting genealogical research the Recorder of Deeds office can help?
Deed – A signed document containing a legal transfer of property from the grantor to the grantee. Most deeds start with the language of This Indenture, sometimes not even saying the word deed anywhere in the document. Also, a deed should be received from the title company or lawyer who prepared it shortly after purchasing the property – not once the mortgage is paid off.
Mortgage – Monies borrowed from a lender using property as collateral with payments. That lender is normally a bank but can be another individual. They can also be referred to as a lien. When a mortgage is paid off the mortgagor will receive notice from the lender. The lender should send a mortgage satisfaction to the Recorder of Deeds office, this states the mortgage is paid off.
Grantor/Mortgagor – The individuals selling the property or the individuals borrowing against the property.
Grantee/Mortgagee – The individuals buying the property or the lender of a mortgage.
Patent – Property that is first transferred from a government entity to an individual. This is not something found in current records, but more so in the late 1600s and early 1700s. Most property from William Penn to different individuals were patents. A lot of the patents for Bucks County were actually recorded in Philadelphia, since Bucks County wasn’t fully established at that point.
Genealogy – Often times researching family history could start with a deed. A deed can help determine the location of the family at a certain time. In the 1700s and 1800s it was not uncommon for deeds to give more information than they would today. A transfer out of a will or estate could list all the names of the deceased’s children and their spouses. Part of the reason for this was that old deeds were wordy compared to today, mainly due to fact that those preparing these documents being paid by the word.
Finding Deeds – Usually deed are always found in the Recorder of Deeds office. Although, for a time in the late 1800s this was not the case in Bucks County. Due to a spat between the Recorder of Deeds and the Sheriff at the time, Sheriff’s Deeds were recorded with the Prothonotary’s office. Unfortunately, the whys of the spat had not been passed on to future Recorder of Deeds. Besides wondering if the office has the record of all the deeds for the county, another question may be how to find them in the office. Locating deeds, or other documents, has become easier with technology. All of our records are in the Landex system used in the office. Landex is the offices recording vendor, which houses all images for recordings both old and new. These recordings are able to be viewed online and in the office. Newer documents, meaning from 1980 to present, are indexed by name. To find documents prior to 1980, the index books would need to be used. In office, those books can be accessed physically or digitally. The index books are available for use online as well.
JOINT PRESS RELEASE FROM PA TREASURY OFFICE AND PRODA
Treasurer Stacy Garrity & PA Recorders of Deeds Assoc. Remind Veterans to File Discharge Documents Locally
Local offices remove hurdles to replace military discharge paperwork
Harrisburg, PA — Treasurer Stacy Garrity and James M. Zugay, Recorder of Deeds in Dauphin County and President of the Pennsylvania Recorders of Deeds Association (PRODA), today reminded Pennsylvania veterans to register their military discharge paperwork with their local recorder of deeds office.
“Military discharge papers are crucial documents for veterans to keep, and Recorder of Deed offices can provide easy access to official copies if the originals get misplaced or lost,” said Treasurer Garrity, a retired U.S. Army Reserve Colonel. “It’s important that my fellow veterans know about and understand the importance of this great resource, and I urge them all to make sure they have their paperwork on file with their county’s recorder of deeds.”
“Recorders are proud to serve as a custodian of DD214s for our veterans who have honorably served our country,” said Zugay. “We have recorded thousands of these documents, but our hope is spread the word that recording these documents in our office is a way to preserve them in a safe and confidential way if they are needed for any reason in the future.”
Recorders are required by Pennsylvania law to accept and maintain military discharge papers from veterans. This is the only document protected as private – DD214s are not public record.
If a veteran or their family loses the original paperwork, or it is lost due to a flood, fire or other natural disaster, certified copies can be obtained from the Recorder of Deeds office where the documents were stored. Without this county-level process, veterans would be forced to go through the federal government to receive replacement documents, which can be a cumbersome process.
To have military discharge papers recorded, veterans will need to provide their DD214 or NGB22 and, in some cases, a valid photo I.D. Veterans should contact their county Recorder of Deeds to ensure proper documentation. There is no fee associated with recording military discharge papers.
“I hope all veterans will take some time to register their discharge papers with their local county Recorder of Deeds,” Garrity said. “It’s a great service that can make things much easier in the future if their original documents get misplaced or destroyed.”
Recorders of Deeds have had the authority in Pennsylvania to collect military discharge papers since 1868.
To find your county recorder of deeds, visit PRODA’s website at padeeds.com/county-officials.
Samantha Heckel, Press Secretary (Treasury), 717-418-0206 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Zugay, President (PRODA), 717-780-6565, or email@example.com
STACY GARRITY, STATE TREASURER
HISTORY SOCIAL RECAP
Every second Wednesday of the month we invite the public to join us to learn some Bucks County history. During our hour-long History Social we explore different areas of the county and how they can be located in our historic deed books. Going forward with these events in 2023, we thought it would be a good idea to do a quick recap in our bi-monthly newsletter. This way anyone that isn’t able to attend can still enjoy the history!
June’s History Social – Wedding Venues Around Bucks County
- Pen Ryn Mansion
- Located at 1601 State Road, Bensalem
- Originally built by the Bickley Family, who came to the colonies in the late 1600s.
- It is said the estate was built in 1744 and later named Pen Ryn for an ancestor’s hometown of Penryn, England. It was initially called “Belle Voir”
- Stayed in the Bickley Family until 1890, when Hannah Bickley sold the property to Lucy Wharton Drexel.
- Deed found in Book 240, Page 292.
- Lucy was a relative of the Bickley Family.
- Prior to purchasing Pen Ryn, Lucy and her husband, Joseph W. Drexel, in New York with their 4 daughters.
- When Lucy died in 1912, she left the estate to her daughter Josephine.
- Josephine and her second husband lived in New York, using Pen Ryn as their summer home.
- After some hardships, Josephine was forced to sell the home much to her dismay.
- The property was sold to Charles Biddle, who allowed All Saints Episcopal School to use the grounds, with the stipulation that it be used only as a school.
- Otherwise, it would revert back to him and his heirs.
- The current owners purchased the property in 1992 and have restored the property to its original glory.
- Today, the estate hosts over 100 weddings each year.
- HollyHedge Estate
- Located at 6987 Upper York Road in New Hope, Solebury Township
- The estate was built along the Delaware River in the 1780s by Watson Fell.
- Fell's deed can be found in book 27, on Page 243.
- A carpenter by trade, Fell used field stone and other local materials to build the house.
- The property stayed in the Fell family until 1887.
- Sarah Kerney purchased the property in 1941 in Book 705, Page 290.
- Kerney and her husband, Trenton Times Editor-in-Chief James Kerney, renovated the working homestead into a magnificent private estate, by adding ornate English gardens and landscaping.
- Throughout the 1960s it was a premiere performing arts academy that offered outdoor classes.
- Known as “Arts amidst the fields”
- Music, theater, modern dance, and ballet were performed there.
- The Luccaro family purchased the property 1996.
- They have restored much of the estate and have maintained the English gardens.
- It is a popular place in Bucks County for weddings and other private events.
- The Old Barn on the property is the premier place on the property for a rustic themed wedding – in the Top 5 according to Forbes.com.
- The Lake House Inn
- Located at 1100 Old Bethlehem Road, Perkasie, East Rockhill Township
- Aptly named the Lake House Inn since it is on the shore of Lake Nockamixon.
- Originally built as an Inn and stage coach stop in the late 1700’s.
- It has served as a blacksmith shop, post office, general store over the years.
- Doylestown architect, Ralph C. Fey, undertook the project to update and reinvent the Inn.
- His team was able to preserve the 200 year old Inn.
- Additions included: kitchen, meeting space, terraced gardens, and the amphitheater.
- Is now a hot spot for weddings.
- Former Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz even got married here!
- The venue contains 14 opulent guest rooms and suites that can sleep up to 40 guests.
- Jacob Delp purchased the property in 1849 in Book 77, Page 31.
July’s History Social – Ivyland’s 150th Anniversary Celebration
At the end of June, the office was invited by the Ivyland Borough Council to participate in their 150th Anniversary Celebration. For this event, we put together a display of council members property history, along with historic properties within the borough. For the History Social on July 12th, Ivyland Borough Council Members, Christina Finello and Todd Savarese, and Ivyland Borough Zoning Hearing Board Chair, Geoffrey Rapp, joined us as we continued to share the history of their wonderful community.
- Hobensack's Mill
- Built in 1874 by J. Montgomery Carr when he initially arrived in Ivyland.
- Carr operated the coal yard and feed house until 1879 when he sold it to the Barton brothers, William Henry and Harvey J.
- They continued to conduct the coal and feed business on the property.
- The mill was then purchased by brothers, William and Benjamin "Frank" Hobensack, and their wives in 1890.
- This deed can be found in Book 240, Page 200.
- In 1901, Frank and his wife transferred the property to solely to his brother William and his wife.
- The deed can be found in Book 299, Page 442.
- Frank pursued a career in politics - he was eventually elected as the Sheriff of Bucks County.
- The U.S. Army Signal Corps housed and trained around 90 pigeons in the mill starting in 1907.
- One extraordinary pigeon trained at the mill, Cher Ami, saved 200 trapped American soldiers during World War I.
- Ivyland Borough Hall
- The Harold S. Hobensack Municipal Complex is located at 991 Pennsylvania Avenue.
- This was not the original building used as borough hall, that was Barton Hall.
- Unfortunately, that building was ravaged by fire in 1998.
- The current borough hall was deeded to Ivyland Borough in 2002.
- This deed can be found in Book 2564, Page 1532.
- The property was owned by several ancestral names from Ivyland Borough, such as Barton and Hobensack.
- Edmund Barton purchased the property in 1903.
- Deed Book 304, Page 436.
- I. Cornell & George Hobensack purchased the property in 1940.
- The Temperance House Hotel
- Edwin Lacey purchased property in Warminster Township, which became Ivyland Borough.
- His deeds in 1873 & 1874 can be found in Book 164, Page 586 & Book 170, Page 112.
- Named because of ivy found in the area, which turned out to be poison ivy.
- He wanted to build on this land to profit from the upcoming 1876 Centennial Exposition held in Philadelphia.
- This was also the area in which a proposed extension of the North Penn Railroad was said to have tracks laid.
- After the first residences, built along Gough and Lincoln Avenues, Lacey began to build the hotel.
- Most of the first houses, as well as the hotel, are built in similar styles.
- Lacey had many troubles while building the hotel, and while it was eventually finished, it was not in time for it to profit from the 1876 Centennial Exposition.
- According to Bucks County Recorder of Deeds records, Joshua Bennett purchased property from the Ivyland Temperance Hotel Company in 1877.
- Found in Book 180, Page 382.
- It was his farm that the stone to build the hotel was quarried from.
- After construction was completed was never actually used as a hotel.