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 is to maintain official records of documents affecting title to real estate in order to preserve property rights and protect innocent third parties in real estate transactions

Although this basic duty remains relatively unchanged, many additional functions have been added to the office. The recorder now records or retains on file a wide variety of important documents, and issues several types of permits and licenses. Some of these duties are defined in statutes, and others are established by state agencies through administrative actions. Finally, the county recorder, as an elected county official, shares the duties and responsibilities common to all such public officials. The office of County Recorder is an elected position with a term of four years.


Primary Duties

  • Record and maintain documents affecting title to real estate
  • Record vital records (birth, death, marriage) and issue certified copies
  • Issue Marriage Licenses
  • Register and title boats, snowmobiles, and ATVs/ORVs

Optional Duties performed in Pocahontas County

  • Issue various types of Hunting and Fishing Licenses


  • Boat Registration/Titles/Liens
  • Snowmobile Registration/Titles/Liens
  • ATV/OTV Registrations/Titles /Liens
  • Hunting and Fishing Licenses
  • Fur Harvester Licenses
  • Habitat, Duck, and Trout Stamps
  • Deer and Wild Turkey Licenses
  • Landowner/Tenant Gun and Archery Deer and Turkey Permits
  • (These permits are issued by County Recorder through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources)

Vital Records

  • Issue Marriage Licenses
  • Registers Birth, Death, and Marriage Certificates
  • Issues Certified Copies of Birth, Death and Marriage Records
  • (Vital Records are administered by the Iowa Department of Public Health)


Land and Record Management

  • 28E Agreements
  • Affadavits
  • Bills of Sale
  • Changes of Title
  • Condemnations
  • Contracts
  • Corner Section Certificates
  • Deeds
  • Easements
  • Federal and State Tax Liens
  • Fence Agreements
  • Leases
  • Military Discharge Records
  • Mortgages
  • Plats of Survey
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Resolutions
  • Restrictive Covenants
  • Right of Way Agreements
  • Trade Names
  • Uniform Commercial Code
  • …and many more

Other Responsibilities

  • Accept and record documents submitted electronically
  • Collect real estate transfer tax on conveyances of property
  • Collect and report Auditor’s fee on transfer of property
  • Perform federal and state tax lien searches and assist public in research of real estate
  • Certify all Recorder’s records
  • Make records available for genealogy research (Note: Recorder does not conduct  these searches)
  • Prepare and submit detailed reports monthly, quarterly, and annually to the county; and monthly reports to these state agencies: Dept. of Public Health, Dept. of Natural Resources, Dept. of Revenue