Oswego County Clerk's Office, NY 315-349-8385

[Oswego County Homepage] [County Clerk's Homepage]

Public Records

Researching information at County Clerk's Office What types of records does the County Clerk keep?
Deeds, mortgages, maps, liens, judgments, foreclosures, court cases, divorces, adoption records, powers of attorney, assumed business names, veterans discharges, lis pendens and other miscellaneous records.

Where do I find a birth certificate?
Birth certificates are available from the Town Clerk or City Clerk where you were born.

Where do I find a death certificate?
Death certificates are filed in the Town or City Clerk's office where the individual died.

Where do I find a marriage certificate?
Marriage certificates are available from the Town, Village or City Clerk's office where you originally purchased it.

Where is the county records room located?
The county records room is part of the County Clerk's Office on the second floor of the County Office Building, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego.

Are those records open to the public?
Yes, with the exception of divorces, adoptions, veterans discharges and separation agreements, held confidential by law. On pistol permits only, the name and address of the pistol permit holder are public record.

How does the Clerk file public records?
Papers filed with the Clerk are time and date stamped at the receiving desk and are accompanied by a cover sheet. Cover sheets must be completed by typing or printing with black ink only. Cover sheets must be totally completed before submitting to the Clerk's office for recording. Recording fees are paid and receipts issued. The papers then go to the record room and are entered into the proper index books by name, alphabetically. If more than one person is involved, they are cross-indexed. These papers are then called "legal instruments."

What happens next?
After being entered in the proper index book, the instrument goes to the microfilm department to be recorded on film. Each full roll of film is developed and checked for clarity and accuracy, then printed and this copy becomes a page in the proper book. The book is shelved in our record room for public use. Normally, original papers filed are returned to the interested party within 4-7 days.

Why are these instruments microfilmed?
For citizens' protection, the Clerk places film rolls in a storage vault buried in a mountain either in NYS or Pennsylvania. The vault is climatically controlled and since the film can always be obtained to make another copy, this storage is protection against disaster.

Why should I file and/or record documents with the County Clerk?
As permanent protection against loss through fire, theft, etc., to establish true ownership of property, as proof that mortgages, liens and judgments have been paid.

Deeds and Mortgages

What is a deed?
A deed is an instrument by which a buyer obtains title to a piece of property. The warranty deed is the most common form. In it, the seller warrants that he has not encumbered the title and guarantees that his predecessors have not encumbered the title. Another less common for of deed is the quit claim deed, which in effect, states that the seller says he has not encumbered the title, but he is unwilling to state that his predecessors did not do the same.

mortgages on file

What if I lose my original deed or mortgage?
If you misplace or lose the original copy that has been returned to you after recording, you may make a copy of the one we have in our records room. We will certify that it is a true copy of your original and you may keep that with your personal papers. A nominal fee is charged for a copy and a certification of the instrument.

Does a deed have to be recorded?
Yes. A deed should be recorded as promptly as possible after the transaction. Failure to record a deed could create many legal difficulties.

How is the validity of a title determined?
Almost everything a person does (or sometimes, does not do), has a bearing on his property. Such things such as divorce, death, non-payment of debts, bankruptcy, subdivision of property and countless other situations affect the property. Professional title searchers (sometimes called "abstractors") will "search" the title to real estate and apply a body of law to the validity of the title.

Can I use the records room?
Yes. Anyone can use the records in our custody. We ask only that you use them with care, so they will last for everyone's use. The record room is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. It is generally better to come in person to use the records. However, if that is impossible, a limited amount of information may be obtained over the phone. For questions on fees, etc., call 315-349-8621. The records room is closed on Saturdays and Sundays, and on most holidays.

Is my deed printed in one of the books?
If your property is in Oswego County and you or your attorneys filed it with the clerk, it will be here.

How can I find my deed?
There is a section in the record room of indexes referred to as "grantor" and "grantee" books. The grantor means the seller and grantee means the buyer. As the buyer and present owner, you would go to the grantee index that covers the time period when you purchased your property (each set of indexes covers approximately a 10-year period) If you look up your name in the index, it will refer you to a book number and a page number in that book. The lowest numbered books are in the back of the records room. The books proceed sequentially along that wall and around two corners. If you refer to the page number in the appropriate book, you will find a copy of your original deed.

Can I locate the mortgage on my home?
Yes. Your mortgage is processed the same way as your deed. You can find the mortgagee and mortgagor indexes for the current time period and then find your name in the alphabetical index. You may then look in the mortgagor index as the person who borrowed the money. The mortgagee index lists the name of the lender or financial institution loaning the money. After your name in the index book is entered a book and page number. To find the book, go to the left and to the back of the main record room where mortgage books are stored.

Questions about the Oswego County Clerk's Office?