According to Estee Ferris, the Assistant Register of Deeds for the Middlesex South Registry in Cambridge, staff will return to the building today after a lengthy closure in response to Governor Baker’s Stay at Home Advisory. Registry staff had been working remotely and putting on record only documents submitted to them through electronic means. U.S. Postal Service, UPS and FedEx deliveries were not received or picked up during that time. However, starting today, staff will be retrieving mail from the East Cambridge post office and processing requests in the order they were received. Of the 22 registries of deeds in the Commonwealth, Middlesex South was the only courthouse/registry to implement this type of closure.
Incidentally, registers of deeds are not called registrars in Massachusetts because, according to Richard Howe, Register of Deeds in Lowell, “[That is] a frequent question. Mass General Laws chapter 36 calls it Register and when it appears on the ballot the office is Register. The office was created in 1640, so we’d have to look at word usage in the mid-17th century to get the true answer of why it’s Register and not Registrar. I’ve held the office for 25 years now and still haven’t found a satisfactory answer. But I’m not done looking.”