Doing Deed Research in Cuyahoga County from Home

by , under Uncategorized

Recently I became interested in learning the details of the sale of an empty lot near my home in Brecksville in Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

When I became involved in genealogy nearly three decades ago, I visited the Cuyahoga County Recorder’s office in downtown Cleveland and did a bit research in the deed books.

Later, the deeds in Cuyahoga County were digitized all the way back to the formation of the county in 1810. The digitized deed database was eventually made available online and I did a little more research. Those research efforts didn’t amount to a lot because very few relatives lived in the county before I arrived in 1960.

In 2011, the Cuyahoga County Recorder’s Office became part of the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Office, along with the Auditor’s Office, in a sweeping reorganization of the county governing structure. The resulting website covers all the functions of county government, and I found it a bit confusing when I tried to find how to search for deeds. Finally, fellow Genealogical Committee member Jean Hoffman supplied the link directly to the Property Search function. It is The resulting search window is very user-friendly. And there is a note at the top of the opening page that all document downloads are free unless a certified document is needed.

I was able to satisfy my curiosity about the details of the neighboring lot sale.

I then I decided to check on my step-grandfather Don A Stafford and whatever property he might have owned in Cleveland. My Grandmother Grace married Don in 1943, and I had visited them at their home on East 89th St in about 1946. She passed away in 1948.

Don married a total of five times with Grace being the middle spouse. He kept in touch with our family following her death and I later met his two additional wives. Don moved to Florida in 1959 where he passed away in 1967.

I inserted Don A Stafford in the search window and came up with 47 listings for him between 1914 and 1956. He filed many deeds to list his wives — including Grace — and two sons and a daughter — as co-owners. Others listed him as a grantor in a property sale.

I am now in the process of looking at each document resulting from the Property Search. It will take some time to analyze all 47 items.

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