The first document recorded in Allegheny County was a deed dated April 4, 1787 and was recorded on November 13, 1788. (The amount paid for the property was eight pounds, eight shillings and ten pence.) Prior to 1788, the transfer of property was accomplished in the presence of witnesses standing on the particular piece of property to be transferred. However, no record of such transfer was recorded in any government office.
The first Allegheny County Recorder of Deeds was appointed to office in 1788. Prior to 1852, the Governor of Pennsylvania appointed the Recorder of Deeds. After that date, the Recorder’s Office became an elected position. From 1788 to 2007, there have been twenty-nine persons appointed or elected to this office.
In 2003, the Recorder of Deeds, Valerie McDonald Roberts, chose to implement a totally integrated recording system. Documents are recorded, scanned and immediately available to the public. The system replicates each evening making the images available on the Internet by the next morning. The office officially began eRecording documents in early 2006.These documents are sent electronically, recorded and electronically returned to the submitter.
On May 17, 2005, the Allegheny County Home rule charter was amended by the electorate with the passage of a ballot question abolishing the elected Row Office of Recorder of Deeds.
By Order of Court issued January 7, 2008, all power and authority previously vested in the elected Recorder of Deeds Office was now vested in the Department of Real Estate.
Valerie McDonald Roberts, the last elected Recorder of Deeds, was appointed as the first Manager of the newly created Department of Real Estate.