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Recorder's Office


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Recorder's Office

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Description of Services

The Recorder's Office files, records, and maintains legal documents pertaining to real and personal property.  Various forms of deeds, mortgages, bankruptcies, mechanic liens, probate papers, corporate name changes, and plat maps are recorded here.  The Recorder also keeps the original government land survey with a tract index. The index gives a history of what has happened to a piece of land dating back to 1875.  When individuals borrow money for personal property such as a snowmobile, piano, machinery, or to borrow against a crop, the lender files a finance statement in this office referred to as a UCC.  The Recorder’s Office also has records of births, deaths, and marriages dating back to 1875.  All of the records in this office are considered public information and as such, are used by many people such as abstract companies, attorneys, bankers, and private individuals.

Polk County was created in 1858 from land previously in the territorial county of Pembina.  (When the current counties north of Polk were established later, the name Pembina was erased from the Minnesota county map.)

In 1862, a strip of land along the southern boundary of Polk County became part of Clay County.

In 1866, an eastern section of Polk County was designated to Beltrami County (and later was set off to become Clearwater County).  There was some boundary confusion when Marshall County was established in 1879 along the northern border of Polk County and was mixed between Sections 6 and 7 of Township 154N, where it remains to this day.

At the 1880-81 session of the Minnesota Legislature, Norman County was created from the southern 3rd of Polk County.

In 1896, an irregular portion of the north central part of Polk County was set off to form Red Lake County (and later was split into Pennington and Red Lake Counties).

Search Tips
Since borders between Polk County and its neighbors have altered, it is sometimes hard to find out where a piece of property historically resided.  The following are just some suggestions on where else to look.
If you are researching townships on Polk’s far eastern edge (Johnson, Gully, Eden, Queen and Columbia), you might want to check Clearwater and Beltrami Counties.  Clearwater split off from Beltrami in 1902.
If you are researching the north end of Polk County (Higdem, Sandsville, Farley, Brislet, Helgeland, Belgium, Brandt, Helgeland, Johnson), you need to check Pennington which split off from Red Lake in 1910 and Marshall County which split off from Kittson in 1910.
Also north are the townships of Parnell, Gentilly, Tilden, Grove Park, Badger, Lessor and Chester.  You will want to check Red Lake which split off from Polk in 1896.
In the south are the townships of Hubbard, Scandia, Reis, Liberty, Garfield, and Garden.  You will want to check Norman County which split off from Polk in 1881.
To the south east are the townships of Winger, Sletten, Rosebud and Columbia.  You should check Mahnomen County which was created from Beck & Norman County in 1906.
To the west are Higdem, Esther, Grand Forks, Rhinehart, Huntsville, Bygland, Tynsid, Roome, Vineland and Hubbard.  You will need to check Trail County in North Dakota (it was split off from Grand Forks, Burbank and Cass Counties in 1875) and Grand Forks County.  You may also wish to contact the State Historical Society of North Dakota in Bismarck.

Polk County Vital Records
Deaths and marriage records for Polk County from 1875 to present would be filed in Crookston.  Births from 1875 to 1935 are for Polk County only.  Births from 1935 to present are available for any county in Minnesota.


To search records please go to:


Errors and Omissions: This is a working index and may contain errors and omissions due to errors in the preparation of the original document or in the indexing. It is recommended to search several different ways for each property, such as by party name and legal description and other pertinent information.

Images: The images are authentic reproductions of the actual document and the quality is usually good. However, blue or light-colored ink used on original documents do not reproduce well. A few older documents may be illegible since there was no requirement for legibility until 1997. Images for abstract documents are available from the present date back to 1890. All are indexed by the document number. We are working on adding the book and pages. Grantors/Grantees are indexed from 1991 forward.

Index and Verification dates: The general rule is that the grantor-grantee (or party) index, tract index and images are available 2-3 working days after being recorded. There are occasional exceptions due to equipment failures and high recording volumes.

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Polk County is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer