Technology Updates Records from 1700s - Johnston County Register of Deeds Latest News

Latest News 
Technology updates records from 1700s

By Cami Jo Narron, News Editor 13.MAY.09
Kenly News -

Johnston County Register of Deeds Craig Olive - leader in accessible public records

The Johnston County Register of Deeds office now offers free on-line public records searching of land records, indexes and images dating back to the mid-1700s through today. The information is available round-the-clock from any home computer, said Craig Olive, Register of Deeds.

“It’s very accessible,” said Olive. “It’s user friendly and people love the new system. I’m very proud of the decision to use Aptitude Solution’s recording system which not only provides easier access to public records but is also saving Johnston County about $300,000 over five years and increasing production in the office.”

Cost savings come from not having to purchase the large index books, some that cost $500 each, that then had to be hand-recorded, and from the office discontinuing the use of more expensive computer programs. The current system is an all-in-one program, said Olive, compared to purchasing an average of 15, $500 books each year and those were just the day-books that recorded what came in.

Records from 1940 to the present are fully on-line and records from 1700 to 1939 have been prepared and are going on line now. Bowman Enterprises in Benson scanned the county’s old records.

The new system allows any brand new documents to be scanned in office, recorded and returned to customers within minutes instead of days to weeks. Olive also is proud of the fact that the office, which would see up to 150 documents to be processed each day, no longer has stacks and stacks of documents lying around.

It was no small feat to process over 270 years of documents and queries.
“We’ve processed and stored over 14,000 images,” said Jeff Wilson, register of deeds computer systems analyst. “With the new system anyone can dial up and search the public indexes and images. Johnston County has its own server backed up every week and kept in a fireproof safe. We’re up to date with the latest technology with a reliable system that is people friendly.”

“It’s a good system,” said Peggy Ingram, Deputy with the Register of Deeds. “We’ve improved office production and we don’t miss working on those stacks of papers. With the interest rates where they’ve been, we and our customers like the quick turn-around in processing documents.”

The Johnston County Register of Deeds office is a leader in becoming technologically accessible to the public, said Olive. People can still come in and see the old bound index books, but searching those books for title holders, liens and even genealogy based searches including marriages, births and deaths has gone from days to minutes.

“It’s so much easier and accessible compared to other county’s systems,” said Patty Woodard, a paralegal from Princeton who daily travels to do record searches. “It is very user friendly and fast.”

Throughout the office computer technology has been implemented. Johnston County was the first in the state to e-record and notarize a document, streamlining operations, increasing document security and saving time and money, said Olive. Citizens save time and money by eliminating trips to the Register of Deeds and attorneys, paralegals and abstractors will also need less time to conduct search work.

In the vital records department, marriage licenses can be applied for on-line and picked up within minutes at the office. That program idea was the brainchild of the Register of Deeds office and created with the computer company’s help.

The overall system is also environmentally friendly, said Olive. By eliminating paper registers, then fewer trees and the energy used to convert them to paper, has been reduced.

Included in Olive’s goal to improve security is the removal of Social Security and other identifying numbers from public records. Olive would like to redact all Social Security numbers from all records but the Identity Theft Protection Act of 2005 (GS 47-14(a)) currently only allows those numbers removed if a person requests it and that person must specify the document it needs to be removed from.

Olive said state Sen. David Rouzer has introduced legislation that, if passed, will allow private numbers to be redacted from public records.

“We move fast,” said Wilson. “The redaction software is in place. We’re waiting on the laws to catch up. The system will identify numbers that may be candidates for removal. People are concerned about personal information showing on public records. We’ll confirm any numbers the system identifies before removing (blacking out) any numbers once we’re allowed to move ahead.”



Office Hours
Monday-Friday: 8am-5pm


Marriage Licenses (By appointment only)
Appointment Times:
Monday-Friday: 8am-4:30pm

Vital Records Phone #

Real Estate Phone #

Passports (By appointment only)
Appointment Times:
Monday-Friday: 8:30am-4pm
We are located at:
207 East Johnston St. Suite 209
Smithfield, NC 27577