Register of Deeds

 Frequently Asked Questions

Register of Deeds

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

WHO may obtain a certified copy of a birth, death, or marriage certificate?
Certified copies will be issued to:The applicant

  • The applicant's spouse 
  • The applicant's parent / step-parent 
  • The applicant's broth, sister, step-brother, step-sister 
  • The applicant's child / step-child 
  • The applicant's grandparent / grandchild 
  • Any person seeking information for legal determination of personal or property rights
  • An authorized agent, attorney or legal representative of the applicant

Identification is required from all who request a certified vital record.  Uncertified copies of all vital records are open to public inspection.

What are the prerequisites to registration?  Payment of recording fees, payment of the Real Estate Excise Tax (for deeds), name of draftsman (for deeds), Grantee (buyer) address, acknowledgment (notarization).

Does an instrument need to be notarized before it can be recorded?  Almost all instruments presented for recordation first must be acknowledge (notarized) before the Register of Deeds can record the instrument.  Notary Publics are authorized by North Carolina law to perform this duty.  

Can I prepare my own deed and have it recorded?  North Carolina law allows you to prepare a Deed of Conveyance for any real property to which you have legal title.  However, the conveyance of real property is a legal matter that should be given under and with the advise of legal counsel.  

Can a minor's name be put on a deed?  Yes.  However, one should consult an attorney-at-law before doing so.

Do I have to be present in order to record a instrument?  No.  Instruments presented for recordation can be made by anyone.  The person who presents the instrument can be a party to the instrument, but it is not required by law.

Can I get copies of my neighbors or other person deeds and other recorded instruments?  Yes.  Basically, all documents recorded are public records that are protected by the public records law.  However, you first must provide the necessary fees for such before obtaining any copies.

If I lose or misplace my deed, how do I replace it?  The Register of Deeds is authorized by law to certify a true copy of any instrument that has been recorded in the public registry.  However, the necessary fee for such first must be paid by such person requesting said instrument.  

What is a Real Estate Excise Tax, and who is responsible for the payment of such?  Real Estate Excise Tax, also known as Revenue Stamps, is imposed by North Carolina law, and collected by the Register of Deeds at the time of recording.  The tax is levied on conveyances of an interest in real estate by all persons and organizations except federal, state, county, and municipal governments and their instrumentalities.  The transferor (grantor, seller) buys the tax stamp from the Register of Deeds of the county in which the land that is being sold lies.  The rate of tax is $1 on each $500., or fractional part thereof, on the consideration or value of the interest or property conveyed.  It is a misdemeanor for any transferor or his agent to willfully and knowingly fail to pay the correct amount of the tax, or for anyone to aid, abet, or direct any other persons to fail to pay.

Does the Register of Deeds office record instruments that are not real property, personal property, or vital records?  Yes.  The following are some of the other instruments recorded in the Register of Deeds.

  • Armed forces discharges
  • Assessments of water and sewer authorities
  • Assumed name certificates
  • Bankruptcy records
  • Official bonds
  • Corporation records (prior 7/01/90)
  • Farm names
  • Farmland districts
  • Grave removals
  • Historic landmarks
  • Historic properties
  • Inheritance and estate tax waiver
  • Land titles (torrens)
  • Limited partnerships
  • Mortgages in lieu of bonds
  • Strays
  • Timber marks
  • Waste disposal
  • Will renunciations
  • Exemption orders
  • .......others

Can I request that a copy of an instrument be mailed to me?  Yes.  However, the necessary fee first must be paid before this service can be provided (copy fee).

Can I get copies of birth and death records?  Yes.  However, you first must remit the necessary information required by law.
What is the cost?  
Certified Birth, Death, or Marriage:  $10.00
Uncertified via mail:  $1.00
Uncertified in person:  $.0.25
Marriage License: $60.00

If I was born in Davidson County and was adopted, can I obtain a copy of my birth record in Davidson County?  No.  Adoption records are not available at the Davidson County Register of Deeds office.  You can further assistance by contacting NC Vital Records.

Photo Not Available! NC Vital Records
1903 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC  27699
Map  |  Directions

How do I get a birth certificate if I was not born in North Carolina?  Born inside the United States:  Birth certificates are maintained by each state for the people who are born in that state.  Contact the county or state vital records in the state where you were born to get a copy of your birth certificate.  There is a Web site that can help you find out where you should write for vital records across the United States.  Born outside the United States:  If you were born outside the United States and your parents were United States citizens at the time of your birth, you can write to--

US Department of State
Washington Passport Agency
1111 - 19th Street NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20522-1705

How do I obtain a copy of my divorce record?  Contact the Clerk of Court

How do I obtain a legal name change?  Contact the Special Proceeding Division of Clerk of Court

What are the acceptable forms of identification?  A state or federal issued photo ID (example, driver's license or passport)

What steps do I take to get married?  First, the license must be purchased in North Carolina.  The license is valid in any county in the State of North Carolina, but must be returned to the county in which it was issued.  The license is valid for sixty (60) days.  A religious officiate or a magistrate may perform the ceremony.

How do I file separation papers?  The Register of Deeds office does not provide legal advise; it is advisable to see an attorney.  A separation agreement may be filed in our office once the document is complete and properly notarized.

How do I obtain a certified copy of vital record by mail?  
Complete application for vital record and:
          Return the signed application, along with $10 free and a copy of your picture ID to:
                                                             Davidson County Register of Deeds
                                                                                  PO Box 464
                                                                          Lexington, NC 27293

          You may obtain information on obtaining a certified copy of a vital record from the Vital Records Division
                                                       at the State Center for Health Statistics web site: