The Notarial Archives Division, the Conveyance Division, and the Mortgage Division are divisions of the Clerk of Civil District Court.The Conveyance Division, and the Mortgage Division are located on the 4th floor of 1340 Poydras Street in downtown New Orleans. Records in the Conveyance Office date from April 1, 1827 to present. Records of the Mortgage Office date from 1788 to present.
The function of the Conveyance Division is to summarize, register and index alienations (changes of ownership or possession, as in leases) of property in Orleans Parish, Louisiana. For this object, the Conveyance Division summarizes transactions involving real estate (and before the Civil War, slaves), and provides a summary of the property description. It also includes the date of the transaction, the names of parties to acts, the consideration, and the name of the notary before whom the act was passed. Retrieving the notary's name and the act date from the Conveyance Division record, researchers may access the original act in the Notarial Archives.
The original act is always longer than the summaries in the Conveyance Division. It contains original signatures, and generally several attachments. Attachments may include visual materials such as site plans or elevations of the property being sold, along with powers of attorney from all parts of the world, Conveyance and Mortgage certificates, tax research certificates, correspondence, corporate resolutions, and so on.
Conveyance certificates are necessary to prove that the seller of a particular property at a particular time actually owns and has not previously alienated the subject property.
Name indices in the Conveyance Division are paper-based until January 1, 1989. They include indexes to vendors (sellers) and vendees (buyers). Both words derive from the French vendre, to sell. A Soundex, similar but not identical to Federal census Soundex indices, is also available for vendors (only) from 1900 to 1989. This is now available to the public in the Conveyance Office. The Soundex is arranged by party names, as are the vendor and vendee indices, but Soundex entries also provide keys to transaction types and property locations. Staff in the Conveyance Office will gladly assist researchers in using the Soundex and other Conveyance Division records.
The function of the Mortgage Division (records 1788 to date) is to summarize and index party names to transactions involving encumbrances on property, or releases of mortgages on property in Orleans Parish, Louisiana. As do Conveyance Division records, Mortgage Division records supply party names, property descriptions, dates, considerations, and the name of the notary before whom the mortgage or the release was passed. With that information, one can enter the Notarial Archives and access the original document. Note however that some Mortgage Division records, such as liens, are original inscriptions and do not derive from notarial acts.
A property may be sold with an encumbrance recorded against it, but the encumbrance must go with it if it has not been cancelled.
The Mortgage Division is also the repository of indices to incorporations and charters of civil and religious corporations, civic and charitable organizations, partnerships, and other group charters created according to law in Orleans Parish. These records are particularly useful for the study of economic and social history.
Liens by contractors, builders, and suppliers, as well as judicial liens are also among the records indexed in the Mortgage Office. Records on uncancelled liens are essential to current transfers of property, while older records of this type are particularly useful in the study of historic architecture.