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The Southern Essex Registry of Deeds maintains and provides public access to the land records for Southern Essex District and all of Essex County prior to 1869. The Salem Registry has the oldest continuous land records in the country dating back to 1639. Although the Registry only maintains land records, many older documents contained information on the people who owned the land, including professions, family members, and sometimes wills and estate listings. In addition to deeds and mortgages, the registry also maintains the Old Norfolk Deed Books, Ipswich Deed Books, Books of Executions and Depositions, historic city and town atlases, historic assessor maps, city directories, and microfilm copies of early probate records. All of which can be helpful when trying to trace history within Essex County.