Records Search Help
#1 Tip - Minimize the information entered! Leave most fields alone. Set your date range, enter your search name without middle initial and let it go at that. If your result set is too large, you can go back and restrict the query by using the fancy fields.
** Return to this page for guidance if you are not getting the search results you need.
Records Available Online
- Marriage Records, either your own or your ancestors'. All marriages licensed in Chelan County are available online.
- Survey & Plat Maps . Have a look at the map of the subdivision you live in.
- Deeds & Other Property Records . Perhaps there are covenants filed for your subdivision, or some other documents of interest that effect your property
Our searchable index is available back to 1974. Documents older than that are retrievable either by Audior File Number (AFN) or book and page. The index to pre-1974 documents is available on microfilm at the courthouse.
Search by Name
The documents are indexed by the names of the parties involved in the document. If you know at least one name and the instrument's approximate recording date you will probably find what you seek with relative grace and ease.
- Enter name as the grantor when the individual's action within the document was that of the "giver", even if the giving is involuntary, as in the case of a lien.
- Enter the name as the grantee when they were the "recipient" of the document's action
Search by Parcel
Technically, we do not have a property index that would enable us to retrieve documents based on location. Recording laws require that documents be indexed by the names of the parties involved, creating a grantor/grantee index. As noted below, there is limited capability to search for recent recordings by parcel.
When names are (sadly) not available...
It takes more work and some amount of luck, but it is possible to work around the lack of names as a search tool.
- Current Era: Documents Recorded 1997 or later. Newer Recording system are capable of more complex searches, making documents recorded after this date more readily searchable by fields other than name. Parcel numbers were required to appear on documents recorded after 1/1/1997, so searches by parcel number will reflect documents recorded after that date only.
- Legacy Era: Documents Recorded Prior to 1997. Most of the legal description data indexed prior to 1997 did not convert in a manner tidy enough to get a reliable query match. Records from that era remain primarily searchable by name only.
Searching for Easements and Other Property Agreements
An easement or other property agreement will continue be in force as long as nothing has been recorded that would terminate the agreement. The only way to use our records to find an easement would be to come to the courthouse and do a complete search on the entire history of the property. Alternatively, title companies have copies of all our documents, retrievable by parcel.
Entering Data That Gets Results
These darn computers have a way of giving us exactly what we asked for, which is not always what we wanted. The secret to getting relevant results is to type your search items exactly as they have been indexed by the recording staff. Rather than having us index each document every way each of you would enter the information, we thought it might be simpler to just let you in on some of our data entry formatting conventions.
Name Format Conventions
Most names are entered in the format of lastname firstname middle name/initial no punctuation. There are always exceptions, however. Here is a short list of name conventions:
|Example Name||Appears As:|
|Rip VanWinkle||Van Winkle Rip|
|Maureen O'Hara||O'Hara Maureen (the apostrophe is the only exception to the "no punctuation" rule)|
|Ronald McDonald||Mc Donald Ronald (a space denotes a change in case within the name)|
|Z.Z.Z. Enterprises||Z Z Z Enterprises (spaces are entered where periods appear)|
List of Abbreviations
You will not get a match when you type more letters than the record's indexing has to match. This list is a good place to check when you do not get the results you expect and have a sneaking suspicion that there may be something that was missed, or in this case, added.
|Sates other than Washington||Full State name|
|United States of America||USA|
The system will return results that include everything that begins with the words you have entered, regardless of what follows.
Document Code Troubleshooting
Some document codes exist that are no longer in active use; some codes have only been in use for the last decade. This a quick list to help you zero in on the appropriate code and avoid frustration:
- Mortgages: What you know as your mortgage is actually titled as a Deed of Trust if it is for your home. A mortgage usually involves agricultural lands. If you are making payments to the seller, it is likely that you should look for the "Real Estate Contract".
- Marriage Certificates: There is a separate document code for marriage certificates from 1997 forward. Prior to that time the certificate is part of the application record, and the image displayed, if any depending on the date, will be that of the marriage certificate.
- Wills & Death Certificates: We have very few of these recorded since they are typically recorded only when the attorney settling the estate finds it advantageous.
- Document Codes: Matches common document titles with the corresponding document code they will be found under.
- Short Plat Numbers: Short plat numbers are linked with the book/page of the corresponding recording.
My computer - It loves me, loves me not, loves me, loves me not...
Here is a quick list of suggestions for resolving the most common issues:
My results did not yield a particular document I am sure has been recorded
Dates: Has the appropriate date range been entered in exactly the format indicated?
Query Fields: If you have narrowed your search by entering information for fields listed, you may have inadvertently excluded a match with your target document. Try lifting some of these limitations from your query by setting some fields to a neutral value such as "everything".
Document Code: If you used the document code field to narrow your search, either confirm that it is correct by viewing the list of document codes, or follow the instruction listed above for "Query Fields".
I entered the parcel number, but only some of my documents were listed
The documents you are thinking of may have been recorded prior to 1/1/1997, thus would not include a parcel number to index.
The parcel number on the document was either absent or incorrect.
The parcel number was not indexed correctly. (sigh, this really did happen once)