Norfolk County Registry Of Deeds Historic Transcription Project

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is going back in time, 1793 to be exact.

Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell announces a project to modernize all handwritten deed documents dating back to when George Washington was President.

“The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds has been in existence for over 200 years. During that time, the Registry has gone from days of scriveners with quill pens to the modern era of computers and advanced document imaging. This project is an effort to transcribe images of handwritten deed documents dating back from 1793 to 1900,” O’Donnell said.

The Registry, which is one of the first in the country to transcribe hand-written deeds documents back to Revolutionary times, is managing a massive undertaking. The 207 years of transcriptions total more than 250,000 deeds, resulting in 12.5 million lines of print.

O’Donnell noted that half of the handwritten deeds are already on-line for viewing, and the project should be completed in about a year’s time.

“The project represents a special effort by the Registry to have an accurate representation of these handwritten deed documents. Additionally, its mission is to help the public perform historical, genealogical and land record research.

“A dedicated team of transcribers have been working to decipher these handwritten documents and transcribe them so they are available for viewing via our website,” O’Donnell said.

While the transcribers have made a best effort attempt to translate these hard to read documents, their accuracy is not guaranteed.

“These transcribed documents,” O’Donnell said, “are not legal documents in and of itself, and are  not considered binding on the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds or its employees. It is considered merely a convenient reference for Registry patrons. For documentation purposes, users should refer to the scanned image of the original document instead of the transcribed image.”

“As Register of Deeds, I take very seriously my responsibility to be the custodian of land document information in Norfolk County,” O’Donnell said. “Part of that responsibility is to ensure the accuracy and accessibility of these land documents. Future generations will now be able to read these transcribed images with the goal of ensuring a historically correct record of land documents in Norfolk County.”

To learn more about these and other Registry of Deeds events and initiatives, like the Registry on or follow us on

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, located at 649 High Street, Dedham is the principal office for real property in Norfolk County. The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information. Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center via telephone at (781) 461-6101, or on the web at

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West Of Chestnut Pre-Leasing Begins

Gate Residential on Tuesday announced the opening of a new marketing center at West of Chestnut, as pre-leasing begins for the 169-unit luxury lifestyle apartment community located in the heart of downtown Quincy.

The West of Chestnut marketing center is located across from West of Chestnut at 32 Chestnut St., and is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays noon to 5 p.m. Prospective renters will also have the opportunity to tour a model unit and sign leases for the studio, one- and two-bedroom units that are set to open May 1.

West of Chestnut features 169 highly-amenitized residential units in two six-story urban midrise buildings – including approximately 12,400 square feet of commercial and retail space on the ground level that will feature restaurants and active retail stores. Amenities include a top-of-the-line fitness center, cross-training studio, a club suite with a lounging media room, a dog-wash room, and an outdoor kitchen, fireplace and courtyard.

“We’re excited to announce the opening of our new marketing center and the start of leasing for West of Chestnut, a luxury lifestyle community with outstanding amenities that will attract a new wave of young professionals to Downtown Quincy,” said Damian Szary, principal at Gate Residential Properties. “West of Chestnut is set in a prime urban location with easy access to restaurants, shops and just a 3-minute walk to the Red Line and commuter rail service directly into Boston.”

West of Chestnut is a joint venture of Gate Residential and Quincy Mutual Fire Insurance Company, which owns the property adjacent to the iconic Granite Trust Building between Chestnut Street and Hancock Street. West of Chestnut, which was announced in 2014, has spurred additional development in the city’s downtown district.

Quincy Mutual has been in continuous operation in Quincy since it was founded in 1851 and is the majority investor in the downtown redevelopment.

“Our investment in this project is an investment in this city and the people who live and work here,” said K. Douglas Briggs, president and CEO of Quincy Mutual. “We are already seeing a new wave of investment by other developers, retailers and restaurants in the downtown who share our vision and faith for this great city.”

West of Chestnut is one of many new developments set for Quincy Center, which will include the renovated Quincy Center MBTA station, the newly-remodeled City Hall, and the expected Adams Green urban park. A second phase of West of Chestnut, called East of Chestnut – featuring 220 units with additional amenity and retail space, is also planned.

As a leading Boston-based developer, Gate Residential creates vibrant apartment communities in targeted urban areas near highly desirable employment and university markets that are easily accessible by public transportation. Founded in 2010, Gate Residential Properties, LLC is the multifamily development and investment arm of Redgate Holdings, LLC.

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Ask John Paul: AAA’s Car Doctor

I am thinking of replacing my ever so dependable 2001 Toyota Avalon with a car that would have similarly generous legroom as comfortable seats and ride.  My wife’s car, a 2010 Honda Accord an otherwise great car, but rides a bit too firm and legroom feels tighter, so it is not great for us on a road trip.   I was pleasantly surprised when I test drove a 2015 Subaru Outback recently.  It was quite comfortable and roomy with good visibility, and it offers some impressive active safety features like lane change warning and blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and pre-collision automatic braking.  I am seriously considering the Outback, but something just doesn’t feel “right”. On paper the car looks great but I’m not sure I would be happy with it. I am 50 and I think this latest safety technology could help me. In my search, all-wheel drive is not necessary, although based on last winter I would prefer it. I would like to keep the cost it under $45,000 and would appreciate your suggestions.

jpaulAAAmarkerThe Toyota Avalon in 2001 had about 41 inches of legroom. Three cars that can be ordered in all-wheel-drive that also meet or exceed the legroom of your Avalon are the Ford Fusion, Hyundai Genesis and Buick LaCrosse. Depending on what features you are looking for in addition to legroom, any one of these cars are easy to recommend.  The Fusion is small on the outside but has plenty of head and legroom. The Buick and the Hyundai are good solid cars with their own specific personalities. As you found out from looking at the Subaru you really need to find the car that best matches your budget, needs, desires and not just get a car because other people like them.

I own a 2010 Toyota Highlander Hybrid that I use rarely. I have this SUV because I don’t really need a car every day but do need a car/SUV from time to time. I ride a bike often and this Toyota seems pretty kind to the planet. Here is the problem, in the last couple of years it has developed an annoying condition that the battery goes dead. The original battery was replaced last year and I drive as little as possible to reduce pollution. At a recent trip to the repair shop they could find nothing wrong with the battery or charging system. They did recharge the battery and only suggested the problem was me not driving enough, any ideas?

The problem could be simply a result of your hybrid sitting idle for too long. Toyota recommends to their dealers if a hybrid car or SUV is going to be in storage that the accessory battery is disconnected. Short of disconnecting the battery; consider installing a battery charger such as the Battery Tender. These battery maintainer/chargers will keep the battery charged without over charging and are designed to be left connected when the car is parked. In addition many 2006-2010 Highlander hybrids have been recalled for an issue with Intelligent Power Module (IPM) inside the vehicle’s electrical inverter module, although it may not be the cause of your vehicles problem if your vehicle is part of the recall it should be taken care of.

 I’m looking for a car to get me to the train, about seven miles a day, but would like to spend as little as possible. I am okay with something over 100,000 miles, but do need a car with some size. I do see that 2000-03 Buicks, Lincolns, and Cadillacs can be had for about $5000 with around 150,000 miles on them. What are your thoughts about buying a car with high miles?

Any one of these cars can be good or bad choices, it really depends on how the car was maintained and driven. Recently I saw at a great looking 2000 Toyota Camry that sold for $3500. This Camry was very clean, had the original paint (no prior body work) and appeared well maintained. To my surprise the car had 230,000 miles, but it sounded like it would last another 100,000 miles. All in all I thought the car was well bought.

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Ask John Paul: AAA’s Car Doctor

I drive a 1989 Jeep Grand Cherokee with almost 200.000 miles without any big issues. Recently I have noticed the air conditioner doesn’t drip water on my garage the way it once did. My garage (not a Jeep dealer) tells me in order to solve that problem the dashboard has to be removed and that sounds like a big job. Hopefully you have a better suggestion?

John Paul

John Paul

All air conditioner systems remove moisture from the air to reduce humidity. That condensation collects on the air conditioner evaporator and drips out the evaporator drain hose. Over time the evaporator drain can clogged with debris such as leaves and pine needles. Usually all it takes to get the evaporator to drain again is to clean the drain hose. But here is the problem; Jeep didn’t use a drain hose they designed the evaporator to drain through the body of the vehicle. There are several videos posted online that show a simple fix. You drill a quarter inch hole in the drain and clean the buildup of debris and then use compressed air to get the evaporator to drain again.

I am considering purchasing a BMW 2 series AWD convertible and was wondering how good it would be in the snow and how safe the soft top would be or would you recommend the Audi A3 convertible and why? Would I need to put 4 snows on either one of these cars if I plan to drive them year round?

The BMW and The Audi in this category are very close matches. The BMW is just a little bigger but slightly heavier, the performance is similar with the A3 having a slight edge in fuel economy. Both a great small luxury cars that are fun to drive all year round and with regards to safety both offer roll over protection to protect the occupants Regarding snow tires, to get the best winter performance snow tires are recommended. The bottom line buy: the car you like, with either car you can’t go wrong.

Lately when I bring my 1993 Ford truck in for an oil change, they ask if I want the high mileage oil change or a regular oil change. The regular oil change is about $30 while the change with the high mileage oil is about $50. I have 150k miles on my truck. Is it worth the extra cost for the high mileage oil change for a truck with 150k miles on it? I thought I read in a different newspaper you weren’t convinced that the high mileage oil was worth it.

The high mileage oil has some additives that help preserve engine seals, reduce smoking, slow oil leaks and remove sludge build up. Some time back I had Felix Rouse from Valvoline on my radio program to talk about high mileage oils as well as some other issues that relate to oil. Prior to talking with Felix I was convinced that high mileage oils were created in the marketing department not the engineering department. Your question is it worth the extra cost, maybe?

We purchased a new Honda CRV three weeks ago. After the second day I noticed a potentially dangerous issue. When slowing down to approximately 15-20 MPH and then giving it the gas, there is about a one second delay before the car moves. It doesn’t happen all the time. The first time I was making a left turn with oncoming traffic. As I was making the turn the car just wouldn’t move. I had plenty of time to make the turn but now found myself almost stuck in the middle of the intersection. This has now happened about 10 times. Not just making left turns but it can happen any time you slow down to about 15-20 MPH and then give it the gas. Went to the dealer and naturally they couldn’t find anything wrong. I suspect it has something to do with the transmission. Have you heard of this problem and are there any recalls for this issue?

I road tested the CR-V when it first came out for 2015 and didn’t notice any issues with the transmission or hesitation. The CVT transmission does have a different “feel” to it but again never a hesitation. The database that I use didn’t list any bulletins for this vehicle. At this point I would stay in touch with the dealer and see if Honda issues any computer updates that could smooth out the issue. A search online shows some consumer issues with this vehicle but to me the number seem minimal compared to the number of CR-Vs sold. Readers are you having problems with your 2015 Honda CR-V email me –


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Ask John Paul: AAA’s Car Doctor

I have a 1997 Ford Mustang and the air conditioning will not blow out of the dash vents.  When I turn it on the air only blows out of the defroster.  Do you know what I need to do to fix it and how much it will cost?

John Paul

John Paul

The heater air-conditioner system uses a series of vacuum controls to operate the duct system. For safety reasons the defroster setting works if there is a vacuum loss. Since the defroster is working the problem is a loss of vacuum. The problem could be as simple as a vacuum line leak.

 I have two cars: and I wanted to check the brakes. The front disc brakes were easy but I can’t get the rear drums off. Although the drums spin, I can’t get them off. Do you have any suggestions on how to do this without parts flying off or breaking something?

In both cases the brake drums won’t slide off due to a ridge of rust on the brake drums or the drum is rusted to the hub. First try penetrating oil such at PB-Blaster and allow it to soak in to dissolve the rust. Then using a heavy hammer strike between the lugs to break the drum lose. You also may back the brake adjustment off to permit enough clearance to allow the drum to slide off over the brake shoes.

If I were to buy an electric car, I would most likely install a charger in my garage. What amperage circuit is required and what about the connector? Can I just charge it with a normal outlet plug and would something like a dryer connector and plug work? Have you driven an electric car lately?

Today’s electric or plug-in hybrids use a standard 120 volt convenience plug or a dedicated and standardized 240 volt plug and charger. Chargers are available through a variety of sources and will generally require a 30/40 amp circuit breaker. This is not a DIY project; my suggestion would be to have the charger installed by a licensed electrician who has received training on this type installation. Recently I was driving a KIA Soul E/V and it had a 105 mile range. The car was a great car to drive and performed well but charging was best performed with a 240 volt charger. As an example I live about 48 miles from work, with the range of the KIA I was able to drive to work and home and still have a few miles to go. When I plugged in the 110 volt charger it took about 16 hours to fully recharge the battery. If this was a 240 volt charger the car would have been fully recharged in four to five hours. KIA also included a direct current “fast-charge” port which can recharge the battery to about 80 percent in 30 minutes.

I recently pulled into a gas station that was out of regular fuel and offered me premium at the regular price. When I asked about the benefits of premium the guy at the station told me I would be better fuel mileage. When I checked the mileage I didn’t see any difference, what is the real story?

The result you saw was typical, if your car is not designed to use premium fuel it is unlikely you will see any benefit from using it. If your car is  designed to use premium and you use regular you could see reduced fuel mileage and performance as well in some cases possible engine damage.

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