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Sandra A. Schepp
Onondaga County Clerk
401 Montgomery St.
Room 200
Syracuse, NY 13202

Phone: (315) 435-2227
Office Hours:
Mon - Fri:  8:30a - 4:30p

Must be in line by 4:15 in order to file documents.


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Departments/Services

The following is a list of Departments and Services provided by the Onondaga County Clerk's Office. Click on the link below for more information.

Archives
Civil Actions
Conservation
DBA - Doing Business As...
Judgments
Miscellaneous Records
Mortgages
Notary Service
Passports
Uniform Commercial Code

Archives & Microfilm 435-2237

What is contained in this department?
This department contains records from 1794 to the present. It also supports the restoration and preservation of all maps detailing the Onondaga County area.

Where can I find information on Military Discharges?
Military discharges for Veterans of Onondaga County, which are filed by the veterans, are held in the Archives area. Veterans or their families may file their discharge papers with the County Clerk. Images of these papers are kept permanently. At any time, the veteran or their designated agent are able to obtain certified copies of these papers at no charge to the veteran.

How much research is available in the Records Department?
Storage and retrieval of over 47,320 cubic feet of active files, both legal and historical. This is a place for genealogical research and investigation. In fact, Onondaga County is where two major canals met. Our records show that 90% of the people that traveled west came through this county and left their mark in various areas of our historical records.

What are some of the oldest dated documents?

The Miscellaneous records are dated from 1794 to the present. Directories on the Syracuse area start from 1861 to the present. Census records are dated from 1850 to 1925. The Clerk’s office has records of Civil War enlistees and specific regiments, as well as the Revolutionary War ballot book showing listings of veterans and which parcels of land they received . The Clerk’s office has marriage records from 1908 to 1938 for the city of Syracuse, and Naturalization records from 1808 to the present.

How can I assess the historical value of specific property?
The Miscellaneous Record Department is also a place to date the historical values of hours of business. The land use over a historical period of time may be researched as well. There are also many interesting artifacts to discover, such as the 1938 aerial maps of Onondaga County, which were filed before the land rush of the Second World War.

If you know the address of the property:

•Look in the directories for previous owners or businesses, and check for the area to see historical significance in that area or street.
•Check out tract maps, most early builders filed the tract maps and built the houses or business buildings in a tract area.
•Check the business certificates, to see who the owners were and who the sponsors of the business were and the purpose.

If you know the area or town:
•Look in the directories for industries in the area, people and wealth in the area, what the area is near, and the when the area was built.
•Check the tract and street maps to see who built the area.
•Check deeds to see who owned the area.



CIVIL ACTIONS 435-2234

Civil Actions
A $210.00 check payable to the Onondaga County Clerk for assigning an index number, starts a civil action proceeding.
A civil action file may include court orders, affidavits, summons, complaints or any document pertaining to that action and bearing the assigned index number. If you do not know the index number assigned to your action, a $5.00 fee will be charged for every two years searched.

Common Questions:

How do I view Civil Action files?
Files can be viewed in person in the Civil Action Department. Cases are put together on respective files. Confidential files are not open to the public, however, indexes of these records are available for viewing. Other Civil Action cases include: orders, summons, judgments, complaints and foreclosures and are available for public viewing.

Who has access to these files?
All civil action files are open to public view – with the exception of confidential files, records sealed by court order, and matrimonial files are available to husband, wife and attorney of record

CONSERVATION (315) 435-2235

Hunting and Fishing Licenses Hunting & Fishing Applications are available at the Onondaga County Clerk’s Office. The Clerk’s office also has Wildlife, Hunting, Trapping & Fishing Regulation Maps and Guides available. Sporting License Year is October 1st – September 30th of the following year. Sales Year is from Mid-August through September 30.
Note: Big Game Hunters must also apply for Deer Management Permits.

Requirements for Licenses:
1. For hunting and bow licenses a previous hunting license or hunter safety course certificate is needed for proof of eligibility. (Back Tags are not accepted)
2. Proof of identification, Drivers License or Photo I.D.
3. New York State Residency. (Non Resident Licenses are available.) Lost Your License?? You must contact agent who sold you your last license. If they have a record of your sale, they can issue a replacement license for $5.00 per stamp. Photo I.D. is required. For information on hunter education courses and certificates contact the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation at (518) 457-3521.



BUSINESS CERTIFICATES / DBA (315) 435-2235

DBA (Doing Business As) Filings
One of the functions of the County Clerk's Office is to accept certificates of persons conducting business under an assumed business name for filing. These transactions are commonly called DBA (doing business as) filings. The General Business Law requires that DBA certificates are filed by individuals or partners when they conduct commercial activity under a name that is not their given name. Filing a DBA protects the name from use by others in the county where it is filed.
The law requires that DBA certificates contain specific language. It is advised that a filer consult with an attorney to complete the appropriate forms, particularly if filing a partnership.
There are three basic DBA filings:
Original
Amendment
Discontinuance

These forms are available at the County Clerk’s Office for $1.00 each., or purchase standard forms from a legal stationary store.

Original DBA
Prior to filing an original DBA, a review of business names already assigned to ensure that the desired name is available MUST be completed. The list is available for public viewing at the Clerk's Office. Once the filer is sure the desired name is available he/she may complete the DBA form. Forms are placed on record with a clerk at the Business Certificate Department. The fee is $25.00 to file a certificate, $5.00 for one certified copy for proof of filing. A certified copy is normally required by banks when opening a business account(s).

Amending a DBA
A DBA can be amended by filing the appropriate amendment form at the Clerk's Office. Amendments can only be filed to change the business address, the business name and to add or remove (withdraw) partners. Amendments and withdrawals require a reference to the original, or most recent filing, this information can be obtained at the County Clerk’s Office. The filing fee for the amendment is $25.00 and $5.00 for a certified copy.

Discontinuing a DBA
A DBA should be discontinued when the individuals or partners cease to conduct business. Like amendments and withdrawals, a discontinuance requires reference to the original filing and any amendments, this information can be obtained at the County Clerk’s Office. There is no fee for filing a discontinuance.

Incorporation and Partnership DBA's
Two additional business related filings that are recorded at the Clerk's Office are Certificates of Incorporation and Limited Liability Partnerships.
These records are filed at County level by the Department of State after you have been incorporated with them. For information please contact New York State Department of State they will give you the appropriate filing instructions.
Since August 1991, limited partnership agreements, amendments and dissolutions are filed with the New York Department of State. Pursuant to the law, we can not accept discontinuance for limited partnerships filed here subsequent to August 1991. Please file with the Department of State.

Summary of Filing a DBA:
1) You must purchase a DBA form(s).
They are available wherever legal forms are sold. Or they maybe requested by mail be sending a self address stamped envelope to Business Certificate Department, Onondaga County Clerk’s Office, 401 Montgomery Street, Syracuse, New York 13202 with the fee of $1.00 per form.
2) Bring the forms to the County Clerk's Office, County Courthouse, 401 Montgomery Street, Room 200, Syracuse, NY 13215. You must check to make sure that the same or similar name you select for your business is not already on file in our DBA registry. If the name is available, you must submit the original completed notarized form(s) with fees for filing.
3) DBA forms can be mailed to the Clerk's Office.
PLEASE NOTE: An additional $25.00 search fee must be included. All Business certificates mailed to this office require our staff to complete a name search of our indexes prior to filing.
4) Changes to DBA's such as the names of principals, withdrawals & addresses require an amendment form to be filed. This Form if properly filed out and notarized maybe mailed.
5) There is no filing fee for a Discontinue to a DBA. A properly filed out and notarized document many be mailed to us.
Our office can notarize your document while you are here. You will be asked to show valid photo identification..
6) The Onondaga County Clerk’s Office does have DBA form(s) available the fee is $1.00 each.
See Fees for a complete list of County Clerk Fees.




Judgments 435-8200

What does the Judgment Department file?
Final Judgments from Supreme Court Judges and County Court Judges are filed within this department.

Where do Judgments come from?
Aside from local judges, many judgments come from out of town/state and are sent in the form of a transcript. The general public can view these files.

How long do Judgments & Liens last?
Judgment Transactions are good for 10 years against real estate, and 20 years against personal property. A judgment can be renewed against property for additional 10 years by a court order. Liens are only good against specified property for year stated on lien.



Miscellaneous Records (315) 435-8200

What is in the Miscellaneous Records Department?
This records department contains Subdivision and Tract maps dating back to the year 1799. Located on the 2nd floor of the County Court House, this department holds the other records that don't fall into the other specific departments of the office such as titles affidavits, release of lien of estate tax, county & town resolutions, city tax discharges and death certificates.

Older filing are located in the Photostat/Microfilm dept in the basement of the courthouse . Not all death certificates are filed with the County Clerk, only if they relate to property. All death records are filed with The Department of Vital Statistics, 435-3241


Mortgages & Deeds 435-8250

What is a mortgage?
In general terms, a mortgage is an instrument in writing that imposes a lien on or affects the title to real property with such property being used as security for the payment of money or the performance of an obligation. A mortgage includes certain deeds of trust and executory contracts for the sale of real property.

Who is the Mortgagor?
The mortgagor is the borrower under a mortgage loan.

Who is the Mortgagee?
A mortgagee is a lender under a mortgage loan. Mortgage instruments must include all mortgagors and mortgagees, their addresses, principal mortgage amount, legal description of the property (lot #, block #, tract, city or town) and 1-2 family dwelling clause if applicable. All documents must be complete, legible & properly notarized.

To record a mortgage:
•The base fee to record a mortgage is $45.50
plus $5.00 for coverpage

Additional pages are $5.00 each
•The cover page is generated by the county clerk.
•Mortgage tax is 1% (less $25.00 if improved by a 1-2 family dwelling and over $10,000.)
•Documents that effect a mortgage (for example: discharges or assignments), there is an additional $ .50 fee for the cross reference.

How far back are the County's records dated?
Onondaga County records date back to 1794. As long as an owner of land is known ownership may be traced.

What is a deed?
Deeds transfer ownership of real property also known as real estate or parcels of land. Deeds will not tell you specifically what is on the land. For example, it can not tell you if the land has been improved by a family home, apartment complex, church, business, or bank.
Whenever something occurs that affects the land in any way, it is recorded through the County Clerk's deed department.
An easement or right of way gives permission to use the land not transfer ownership.

To Record a Deed:
The base fee to record a deed is $45.50
Each page is $5.00
The cover page is generated
Transfer tax is $4.00 per thousand
Note: Documents that effect a deed have an additional $ .50 fee for the cross reference. (ex. Corrective deed).

What else is kept in the Mortgage & Deed Department?
Wills are also recorded in this department for transfer of ownership to beneficiary. Transfer tax stamps on deeds are used to show purchase price of parcel. The old 1794 records are very interesting to read, although very difficult to read as well. All of the post Revolutionary documents were recorded by hand.


Notary Services 435-2226

Notaries
New York State Law requires the licensing and testing of notaries. The application packet, including instructions, test dates and locations is available at the County Clerk's Office.
Upon notification of passing the written test, it is your responsibility to mail the application with the notification to the New York State Licensing Commission in Albany, with a check for $60.00. Your application will be reviewed and if a license is issued, it will be valid for four years.

Notary Renewal
At the end of four years, your notary commission is renewed through the County Clerk's Office. You may submit your renewal card and a $60.00 check payable to the "Onondaga County Clerk", one month prior to the expiration of your commission. You have until six months after expiration to renew. If not renewed within the six months, you will need to start the process all over again from the beginning.
Please note: you will receive your new notary identification card from Albany in 6-8 weeks from the time you file your renewal at the Clerk's Office. You may, however continue to notarize in the interim.

Notary Changes
If you are a notary in another county and wish to also file in Onondaga County, we require proof from your original issuing county and a $10.00 check payable to the "Onondaga County Clerk."
If your name, address or other personal information changes, you are required to notify the State Licensing Commission in Albany at 518-474-4429.


Passports 435-2235

Passports can be applied for at the Onondaga County Clerk’s Office Monday through Friday

To Download a passport, amendment or renewal applications visit: http://www.travel.state.gov/download_applications.html

When applying for a passport, please be prepared to provide the following:
1. A completed application, type written or neatly printed in black ink only. DO NOT sign the form until in the presence of a Clerk. (applications available at the County Clerk’s Office.
2. Proof of U.S. citizenship in one of three forms: birth certificate with a raised seal *; original naturalization papers, or an expired U.S. passport issued in your name (not canceled).
3. Two identical passport photos, 2" x 2" with a white background and a full front view of your head and shoulders. Pictures must be taken within the last six months. Pictures are taken at our office for a $15.00 fee.
4.$110.00 cash, check, or money order payable to "U.S. Department of State" and $25.00 payable to “Onondaga County Clerk”
5. Required additional Identification may include a valid driver’s license, a current student or military ID with photo, or naturalization papers issued to you as an adult for identification.
6. All Applicants under the age of 18 must appear with parents or legal guardian. Parent or guardian must present identification, i.e. drivers license.

If you were born in Onondaga County you may obtain a copy of your birth certificate by contacting the Bureau of Vital Statistics, 435-3241.

Passports for those under the age of 16
Rules governing the issuance of passports to children under the age of 16 were recently revised by the U.S. Department of State. Both parents or the child’s legal guardian(s) must be present at the time of application.

Both parents or legal guardian must:

1. present evidence of the child’s U.S. citizenship.
2. present evidence that they are the parents or guardian.
3. show valid identification.
4. sign and take an oath before an authorized passport acceptance agent.
5. Show documentation that parent/guardian is in this country legally.

If the second parent is not available to sign, the appearing parent must do all of the above and:
1. present evidence that he/she has sole custody of the child, or
2. present a completed "statement of consent" form – DS-3053.

If no parent is available to sign, a third party must:
1 appear with a notarized statement or affidavit from both parents or custodial parents authorizing the third party to apply for a passport for their child. When the statement or affidavit if from only one parent, the third party must present evidence of sole custody of that authorizing parent.

All applicants are required to have:
1. A social security number
2. A parent is to produce photo identification showing the same last name as the child, i.e. drivers license; guardian is to bring guardianship document. Supporting documents could include an original marriage certificate, court ordered birth certificate, or other documentation that would support the name change, correction or amendment. No processing fees are required.

Fees for a child 15 and under is $80.00 made payable to the "US Department of State" and $25.00 to the "Onondaga County Clerk".

Lost or Stolen Passports
Lost or stolen passports must be reported to the Onondaga County Clerk’s Office when you apply for a replacement. A lost or stolen passport form must be submitted with a new passport application including as much information as possible about the loss or theft of your previous passport. If your passport is recovered, it must be returned to the Office of the Onondaga County Clerk.

Renew A Passport
To renew a passport by mail, submit a completed application, your most recent passport, two identical passport photos with a white background taken within the last six months, and a check or money order for  $110.00 payable to "U.S. Department of State" to the National Passport Center listed on the application.

Please Note: you must have been at least 16 at the time your previous passport was issued, and it must have been issued less than 15 years ago. Also, you must use the same name as on your most recent passport or submit your marriage certificate or court order if your name has changed.

Now available the Passport Card for those traveling by land and sea only between the US and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. The cost for this is $55.00 for adults and $40.00 for children under the age of 16. This price includes our ($25.00) execution fee.



Uniform Commercial Code 435-8200

The County Clerk only files real estate related filings as of July 1, 2001, all others are filed through the Department of State.

What is a Uniform Commercial Code?

In a credit based economy where people make monthly payments, the Uniform Commercial Code protects business. When a citizen makes a purchase on a costly product and establishes a payment plan with the business, businesses can place a U.C.C. filing in your name. This document states your agreement with the business to make the payments. If the agreement is violated, then businesses have cause for repossession of products.

How long can U.C.C. filings last?
U.C.C. filings can last up to five years and be renewed. The Onondaga County Clerk's Office has some active U.C.C. filings dated back to 1960s.

What if there is a UCC filing against me?
The public can come to the County Clerk's Office to search our computer database for all active U.C.C. filings.

 

 
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