Clerk Recorder

Hatch, Match & Dispatch
October 10, 2006
By Beth Gabor, Yolo County Public Information Officer & Kimberly Bellows, U.C. Davis Intern

Looking for a place to get married with little fuss? How about a passport agency? Or even someone who can provide the official record of the deed to your house? Look no further than the Yolo County Clerk-Recorder’s office, headed by Freddie Oakley.

This is the office of “hatch, match and dispatch,” in which copies of all birth, marriage and death certificates are housed. County Clerks are the only authorized wedding license issuers in the state, although they can deputize their staffs. The Clerk-Recorder is also the official keeper of documents for the county, from the certificates listed above to real property transactions to powers of attorney. If there is ever a question in Court about property transfers or powers of attorney, the Clerk-Recorder’s are the considered the official records and the final say. Because of the importance of these documents, copies of all are stored in a bombproof, virtually indestructible vault deep within the Sierra Mountains.

On the other side of security issues, Yolo County has been very proactive in state politics to stop attempts to send, and view, official documents over the Internet.

“Yolo County has led the charge to say ‘no, the system must be better,’ ” said Clerk-Recorder Oakley. “There needs to be better security before we even think about sharing documents over a system that can be so easily manipulated.”

The Clerk-Recorder’s office, as well as the Elections department, also headed by Oakley, has been fortunate to have had the consultant expertise of Matt Bishop, UC Davis Computer Science professor, specializing in intrusion studies, to help design all the programs that interact with the public, ensuring records can not be corrupted.

The Clerk-Recorder’s office also facilitates fictitious business name filings for the county. If anyone goes into business under a name other than his or her own, that name must be on file in the Clerk-Recorder’s office so that a member of the public can find the owner of the business. The office now offers a fictitious business name lookup on their website at

Additional services, not required by law, yet offered by the Clerk-Recorder’s office, include being a passport agent for the federal government. They also provide certification of California residence, based on voter registration, which is used primarily by U.C. Davis students. One of their specialties though, is conducting marriage ceremonies. If you are looking to be married by the Clerk-Recorder’s office, you will be pleased to know about their new Roland and Betsy Marchand Room, which includes an arch, seating and wedding-type décor.

Lastly, the office is committed to removing language barriers and offers all their services in Spanish as well as English. “We pride ourselves on being able to offer a variety of services to as many people as possible,” notes Oakley.

For more information, visit the Clerk-Recorder’s office in its new room at 625 Court Street, Room B01 in Woodland, or visit their website