Records are recorded by local officials in the order in which they are brought to the courthouse. Generally speaking this is relatively close to when the even took place–people generally have vital events recorded quickly.
The record where it is most likely to be a problem is with land deeds. For a variety of reasons, some deeds are not recorded promptly. People forget, things get temporarily lost, etc. Often the failure to record a deed is not realized until the purchaser dies and the family wants to sell the property and realizes the deed of purchase was never recorded.
Consequently it is imperative to search deeds for sometime after the transaction took place. It is not unheard of for a deed from the 1840s to be recorded in the 1880s or even after.
Learn more about land records in my October 2016 land records class.