31 Days to Better Genealogy – Day 21
I’m taking Amy Crow’s challenge for 31 Days to Better Genealogy and blog Amy’s questions, with my answers; I plan to make one blog post, adding daily. Hopefully by the end of the 31 days, I will learn how to better solve some of my genealogy questions. If you haven’t signed up yet, just click on the link below… never too late to catch up!
31 Days to Better Genealogy by Amy Johnson Crow gives you practical steps to make your research more productive. Whether you are just beginning to climb your family tree or have been doing this for years, you can adapt the tips and methods in 31 Days to Better Genealogy to suit your needs.
Day 21 – Use Land Records
Amy’s tip today on Day 21 is on land records, and she had several good points I’d like to share! These tips are invaluable as you begin your land research… how often have you struggled to understand certain words in the land records.
Grantee: the person or persons buying the land… Always good to be reminded as sometimes when I read through the deeds, I second guess myself.
Grantor: the person or persons who sells the land…and check who the witnesses are, as often they are family.
Names: the names of the people who are buying, as well as selling, will be on the land deed. Often the name of the wife of the grantor is listed as she must relinquish dower rights to the land in order for it to be sold free and clear… I only wish they used their maiden names in all documents as most women in Europe did.
Residences: the deed often gives a legal description of the land…. How awesome is that to give you just a little more insight into picturing the land area.
So Amy’s main tip today was to “pay close attention” to those deeds and all they contain; they often can even reveal the exact location of where they previously lived.
Consideration: an amount the buyer of the land pays… gives you an idea of their worth and in the area they are buying in. Pay close attention to the exact amount of money that exchanges between parties – is it a “token” amount as Amy mentioned – or possibly even “no money” changed hands. Just by looking at the amount of money could be the clue that tells you if there is a relationship between the two parties.
Deed Types – Warranty Deed: There are more than just one type of deed… a “Warranty Deed” is where the grantor sells the land to the grantee – free and clear.
Deed Types – Quit Claim: A deed where the grantor sells their claim on the land, or their share of the land; others can also still have claim to the land.
Land Records: Today we are fortunate in being able to access land records in places like FamilySearch, as well as local websites of the counties. A valuable tip from Amy, is to also check out FamilySearch Wiki.
Learn the legal wording of those documents – that will help when you trace the land through tax records; always check the adjoining land owners – family live close by.
In reading through Amy’s tips today, I will be taking a second look at many of the land deeds I’ve gathered already and dissect them as if I was in English class. If only I had taken the time to check the land of bordering neighbors of my ancestors…. that might have been the real clues – as family stayed near family.
This will should give me lots of practice to try out Amy’s tips!
My To Do List:
- Learn who is responsible for maintaining the land records in the area where my research will take me.
- Explore their website (if one)
- Explore FamilySearch for the record collections of areas I plan to search.
- Check FamilySearch catalog for microfilm records of areas of interest.
I just pressed my “THANKS AMY” button!!!
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