FamilySearch Adds Over 4.6 Million Indexed Records & Images for Australia, Canada, China, India, Peru, the Philippines, and the USA

The following is from FamilySearch. This posting is of databases announced by FamilySearch on May 18 & 26.

FamilySearch Logo 2014

FamilySearch has added to its collections more than 4.6 million indexed records and images for Australia, Canada, China, India, Peru, the Philippines, and the United States. Notable collection updates include 327,195 images from the Peru, Lima, Civil Registration, 1874–1996 collection; 275,449 images from the Peru, Puno, Civil Registration, 1890–2005 collection; 249,700 images from the Peru, San Martín, Civil Registration, 1850–1999 collection; 643,899 images from the Peru, Áncash, Civil Registration, 1888–2005 collection; 608,881 images from the Peru, Junín, Civil Registration, 1881–2005 collection; and 531,346 images from the US, Illinois, Northern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1906–1994 collection. See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 5.8 billion other records for free at FamilySearch.org.

Searchable historic records are made available on FamilySearch.org through the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world. These volunteers transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published online at FamilySearch.org. Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the world’s historical genealogical records online at FamilySearch.org.

FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources for free at FamilySearch.org or through more than 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Collection – Indexed Records – Digital Images – Comments

Australia, New South Wales, 1828 Census – 0 – 2,530 – New browsable image collection.

Australia, Tasmania, Civil Registration of Births, 1899–1912 – 0 – 12,662 – New browsable image collection.

Australia, Tasmania, Correspondence of the Immigration Office Concerning the Nomination, Arrival, and Settlement of Migrants, 1920–1943 – 0 – 90 – Added images to an existing collection.

Australia, Tasmania, Miscellaneous Records, 1829–1961 – 0 – 50,885 – Added images to an existing collection.

Australia, Tasmania, Government Gazette, 1833–1925 – 0 – 101,074 – New browsable image collection.

Australia, Victoria, Assisted Immigrant Arrivals at Victorian Ports, 1839–1871 – 0 – 127,892 – New browsable image collection.

Canada Passenger Lists, 1881–1922 – 0 – 2,111 – Added images to an existing collection.

Canada, Newfoundland, Vital Statistics, 1753–1893 – 191,573 – 0 – New indexed record collection.

China Collection of Genealogies, 1239–2014 – 0 – 142,311 – Added images to an existing collection.

India, Hindu Pilgrimage Records, 1194–2015 – 0 – 143,871 – Added images to an existing collection.

Peru, Áncash, Civil Registration, 1888–2005 – 0 – 643,899 – Added images to an existing collection.

Peru, Cusco, Civil Registration, 1889–1997 – 0 – 287,219 – Added images to an existing collection.

Peru, Junín, Civil Registration, 1881–2005 – 0 – 608,881 – Added images to an existing collection.

Peru, La Libertad, Civil Registration, 1903–1998 – 0 – 110,758 – Added images to an existing collection.

Peru, Lima, Civil Registration, 1874–1996 – 0 – 327,195 – Added images to an existing collection.

Peru, Moquegua, Civil Registration, 1850–1996 – 0 – 22,743 – New browsable image collection.

Peru, Puno, Civil Registration, 1890–2005 – 116,677 – 275,449 – Added images to an existing collection.

Peru, San Martín, Civil Registration, 1850–1999 – 0 – 249,700 – New browsable image collection.

Philippines, Eastern Samar, Roman Catholic Diocese of Borongan, Parish Registers, 1842–1984 -0 – 32,304 – New browsable image collection.

US, California County Naturalizations, 1849–1949 – 0 – 99,436 – New browsable image collection.

US, Illinois, Northern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1906–1994 – 0 – 531,346 – Added images to an existing collection.

US, Indiana, Marriages, 1811–2007 – Added images to an existing collection now totaling 1,242,528 images.

US, Michigan, Probate Records, 1797–1973 – 0 – 12,871 – Added images to an existing collection.

US, Minnesota, County Birth Records, 1863–1983 – 0 – 9,777 – Added images to an existing collection.

US, Minnesota, County Deaths, 1850–2001 – 0 – 367,790 – New browsable image collection.

US, Missouri, Deaths, 1835–1976 – 0 – 13,734 – New browsable image collection.

US, Utah Applications Indian War Service Medals, 1905–1912 – 0 – 7,861 – New browsable image collection.

US, Utah, Salt Lake City Cemetery Records, 1847–1976 – 0 – 70,504 – New browsable image collection.

US, Wisconsin, Milwaukee Petitions to Naturalization, 1848–1991 – 0 – 289 – Added images to an existing collection.

United States, Cancelled, Relinquished, or Rejected Land Entry Case Files, 1861–1932 – 0 – 161,468 – Added images to an existing collection.

Land Causes, Accomack County, Virginia, 1727-1826 – 50% Off Thru Thursday, May 15

FRPC just bought a quantity of a popular Virginia Eastern Shore source book to run as this weekend’s FRPC Exceptional Bargain offer. It’s titled Land Causes, Accomack County, Virginia, 1727-1826. If you’ve got Eastern Shore Virginia ancestry, this is a great hard back book to add to your collection. Normally $28.50, it’s 50% off, making it just $14.25 – now through Thursday, May 15, 2014.

Following is a review written by Andy Pomeroy.

cf4177I cannot imagine writing a better summary for Land Causes: Accomack County, Virginia, 1727-1826, than the one provided in its preface:

The records included in this volume are invaluable to anyone interested in Eastern Shore genealogy, and, the compiler believe, will prove to be a valuable addition to Virginia genealogy in general. The Land Causes or chancery suits for dower, division of lands, ejectment proceedings & c., give in full the declaration of the plaintiff, the answer of the defendants, the verdict of the jury, depositions, in many instances giving the date of birth, death and marriage of the parties; land is traced form the original patent to about 1825, showing the various owners and their descendants and next of kin through many generations. The records include those of the District Court as well as those of the County Court. In suits for division or ejectment when any of the interested parties have left the county or State, their then place of residence is given.

The abstracts in most cases are the special verdicts of juries, which sum up and give in concrete from the declarations and answers – Depositions of unusual interest, or which show anything not set out in the verdict, are also fully abstracted.

The compiler wishes to acknowledge his appreciation to Mr. John D. Grant, Jr. Clerk, and his Deputies, for the many courtesies extended him while making these abstracts.
 

If Land Causes: Accomack County, Virginia, 1727-1826 has the type of record you are looking for, then Family Roots Publishing has a copy waiting for you.

 

Following is a surname index for the volume.

Check Out Plat Plotter

Plat-Plotter

Plat Plotter converts deed ‘metes-and-bounds’ into a Plat of Survey for your use with digital maps, as well as GPS devices. According to the website, “Plat Plotter is a free, cloud-based application that uses real estate deed metes-and-bounds to plot the property boundary on a digital map. Plat Plotter converts deed ‘metes-and-bounds’ into a Plat of Survey that can be viewed in Google Maps, imported into a mapping program like Google Earth, loaded into a GPS device, sent to a printing service or shared with others.”

Check it out.

Land Owners in Ireland 1876

cf2963Land Owners in Ireland 1876 presents the returns from a count of land owners of one acre or more throughout the country. The process began in 1873 when the Local Government Board in Ireland decided to ascertain the number and names of land owners. Clerks from Poor Law Unions extracted lists of owners from the property valuation and rate books in their custody. The Local Government Board collected these returns, alphabetized the results, and published them under the title Return of Owners of Land of One Acre and Upwards, in the Several Counties, Counties of Cities, and Counties of Towns in Ireland.

The intent in creating this return was to show the following for each county in Ireland:

  1. “The number and names of owners of land of one acre and upwards, whether build upon or not; including lessees for terms exceeding 99 years, or with a right of perpetual renewal, with the acreage and net annual value of the property belonging to each owner as shown in the valuation lists.
  2. The number of owners of land, whether build upon or not, of less than one acre, with the aggregate area and net annual value of such property.
  3. The estimated area of Waste Land.”

Having collected the names form all land owners of one acre or more, these collected returns represent a significant portion of the population. In fact, the list represents nearly 50% of all land owners. (There were 32,614 owners of land of one acre and 36,144 unnamed owners of less than one acre.)

The returns are organized by provinces (Leinster, Munster, Ulster, and Connaught), then by counties, and thereunder alphabetically by the name of the landowner, giving his address, the extent of his property (acreage), and its valuation. The work constitutes an official inventory of land ownership and is in effect an 1870s-style Domesday Book for Ireland.

 

Family Roots Publishing has Land Owners in Ireland 1876 available for $34.00, just click here to order.

Genealogist Gail Blankenau uses Homestead Act records via Fold3 and Ancestry.com to discover Mary Myers of Gage County, Nebraska

The following was shared with us by Thomas MacEntee:
Mary Myers of Gage County, Nebraska, first female homesteader
June 18, 2013 – Lincoln, Nebraska. Professional genealogist Gail Blankenau has recently solved an ongoing mystery: Who was the first woman to secure a homestead in her own right through the Homestead Act of 1862? The answer can now be revealed thanks to family history records available at both Ancestry.com and Fold3: Mary Myers, a widow, of Gage County, Nebraska. Myers applied for a homestead at the Brownville Land Office on 20 January 1863, just 19 days after Daniel Freeman, the first homesteader via the Homestead Act. Freeman’s certificate of payment is Certificate No. 1 and Myer’s is Certificate No. 3.

The Homestead Act of 1862 provided women with a unique opportunity to own land in their own right. A woman who was age 21 and the head of a family was eligible to apply under the Act. Thousands of women—widows, divorcees, single women, and deserted women—applied for a chance at independence.

Under the provisions of the Act, a settler had to build a dwelling, cultivate the land, and be in continuous residence for a five-year period. Settlers faced many hardships, including lack of water, bad weather, insects, and loneliness. Only 40% of those who applied for land were able to complete the process and secure a land patent.

Blankenau came across the records for Mary Myers while preparing for a presentation on women homesteaders at the upcoming National Homestead Monument’s Land Records and Genealogy Symposium on July 12 and 13, 2013, in Beatrice Nebraska. The land entry case file on the popular genealogy website Fold3, contains Mary Myer’s required affidavit stating that she had met all of the Act’s provisions.

“It is so important for us to celebrate the contributions of pioneer women like Mary Myers,” says Blankenau. “When delving into the land entry files, there are all sorts of details of their lives, details that aren’t easily found in many other records. Women were often the silent partner in land deals, but as female homesteaders, they could take center stage.”

Also see the post at the Ancestry.com blog.

About Gail Blankenau
Gail Blankenau is a professional genealogist, speaker and author, specializing in German genealogy, land records, and lineage research. Gail has written for the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, The Genealogist, Everton’s Genealogical Helper, Family Chronicle and Internet Genealogy. If it deals with genealogy, she probably does it. Learn more at Discover Family History (http://www.discoverfamilyhistory.com/)

Savannah, Georgia, Records of Titles, 1791-1971 digitized and posted at Ancestry.com

City-of-Savannah-Cemetery-Deeds

I see that Ancestry.com has just posted a new database made up of 3,784 new records from the digitized Savannah, Georgia Records of Titles 1791-1971. The data is mostly from the Laurel Grove Cemetery, although early entries also seem to be for the sale of city lots by the City of Savannah. The original data came from Laurel Grove Cemetery – Records of Titles. Savannah, Georgia: Research Library & Municipal Archives City of Savannah, Georgia.

The following is from the Ancestry.com website:

This database contains books of indentures between citizens and the city of Savannah, Georgia. Most are for the purchase of cemetery plots. These will include a name, date, the location of the burial plot, and price paid. Others are simply for lots, which will include name, date, cost, and lot location.

I noted that numerous witnesses’ signatures were found on many of the deeds.

The following books are all digitized and index-linked:

  • 1820-1840 (1791-1850)
  • 1822-1843 (1807-1843)
  • Blacks, Book 2-A, Section P, 1884-1899
  • Black, Book B, 1899-1912
  • Blacks, Book C, 1912-1924
  • Blacks, Book D, 1924-1971
  • Whites, Book A, 1852-1863 (1852-1864)
  • Whites, Book B, 1864-1882

This database is the sort of unique set of documents that genealogists don’t often think about, let alone get access to. The document can not only give the researcher information specific to their ancestor’s purchase, but places that ancestor in a specific place at a specific time. The witness signatures may also help is establishing relationships. Good stuff…

See the Ancestry.com website for this database. Note – Ancestry.com members will be able to click through directly to the database with this link. Non-members will be redirected with the opportunity to join Ancestry.com for a Free Trial period, or a full subscription. I am pleased to say that I have an Ancestry.com affiliate relationship, and plan to keep it that way for a long time.

Cavaliers and Pioneers: Virginia Genealogy

Since its first printing in 1934, Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants 1623-1666, has proven to be one of the most important genealogical references for colonial Virginia. The book is effectively a directory of Virginia’s earliest settlers. The book is a history into colonial origins, and offers genealogical references possibly not found anywhere else.

The bulk of the book is comprised of land record abstracts dating back to 1623. Each record is provided in paragraph form, under the name of each patentee or grantee.  Each records provides the number of acres, locations and dates of settlement, and names of family members. Many entries even include further references to marriages, wills, and other legal instruments. The volume also has the names of some thousands who were transported or brought over by the early settlers as “headrights.” A 200 page index contains the names of about 20,000 persons.

Extracting these records was a massive undertaking; especially, in the 1930s before computers and automated filing systems. The records themselves were often in poor shape, primarily due to mishandling, after nearly 300 years. In summary, the Land Office records followed thus: “45 volumes or 24,983 pages of Colonial Patents; 22 1/2 volumes or 8,371 pages of Northern Neck Deeds (issued by Thomas, Lord Fairfax, beginning in 1690); 67 volumes or 47,769 pages of Commonwealth Grants (beginning in 1779) and 7 1/2 volumes or 4,782 pages of Northern Neck Grants subsequent to the Revolutionary War, making a total of 142 manuscript volumes, representing 85,905 pages.”

Here is a sample entry, chosen at random:

“WILLIAM MELLING, 100 acs. Accomack Co, 20 June 1636, p. 366. At the head of the old plantation Cr., beg. at the Cabin brand, running Nly. along the same & Ely. along the head br. into the woods towards pynie swampe. 50 acs. for his per. adv. & 50 acs. by assignment from William Morton, to whom it was due for his per. adv.”

An explanation provided in the front matter gives the meaning for all the various abbreviations.

 

Table of Contents

Publishers Introduction

List of Illustrations

General Forword: Nell Marion Nugent

Introduction: Robert Armistead Stewart

Explanation

Abstracts:

  • Patent Book 1, Part I
  • Patent Book 1, Part II
  • Patent Book 2
  • Patents Book 3
  • Patent Book 4
  • Patent Book 5

Greatest Number of Acres in a Single Patent (Table)

Index to Introduction

General Index

Addenda

 

Copies of Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants 1623-1666, are available from Family Roots Publishing; Price: $49.00.

Scots Property Records for 1905 Go Online

The following is from Grant Miller at BrightSolid.com:

From tenements to palaces – these records offer a fascinating snapshot of Scotland during the Edwardian era and are a major new genealogy resource

Over 2 million names of Scots included in the property records for 1905 are being released today online for the first time via ScotlandsPeople, the official government family history website. The new records, known as the Valuation Rolls and comprising over 2.4 million indexed names and over 74,000 digital images, cover every kind of building, structure or property in Scotland which were assessed as having a rateable value.

The Rolls also reveal much about the changing social fabric of Scotland at this time – such as the growth in women owning property and running businesses, the rise in sports and recreation clubs, the development of music halls and theatres, and the expansion of railway hotels. As the Rolls include details about rents and the value of property, they will also help researchers to learn more about the cost of living during this period.

Fully-searchable by name and address, the records list the names of owners, tenants and occupiers of each property – so genealogists, historians and other researchers can now discover fresh insights into their ancestors’ lives through viewing these new records. As the 1905 Rolls appear between census years, they will be invaluable for genealogists who are trying to fill in gaps about their ancestors.

People from all social classes are included in the 1905 Valuation Rolls – from well-known land and property owners, to the tenants of Scotland’s tenements. Some of the famous Scots whose property situation appears in the records are AJ Balfour, Keir Hardie, Sir Hugh Munro, Lady Gordon Cathcart, Lord Armitstead and Donald Stewart (head gamekeeper to Queen Victoria).

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said:
“ScotlandsPeople is a wonderful gateway to Scotland’s wealth of archives that tell the story of our nation and its people. I welcome this latest addition to their digital resources, which can be enjoyed by the people of Scotland, and people of Scottish descent everywhere.”

Audrey Robertson, Acting Registrar General and Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said:
“The latest release of details about property owners and tenants in 1905 will be very useful for people researching the history of their family, or of their house or local area. The rolls can be searched alongside other records in ScotlandsPeople, and may help locate people who cannot be found in other sources.”

Chris van der Kuyl, the CEO of brightsolid, the company that enables ScotlandsPeople for the National Records of Scotland, said:
“The publication of the 1905 Valuation Rolls on ScotlandsPeople is another important piece of the jigsaw for helping people to trace their Scottish ancestry. As well as appealing to people’s fascination with property, these new records will complement the 1911 Census records that were published on ScotlandsPeople in 2011.”

The Valuation Rolls will be available on the ScotlandsPeople website (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk), and at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh. These new online records will be interesting both to people in Scotland and to the Scottish diaspora across the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the rest of the world.

Listed below are statistics for the Valuation Rolls in Scotland for 1905.

  • Total number of indexed names: 2,440,375
  • Total number of digital images: 74,704
  • Largest burgh is Glasgow: 421,965
  • Smallest Burgh is Earlsferry: 269
  • Largest County is Lanark: 228,161
  • Smallest County is Selkirk: 2,580
  • Famous Scots included in these records: Sir Hugh Thomas Munro, Keir Hardie, AJ Balfour, Donald Stewart, Lady Cathcart, and many others
  • The 1905 Valuation Rolls will complement the 1915 Valuation Rolls (comprising over 2.6 million names), which were released in March 2012
  • The new records cover every kind of building, structure or property in Scotland which was assessed as having a rateable value
  • As the 1905 Valuation Rolls appear between the 1901 and 1911 censuses, they will help to fill in many gaps for genealogists

Additionally, there are all kinds of statistics, biographical information, and property information found at the media site for Scotland’s People. Click here for MORE!

The National Records of Scotland & ScotlandsPeople
National Records of Scotland is a Non-Ministerial Department of the Scottish Government. It holds and gives access to the nation’s archives, oversees the registration of births, marriages and deaths, produces statistics on Scotland’s population and conducts the Scottish Census. It is a centre of expertise on data handling, record keeping and archives.
ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk, the official genealogy website for Scottish ancestry, is a partnership between the National Records of Scotland and the Court of the Lord Lyon, enabled by brightsolid.

FamilySearch Adds New Collection for Ohio County Births from 1841-2003

The following is from FamilySearch.org:

FamilySearch added an additional 2 million new, free indexed records and images this week to its collection. Notable additions include the 995,820 indexed records and images in the new Ohio County Births from 1841-2003 collection, and the 363,235 indexed records for the United States Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office from 1889-1904. Another new searchable record was also added this week for Ohio, Scioto County Probate Records from 1885-1887. See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at FamilySearch.org.

Searchable historic records are made available on FamilySearch.org through the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world. These volunteers transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published online at FamilySearch.org. Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the world’s historic genealogical records online at FamilySearch.org.

FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources for free at FamilySearch.org or through more than 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Collection- Indexed Records- Digital Images- Comments

Czech Republic, Censuses, 1843-1921– 0 – 56,366 – Added images to an existing collection.
Czech Republic, Land Records, 1450-1889 – 0 – 69,835 – Added images to an existing collection.
Germany, Westfalen, Minden Citizen Lists, 1574-1902 – 7,873 – 6,349 – Added index records and images to an existing collection.
Peru, Amazonas, Civil Registration, 1939-1995 – 0 – 37,133 – Added images to an existing collection.
Peru, Huánuco, Civil Registration, 1889-1997 – 0 – 39,568 – Added images to an existing collection.
Peru, Puno, Civil Registration, 1890-2005 – 0 – 30,019 – Added images to an existing collection.
Peru, Lima, Civil Registration, 1874-1996 – 0 – 279,836 – Added images to an existing collection.
U.S., California, Probate Estate Files, 1833-1991 – 0 – 3,228 – Added images to an existing collection.
U.S., Florida, Key West Passenger Lists, 1898-1920 – 0 – 53,496 – Added images to an existing collection.
U.S., Louisiana, First Registration Draft Cards, 1940-1945 – 0 – 999 – Added images to an existing collection.
U.S., Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003 – 51,675 – 944,145 – New indexed records and images collection.
U.S., Ohio, Scioto County Probate Records, 1885-1887 – 0 – 326 – New browsable image collection.
U.S., Ohio, Stark County Probate Records, 1886-1921 – 0 – 634 – Added images to an existing collection.
U.S., Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1883-1945 – 96,769 – 0 – Added index records to an existing collection.
United States, Bureau of Land Management Tract Books, 1820-1908 – 0 – 1,365 – Added images to an existing collection.
United States, Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office, 1889-1904 – 363,235 – 0 – Added index records to an existing collection.

Getting Started in Deed Research

The following article was written by my good friend, William Dollarhide. Enjoy…

Dollarhide’s Genealogy Rule No. 26: When in a courthouse miles from home, you will always find the breakthrough court record at 4:55pm on Friday afternoon.

This is my sixth GenealogyBlog article related to using land and property records. For anyone just starting out, this article should be the first one to read, not the last. The titles and links to the other five land articles are at the end.

Definitions:
A deed is a private document that records that the ownership of a parcel of land was transferred from one party to another. A deed certificate acts as the title to property in the possession of the buyer. A copy of the deed is recorded in the county or town wherein the land is located, even though the sale of land may have taken place somewhere else. There are several types of deeds such as Warranty Deeds, Trust Deeds, or Quit Claim Deeds, all of which may be used to transfer or relinquish a claim to property. Generally, an unrecorded deed is still a legal document, but it would be very difficult to transfer title to property without a recorded deed. Therefore, most deeds are recorded at a local courthouse where they become public records.

  • The grantor is the party selling or relinquishing land.
  • The grantee is the party buying or being granted land.
  • The grantor/grantee index is a general alphabetized index to the names of buyers and sellers of land. In some counties it may be called the Direct (grantor) Index and Indirect (grantee) Index. Or, it may be called the Index to Real Estate Conveyances. The format of the index is virtually the same in all counties of the U.S.A. The Grantor/Grantee index is a valuable genealogical resource. Before 1850, for example, a Grantor/Grantee was a better list of the residents of a county than a heads-of-household census for the same county. This is based on the fact that over 90 per cent of all adult, white males owned land before 1850.

Where and how are deeds recorded?
Deeds are found at a county courthouse for 46 states (including Louisiana, where a county is called a parish). In three states the deeds are recorded at the town level (Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Vermont), and in Alaska (the only state with no counties), land exchanges are recorded at three judicial district courthouses (Juneau, Anchorage, and Fairbanks). In the District of Columbia, deeds are recorded at the office of the Registrar of Deeds. In all 51 jurisdictions, the information from deed certificates are copied into bound books. They are recorded as they happen and all of the deed books are arranged chronologically, e.g., “Deed Book A or “Deed Book 1″ are often the first bound volumes of recorded deeds in a series of books.

Accessing Deed Records
Research in county/town deed records requires that you have access to the grantor/grantee index and then access to the deed books which provide a written transcript of the land transactions. There are several books that list every county in the U.S., and the name of the office which maintains the land records. My favorite is the review of the county offices found under “Land Records” for every state in The Red Book: American State, County & Town Sources, edited by Alice Eichholz, Ph.D. C.G., (Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry, Inc., 1992). The Red Book lists the name of the county office in charge of deeds; an address for the county seat/courthouse; as well as an address for each of the New England towns; the District of Columbia Register of Deeds; and the Alaska judicial districts.

Four ways you can conduct research in deed records

  1. Research at the courthouse. The best way is to travel to the county courthouse and read the deed books yourself. The next best method is to try contacting a local genealogical society to see if there is a person who can visit the courthouse in your behalf. There may be a small fee or donation to the society, but this is an ideal way of locating another amateur genealogist to look up items for you in a courthouse. An address list of genealogical societies can be found in The Genealogist’s Address Book, by Elizabeth Petty Bentley, (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.).
  2. Research by mail. A county’s registrar of deed records may look in a deed index for you if your request is concise and to the point. Write to the keeper of deeds and ask for a check of the Grantee/Grantor Index for evidence of your ancestor’s name during a period of about twenty years, enclosing a Self Address Stamped Envelope (SASE). The index will indicate the book and page number for a deed transcript with the exact citation. Write again and ask for copies of the deeds themselves, enclosing an appropriate fee.
  3. Research microfilm or digitized copies of the deeds. The Family History Library has microfilmed deed records and indexes for over 1,500 counties in the U.S. Check the FHL’s catalog at www.familysearch.org. Many deed indexes, as well as the records themselves are now being posted online at www.familysearch.org. If the indexes and records aren’t yet posted online, they can be borrowed for a small fee and used at a local FamilySearch center. You could even catch a plane to Salt Lake City, and use the films at the Family History Library itself.
  4. Research at NetrOnline.com (www.netronline.com/public_records.htm). This site is a portal to find any county of the U.S. with real estate records online. Not all counties have these records online, but those that do can be found here from their list of all 3,146 U.S. counties. Depending on the state, the County Clerks, Assessors, Recorders, Auditors, etc., are the official repositories for recorded deeds, property tax assessments, and property histories. The modern versions of these documents now online are usually for records from about the 1970s or later, and are all excellent sources for a full name, full street address, city, state, zip code; and often, a phone number for any person involved in a real estate transaction. Once you have found a county online that has real estate records available, you can access the website directly from NetrOnline.com, and since these type of documents are public records, there is never a fee to access the database. However, you may be charged a fee to make copies of records, which is no different than doing this research in person at a county courthouse.

A Check List for Deed Research

  • A county must be first known. Since deeds are recorded at the county level, you must have at least a clue as to the county where your ancestor lived. The exceptions are land records in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Vermont, where deeds are recorded at the Town level and you must know the name of the town. In Alaska, the deeds are recorded in the district courts at Fairbanks, Anchorage, or Juneau.
  • Come prepared with census or tax lists to find the names of the neighbors of your ancestor. It helps to have the names of other people who you know lived near your ancestor. This is a way of confirming that you are in the right place, by looking for the other names in the same area. In some cases, reading the deeds for neighbors may turn up your ancestor’s name as a witness, confirming you are in the right courthouse.
  • Start with the grantee/grantor index. Write down the name, date, deed book, and page number for every deed indexed. If you are looking for a William Johnson and know that he had a brother, Thomas Johnson, it may be important to look for all siblings’ deeds as well.
  • In addition to your ancestor’s full name, look for “et al” after the same surname in the index (“et al” is Latin for “and others”) that may indicate a group of heirs. This was used as a short-cut for a clerk writing a deed index entry in which there were more than one name for the grantors or grantees, such as “Thomas Johnson, et al.” If your ancestor’s name was William Johnson, he may be mentioned in the deed transcript along with Thomas Johnson — but the index may only show “Thomas Johnson, et al.”
  • Read each deed. Note that each will usually give the place of residence for the grantor and the grantee — this is valuable information. Before 1900, deeds usually give the county or town of residence; but today you can find an exact street address for both the grantor and grantee, right down to the zip code.
  • Locate the Probate Office at the same time that you are in a courthouse. You may come across a reference to a probate in a deed. The relationship between deeds and probates is that deeds to heirs may be recorded as a result of a probate judgment. In some cases, you may find a reference to a probate case file number in a deed transcript – which is a back-door index to the probate files.
  • Locate the Civil Court office at the same time you are in a courthouse. Before 1850, the subject of over half of the lawsuits in America had something to do with land disputes. A deed transcript may give you a back-door index to a civil court case and may even give you a case file number.
  • Get a USGS (7.5 series) Topographical map of the area or see if the County Engineer’s office has detailed maps available. (See the Find a Place, Find an Ancestor article for details).

Finally, to get more information about using deed records in your genealogical pursuits, go to the GenealogyBlog archives for “Dollarhide Columns” and click on any of the following titles:

Quit Claim Deeds and Deed Releases

The following article was written by my good friend, William Dollarhide. Enjoy…

Dollarhide’s Genealogy Rule No. 14: Always interview brothers and sisters together in the same room. Since they can’t agree on anything about the family tree, it makes for great fun to see who throws the first punch.

The use of deed records in genealogical research can help locate an ancestor and the success rate is very high. There is always a good chance of finding a deed for a person who bought or sold land, and that information may contribute to a genealogist’s understanding of the exact time and place when a person lived in a particular county. Since the use of deeds is nearly a universal resource for genealogists, they provide basic place-finding information. Although the regular deed records may not reveal much more than a name and place of residence for a person, success in using deeds as a place-finder is not rare — it is very common.

Uncommon Deed Records
There are less common occasions when certain special types of deeds will provide detailed genealogical information not available from any other source. Usually, the real genealogical treasures will be in deeds that are related to the disposition of land and property after a person has died. These are the deeds in which it is possible for the heirs of the deceased to be mentioned by name. Although deeds in general are great place-finders for an ancestor, occasionally, you will find a Quit Claim Deed or Deed Release that will cause you to jump for joy!

One of the remarkable sources for genealogical information is in the use of a Quit-Claim Deed. This type of conveyance is used for transferring property when an issue of ownership might not be clear. Essentially, a quit-claim deed says, “…I hereby relinquish (quit) any interest or claim I may have in this property….”

You can sell or relinquish claim to anything through the use of a Quit Claim deed (including the Brooklyn Bridge, if you could find a buyer). When recorded as part of the other deeds in a courthouse, a Quit-Claim deed is a legal document, but all it says is that a person is releasing his interest in a piece of land or property. A Quit-Claim deed does not prove that a person actually owned the property. Nevertheless, in recorded land records, a Quit-Claim deed is often where surprising genealogical information is revealed. These types of conveyances are often suggested by lawyers who are attempting to clear title on a piece of property and to avoid the possibility of a claim against it.

A common use of Quit Claim deeds in the nineteenth century was when a person with property died intestate (without a will) and the probate court needed to establish the legal heirs of the deceased land owner. Quit-Claim deeds might be recorded for any person suspected of having an interest in the property. Here is where you may learn of a grandson, niece, or nephew of a deceased person. Some of the relatives may have filed a Quit-Claim deed relinquishing their interest in the property of the deceased, and these statements will be recorded and filed along with other types of deeds. The names of the affected parties will all be included in the grantee-grantor index, either as a single person, or as one of a group of persons.

Quit Claim vs Deed Release
A similar record to a Quit Claim Deed is called a Deed Release, which is used in about the same way as a Quit-Claim deed. The difference is usually determined by whether a deceased property owner died testate or intestate. It was common for a Deed Release to be filed as part of the testate papers by an heir who was relinquishing his claim to a parcel of property devised to him by the deceased in a will undergoing probate. A probate judge would accept a deed release from one or more of the heirs, if by agreement, the heirs decided to have the property divided differently than the will specified. Each deed release was then recorded the same as a transfer of property in the deed records of the county, and the names of the persons involved were included in the grantee-grantor index.

Both the Quit Claim deeds and the Deed Releases are normally indicated in the “Type of Conveyance” column in the Grantee/Grantor index. Genealogists will find these two special types of deeds particularly interesting because they very often provide you with relationships. From experience, I have learned to spot a potential list of heirs, either from Quit Clams or Deed Releases by the phrase “et al” (in Latin, “and others”). If an entry is for Quit Claim or Deed Release conveyances, and one name is in the Grantee/Grantor Index with “et al” after the name, I go to that deed first – this is how a list of heirs is indexed. A release of claim to property between brothers and sisters, for example, is an uncommon occurrence in land records – but when you find these types of deeds, you will be given new confirmation for the existence of God (because they are often gifts from the blue).

Examples of Quit Claim Deeds
In doing research on my Rumbaugh family of Fulton County, Indiana, the Grantee/Grantor index had a very simple line that read, “William Rumbaugh, et al”. Going to the book and page in the deed transcripts led me to eight (8) Quit-Claim Deeds, all for the same date in 1856, all in the same hand, and all starting with this type of phrase:

“…William Rumbaugh, heir of David Rumbaugh, Deceased, and Susan Holton (formerly Rumbaugh), of this County, does Quit any Claim to the land described as….”

“…Nancy Wiles, intermarried with William Wiles, and an heir of David Rumbaugh, Deceased, and Susan Holton (formerly Rumbaugh), of Union County, Iowa, does Quit any Claim to the land described as….”

. . . and another similar entry for each of the six remaining brothers and sisters…

The use of Quit-Claim deeds, in this case, was a convenient way for the heirs of David Rumbaugh to transfer their share of the inheritance to just one of the brothers. Even though David Rumbaugh’s will had devised the property to each of the heirs equally, most of the siblings had left the area, so the heirs decided to combine the property back again for a home for one family, in this case, William Rumbaugh, the oldest son, who was living on his father’s farm with his own family at the time of David Rumbaugh’s death. Note that each Rumbaugh heir’s quit-claim entry established a name and place of residence. The entries also gave maiden/married names, and even the surname of a remarried widow. This is genealogical evidence at its best – a written proof of names and relationships.

Because of this land-swapping, a complete list of the heirs of David Rumbaugh was found – not in the probate office, and not even in the family Bible. This list of children was taken from the Deed Books of Fulton County, Indiana!

Dollarhide’s Genealogy Rule No. 1: Treat the brothers and sisters of your ancestor as equals…even if some of them were in jail.

After Finding a Deed
With a deed in hand, you always have a property description. That means that a map showing the exact location of that property could be found next. With a map as a guide, locate and mark the spot for the land. Now look for the nearest cemetery on the map. How about the nearest church? Now find the records for that cemetery or church. A map can also give clues about the location of the land in relation to the nearest courthouse. Was the courthouse for an adjoining county closer to the family farm? If the family members could travel more easily to a different courthouse (for a marriage license, perhaps), you may have some more research options. See my archived article, Find a Place – Find an Ancestor for details on the best maps for genealogical research.

Why Not Look at Deeds First?
I used to check land records only after going through every published source for a county. I have discovered that deed records can provide the most important information we need in genealogical research: the place where a person lived. And, in some cases, genealogical treasures may be revealed in special deeds, such as Quit Claims or Deed Releases. Because of this, I now do deed research first, not last.

Here are five reasons why deeds are so valuable to genealogists:

1. Deeds are indexed in cumulative form, sometimes spanning over decades. They may be listed in only a few large volumes, while marriages and other county records may be spread across many, many volumes. Going through the grantee-grantor indexes does not take as long as going through other county records.

2. For early periods, deed indexes act as a list of residents in a county to give you a good review of who lived there, including neighbors you have noted from censuses or tax lists. It is a way of getting a “yes” or “no” answer to the question of the right county where a person lived. It is an excellent way to retrace the trail your ancestor followed. This is based on a ninety percent chance that your ancestor owned land. If a man is not listed in a deed index, the chances are great that he did not live in that county.

3. Deeds sometimes make reference to a “case number” for some civil action regarding property or a probate court action. Probate and civil court case files are excellent sources of genealogical information — but poorly indexed. Therefore, going through the deeds first may present the only clue that other records exist in another part of the courthouse.

4. Deeds often give the name of a man’s wife. Because of the English common law of Dower Rights for a widow, a man’s wife may not have been able to own land in her own name, but she did have veto power over the sale of the land due to her dower rights. For that reason, a wife’s name is often included in a deed transcript.

5. Deeds are more complete and go back further in time than other type of records for genealogists. Land ownership evidence was so important that they were the first records reconstructed after a courthouse fire or other natural disaster.

Finally, to get more information about using deed records in your genealogical pursuits, go to the GenealogyBlog archives for “Dollarhide Columns” and click on any of the following titles:

Dower Share, Dowery, and Dower Rights
If He Owned Land, There’s a Deed
Using Deed Records
Follow-up to Using Deed Records

Follow-up to “Tracing the Trails of Your Ancestors Using Deed Records”

The following article was written by my good friend, William Dollarhide. Enjoy…

The article, Tracing the Trails of Your Ancestors Using Deed Records, indicated several steps that were followed in my personal research. The purpose of the article was to show how deeds can be used to retrace the trail of an ancestor. Leading up to the steps I followed in the deed research, I listed nine items as “Facts Known (in the order they were found)” to show what information I had learned about Philip Reynolds before starting in the deed research.

Soon after this article was published I received an eMail from a reader in Maine. The reader asked some pertinent questions about the nine items and my course of action. The questions made me realize that perhaps I was too brief in explaining the facts and how they were obtained, particularly for someone who had not done this type of research before. Therefore, I would like to answer the questions with this public response — perhaps others have had similar questions and may benefit from the answers.

You can find the entire article Tracing the Trails of Your Ancestors Using Deed Records in the GenealogyBlog archives.


Follow-up Q and A:

Question: Item 1 showed John Dollarhide in Jasper County Indiana in 1850. Item 2 had John Dollarhide in Tippecanoe County in 1840. How did you know to look for John in Tippecanoe County in 1840?

Answer: Since there was no county with the name Jasper in Indiana in 1840, I had to find when it was formed as an official county and from what county or counties it was taken. When I first did this research, all I had was a copy of the Handy Book for Genealogists, which lists every county in the U.S. and tells the date of formation and the parent county from which a county was formed. That book told me that Jasper was formed from White and Warren counties in 1836. But checking the Heads of Household 1840 census for these two counties for evidence of a John Dollarhide did not pay off. (I read every page of both counties). So, next I checked a modern map of Indiana to see what the adjoining counties were to White and Warren counties, which added the current counties of Benton, Carroll and Tippecanoe. I read the census pages (on microfilm, located at the Seattle Public Library, where I was doing this research at that time) for these three counties, and it was not until I searched Tippecanoe County that I was able to locate a John Dollarhide as a head of house. I did this research back in the early 1970s before there were census indexes to all of the states. Today there is a published census indexes to the heads of households for the entire U.S. 1840 federal census, including Indiana. Finding John Dollarhide in 1840 is now a much easier task — just look at an online 1840 census index, where he can be found with his full name, state, county, and page number on the microfilmed originals.

Question: Item 3 stated that John Dollarhide married Lucy Reynolds in 1836 in Tippecanoe County based on a copy of their marriage record. How did you find a copy of their marriage record?

Answer: In the 1840 Tippecanoe County census, John Dollarhide was a head of household in the “20 to 29″ age category. A female of the right age to be his wife Lucy was in the “15 to 19″ age category, and there were a couple of children in the “under 5″ category. It seemed logical to assume that John and Lucy were married just a few years before 1840, so I took a chance that they were married in Tippecanoe County, Indiana. The Handy Book told me that the Clerk of the Circuit Court was the keeper of marriage records for Tippecanoe County, that marriage records were available from as early as 1830, and that the county seat was Lafayette, zip code 47901. I wrote a letter addressed to the Clerk of the Circuit Court, Tippecanoe County, Lafayette, IN 47901, asking for a check of the index of marriages that occurred in that county from 1830 to 1840 for anyone with the name Dollarhide. I offered to send whatever fee was required to have a copy made of any marriage record that was found. I received a response from the clerk’s office saying there were two marriages involving Dollarhides during that period, one for a John Dollarhide and a Lucy Reynolds in 1836, and another for a Jesse Dollarhide and a Nancy Murphey in 1837. I was quoted a fee to have copies made, which I sent by return mail, asking for copies of both marriage records. (Jesse turned out to be John’s brother). Had I not received these documents after writing to Tippecanoe County, I would have repeated the exercise for all of the surrounding counties with similar letters to the clerks there.

Question: Item 6 stated that the 1820 Ohio Census Index had only two heads of households with the name of Philip Reynolds. What is the 1820 Ohio Census Index? Where did you find it?

Answer: All of the names of heads of households from the 1820 Ohio census were extracted and arranged in alphabetical order by volunteers from the Ohio Genealogical Society back in the late 1960s. The name index was published in book form by the Ohio Library Foundation and has been reprinted or reformatted by other publishers since. Today, the 1820 Ohio census is indexed online at several websites.

Question: Item 7 stated that an obituary for Philip Reynolds from an 1878 Corvallis, Oregon newspaper was found. How did you know to look in this newspaper in 1878 for the obituary of Philip Reynolds?

Answer: Note that sometimes genealogical research is tedious and time consuming, such as my example above in searching page after page of census records for a number of Indiana counties just to find John Dollarhide in 1840. On the other hand, once in a while, we genealogists get lucky. That is what happened to me with the Philip Reynolds obituary. It was a gift. After some time had gone by between item 6 and item 7, I was lecturing at a seminar in Northern California where a man came up to me and said he knew I would be there that day, and that he had recently been in Oregon doing some research on his families. He had come across the name Dollarhide, and copied the record for me. He presented me with an envelope that had a copy of the obituary for Philip Reynolds. I didn’t even know Philip had gone to Oregon! This was one of those wonderful surprises that we run into in doing research. Now, to have found that obituary the hard way, I would have needed to know that Philip had lived in Corvallis, Oregon. Before receiving the obituary, that information would have come to me if I had traced all of his daughters, who they married, and where they lived throughout their lives. This work was done after I learned that Philip had moved to live with one of his married daughters in Corvallis, Oregon. I found that same daughter’s marriage record in Tippecanoe, County, Indiana. As it turns out, she was married about the same time as her sister, Lucy Reynolds and another sister. I later found the sister’s family living in Oregon after the census index was published for the Oregon 1870 census. And, of course, living with the family was none other than Philip Reynolds. By knowing the place was Corvallis, Oregon, it would be a natural step to survey what newspapers were available for that time and place. (The Oregon State Archives in Salem would be good place to look for old newspapers). Online resources such as GenealogyBank.com would also be a great place to search by the person’s name when doing research today. I would have found that obituary eventually. But, I will have to admit, it is great fun to get this type of information for free, and not having to work for it.

Question: Items 8 and 9. Phillip Reynolds living with a daughter in Oregon per the 1870 census and living in Iowa with another daughter in Iowa per the 1860 census. How did you find him living with these daughters in these census records? I am assuming they were married and had different names than Reynolds?

Answer: The 1870 census research for Oregon was done before there was a name index published, but with the obituary for Phillip Reynolds, I had the married name of the daughter (who was named as a survivor) to use for a search of the entire county. Corvallis is the county seat of Benton County, Oregon, so I began searching the microfilmed census schedules for Benton County to find the Corvallis section. Finding the right family did not take that long, and Philip Reynolds was living with them. Later, I was able to find another daughter of Philip Reynolds using a published census index for Iowa 1860. One of the Reynolds sisters married a man named Amos Freel in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, in 1837. Although at the time, I wasn’t sure she was a sister, finding that marriage record gave me the name Freel to use for a search in published census indexes from 1850 and on. I found Amos Freel and family in the 1860 Iowa census, and Philip Reynolds was included in the family, which confirmed to me that I had the right sister.

Question: In the “Course of Action” section: Checked library sources, county sources, and county histories for Trumbull and Miami County, Ohio, 1820. What and where are library and county sources? What did you check for?

Answer: Library/county sources are any published materials for a particular county. These may include indexes and/or extracts from cemeteries, censuses, tax lists, directories, newspapers, and other local source material; including indexes and/or extracts from county records, such as births, deaths, marriages, deeds, wills, probates; or they may include any published county history for a particular county of the U.S. These published materials specific to a particular county can be found in libraries and archives. Obviously, the libraries or archives in the county of question will have the best overall collection of these books, microforms, or electronic media. A state library or archives will be an excellent source for these materials as well. But the best starting place to determine what sources have been published for a county is the Family History Library catalog, which is online at www.familysearch.com.

I hope I have answered the questions to your satisfaction. If not, please feel free to contact me again. That offer is to anyone reading this. But, be advised that if you write to me and I find your questions interesting, you may find yourself featured in this column.

Note: I might repeat that Philip Reynolds has become one my favorite ancestors. It appears that after his wife died in about 1843, the man never worked again — he just moved in with a daughter until she couldn’t stand it any more and then moved to another daughter’s home. I found him living with three different daughters in census records, and since he had nine children, his average stay with each lasted only three to four years. In all, he managed to live off his kids for nearly thirty-five years. I have decided that this is a man I would like to emulate. Trouble is . . . I only have one daughter, and three days staying with her family is about all they can stand.

Additional Reading
Red Book 3rd Edition, by Alice Eichholz, Ph.D.

Tracing the Trails of Your Ancestors Using Deed Records

The following article was written by my good friend, William Dollarhide. Enjoy…

To demonstrate the power of deeds in retracing the trail of an ancestor, I will present a case study of one of my own ancestors. This is a real example of the use of deeds to solve a difficult genealogical problem. If you have the problem of knowing that an ancestor was from Virginia, but do not know in which county he lived, then this example may give you an idea of how deeds can help you locate the right county. Remember, we are basing this research on the fact that there is a ninety percent chance that your ancestor owned land. Let’s see if we can solve a “needle in the haystack” search for an ancestor when all we know is that he was born in Virginia in about 1788.

The steps I followed to locate the right county using deeds has been repeated several times. My first success was for an ancestor named Philip Reynolds. To follow along, I will have to give you some of my own genealogy — but any genealogist should be able to relate his own situation to this example.

The problem:

Where exactly did Philip Reynolds live before 1830? In Indiana? In Ohio? In Virginia? Where was he married? Who were his parents?… Does this problem sound familiar?

Facts known, in the order they were found:

1. John Dollarhide, and family living in Jasper County, Indiana, per 1850 census. Apparent wife, Lucy, born in Ohio about 1821. A Philip Reynolds living with them, born c1788 in Virginia. (I had only a guess about who Philip Reynolds might be…)

2. John Dollarhide head of household, 1840 census of Tippecanoe County, Indiana.

3. John Dollarhide married a Lucy Reynolds, 1836, in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, based on a copy of their marriage record. This was the first confirmation that her maiden name was Reynolds. I returned to the 1850 census to look at Philip Reynolds with renewed interest.

4. Philip Reynolds head of household, 1840 census of Tippecanoe County, Indiana, not too far from John Dollarhide household.

5. Philip Reynolds, head of household, 1830 census of Tippecanoe County, Indiana. Several females of right age to be Lucy Reynolds.

6. 1820 Ohio Census Index: only two (2) heads of households with the name Philip Reynolds — one in Trumbull County, the other in Miami County. The Miami County family seemed most promising, but no way to prove which was the right family.

7. Obituary from a Corvallis, Oregon newspaper, dated 1878, stated, “Philip Reynolds was born in Virginia . . . he married Sophia Hill . . . they lived in Ohio a number of years . . . and were the parents of nine children”. This obit also mentioned a surviving daughter, one Lucy Dollarhide, living in California.

8. Philip Reynolds was living with a daughter in Oregon, per 1870 census, born c1788 in Virginia.

9. Philip Reynolds living with another daughter in Iowa, per 1860 census, born c1788 in Virginia.
I might mention that Philip Reynolds has become one my favorite ancestors. It appears that after his wife died in about 1843, the man never worked again — he just moved in with a daughter until she couldn’t stand it any more and then moved to another daughter’s home. I found him living with three different daughters in census records, and since he had nine daughters, his average stay with each lasted only three to four years. In all, he managed to live off his kids for nearly thirty-five years. I have decided that this is a man I would like to emulate.

Confirmation needed:

Was Miami County the place to start? Or perhaps Trumbull County first?

Course of Action:

– Checked library sources for Trumbull and Miami County, Ohio, for any reference to a Philip Reynolds family about 1820. Nothing found for Philip.

– Checked printed court records for both counties. No Philip.

– Checked county histories for both counties. Philip not mentioned.

– Borrowed Family History Library microfilm for Deeds (Grantee/Grantor books) for Miami County, Ohio, for the period 1810-1830. This was based on my knowledge that Lucy (Reynolds) Dollarhide was born in Ohio about 1821.

NOTE: I decided to go through the deeds from Miami County first. This seemed logical because the Philip Reynolds in Trumbull County appeared in the 1820, 1830, and 1840 censuses (and my Philip was in Indiana in 1830). The Philip Reynolds listed in Miami County was there in 1820 but not in the 1830 or 1840 censuses.

After thoroughly reading the Miami County Grantor/Grantee index, I found that the only Philip Reynolds mentioned was in a single transaction that took place in 1837. Since I knew that Philip was in Indiana by 1830, I stopped here. From the index, I obtained the following:

Miami County, Ohio
Deed Book 15, page 355 — Date deed recorded: 22 Sep 1837
Grantor: Philip Reynolds
Grantee: Joseph R. John

There were two things wrong with the deed. First, I expected a deed in which Sophia’s name was mentioned, since dower rights were still in play in Ohio in the 1830’s. I expected to see, “Philip Reynolds and wife Sophia . . .” as a grantor or grantee in the deeds. Second, the date was all wrong. I knew that my Philip Reynolds was in Indiana in 1837 and here was a deed in Ohio for well after the time Philip Reynolds moved to Indiana. But, as I was to learn later, I was not paying attention.

First Breakthrough!

On a trip through Salt Lake City, I decided to visit the Family History Library look up that same Reynolds deed just for the fun of it. Book 15 of the Miami county deeds had been microfilmed. On page 355, I found the following deed recorded:

“. . . Philip Reynolds, of Indiana, to Joseph R. John, of Troy, Miami County, Ohio, lot 151, for $60.00….”

The deed gave Philip Reynolds’ residence! I was now convinced that this was indeed my Philip Reynolds of Tippecanoe County, Indiana. But why wasn’t Sophia’s name mentioned? I have since learned that the dower rights for a wife did not apply to small parcels of land (under one acre or so), so there was no need for Sophia’s name to be part of the deed. It was also clear that Philip Reynolds had owned land in Miami County, Ohio, but did not get around to selling his lot in the town of Troy until some years after moving to Indiana.

Since I had several census records giving Philip Reynolds’s birth as Virginia about 1788, I wondered if it were possible to use this same technique to find the right county in Virginia to search for the Reynolds family. I canceled everything else on my agenda, booked five more days in Salt Lake City, and headed for the microfilmed Virginia deed records. It was now “needle in a haystack” time, but which county first?

Second Breakthrough!

I needed to narrow down the number of counties of Virginia to start my search for Philip Reynolds. There were 135 counties in Virginia in 1820, which included present-day West Virginia. So, I first went through the 1800 and 1810 censuses (actually, reconstructed tax lists) for Virginia looking for the name Reynolds. None of the heads of household had the name Philip Reynolds. But, there were eighteen (18) different counties with both the surname Reynolds and Hill. (Sophia’s maiden name was Hill. I decided to look in just those counties which had evidence of both of these surnames.)

I decided to check the Grantor-Grantee index to all eighteen counties, for the period 1790-1830. I began in alphabetical order and discovered that I could go through a whole county in a matter of minutes to determine if a Philip Reynolds ever owned land there. I was in the Bedford County, Virginia, Grantor-Grantee index and found this information:

Bedford County, Virginia
Deed Book 18, page 359
Date: 15 May 1824
Grantor: Philip and Sophia Reynolds
Grantee: Charles Bayman

I was immediately out of my chair to get the microfilmed Bedford County deeds to read the complete transcript. Here is how the deed transcript began:

“…This Indenture made this 15th day of May A.D. 1824 between Philip Reynolds and Sophia his wife of the County of Miami, and the state of Ohio of the one part and Charles Bayman of the County of Bedford, Virginia….”

No doubt about it! This was the right couple, and the right county in Virginia! Once I had established Bedford County, Virginia, as the county were Philip and Sophia Reynolds lived, less than thirty minutes later I was in Bedford County marriage records, where I found the following entry:

“Philip Reynolds to Sophia Hill, 20 Dec 1806”

Summary:

Without using deeds, it would have been possible to find Philip Reynolds in Miami County, Ohio, or Bedford County, Virginia — but using the deed indexes as a finding tool, it was quicker and easier to get to the right place. Other records soon became apparent, and the research task was a huge success. What I was able to do with the deeds was retrace the trail Philip Reynolds followed from Virginia to Ohio, and to Indiana.. Without the deed in Ohio, I would not have been able to confirm that the deed in Virginia was for the same man.

This example of using deeds to establish the trail an ancestor followed is not a rare occurrence. Every deed will give you the residence of both the grantor and grantee. If a man sold his land after leaving a county, you may learn of the place he moved to. If a man bought land in another county before moving, you may learn of the county he left. If a man owned several parcels of land in a county, the first deed and the last deed may provide important evidence of the exact dates of a person’s residence in a particular place.

Cavaliers and Pioneers: Virginia Genealgoy

Since its first printing in 1934, Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants 1623-1666, the book has proven to be one of the most important genealogical references for colonial Virginia. The book is effectively a directory of Virginia’s earliest settlers. The book is a history into colonial origins, and offers genealogical references possibly not found anywhere else.

The book is comprised of land record abstracts dating back to 1623. Each record is provided in paragraph form under the name of each patentee or grantee.  Each records provides the number of acres, locations and dates of settlement, and names of family members. Many entries even include further references to marriages, wills, and other legal instruments. The volume also has the names of some thousands who were transported or brought over by the early settlers as “headrights.” A 200 page index contains the names of about 20,000 persons.

Extracting these records was a massive undertaking; especially, in the 1930s before computers and automated filing systems. The records themselves were often in poor shape, primarily due to mishandling, after nearly 300 years. In summary, the Land Office records followed thus: “45 volumes or 24,983 pages of Colonial Patents; 22 1/2 volumes or 8,371 pages of Northern Neck Deeds (issued by Thomas, Lord Fairfax, beginning in 1690); 67 volumes or 47,769 pages of Commonwealth Grants (beginning in 1779) and 7 1/2 volumes or 4,782 pages of Northern Neck Grants subsequent to the Revolutionary War, making a total of 142 manuscript volumes, representing 85,905 pages.”

Here is a sample entry, chosen at random:

“WILLIAM MELLING, 100 acs. Accomack Co, 20 June 1636, p. 366. At the head of the old plantation Cr., beg. at the Cabin brand, running Nly. along the same & Ely. along the head br. into the woods towards pynie swampe. 50 acs. for his per. adv. & 50 acs. by assignment from William Morton, to whom it was due for his per. adv.”

An explanation provided in the front matter gives the meaning for all the various abbreviations.

 

Table of Contents

Publishers Introduction

List of Illustrations

General Forword: Nell Marion Nugent

Introduction: Robert Armistead Stewart

Explanation

Abstracts:

  • Patent Book 1, Part I
  • Patent Book 1, Part II
  • Patent Book 2
  • Patents Book 3
  • Patent Book 4
  • Patent Book 5

Greatest Number of Acres in a Single Patent (Table)

Index to Introduction

General Index

Addenda

 

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Land Owners in Ireland 1876

Land Owners in Ireland 1876 presents the returns from a count of land owners of one acre or more throughout the country. The process began in 1873 when the Local Government Board in Ireland decided to ascertain the number and names of land owners. Clerks from Poor Law Unions extracted lists of owners from the property valuation and rate books in their custody. The Local Government Board collected these returns, alphabetized the results, and published them under the title Return of Owners of Land of One Acre and Upwards, in the Several Counties, Counties of Cities, and Counties of Towns in Ireland.

The intent in creating this return was to show the following for each county in Ireland:

  1. “The number and names of owners of land of one acre and upwards, whether build upon or not; including lessees for terms exceeding 99 years, or with a right of perpetual renewal, with the acreage and net annual vaule of the property belonging to each owner as shown in the valuation lists.
  2. The number of onwers of land, wheather build upon or ot, of less than one acre, with the aggregate area and net annual value of such proptery.
  3. The estimated area of Waste Land.”

Having collected the names form all land owners of one acre or more, these collected returns represent a significant portion of the population. In fact, the list represents nearly 50% of all land owners. (There were 32,614 owners of land of one acre and 36,144 unnamed owners of less than one acre.)

The returns are organized by provinces (Leinster, Munster, Ulster, and Connaught), then by counties, and thereunder alphabetically by the name of the landowner, giving his address, the extent of his property (acreage), and its valuation. The work constitutes an official inventory of land ownership and is in effect an 1870s-style Domesday Book for Ireland.

 

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