By Shannon Combs Bennett, Student
I like maps. No, I love maps. It really is a bit of an odd thing, but through my research I discovered that maps can tell you a lot. Then when you combine one with a record like a deed the results are beyond amazing. Module 5 of the US Land Records course covers deeds and maps, and just how important alternative sources are to your research.
Deeds are found in a wide range of places. Estate records, mortgages, sales and leases are a few place you might find a deed. But what is it? Well primarily (because there are near a dozen different types of deeds) it is a document that shows who owns a piece of property. This can be done through a bill of sale which records the transfer of ownership of property to a person. Or a quitclaim where someone relinquishes their property to another but doesn’t guarantee that someone else doesn’t own a portion of it. Or perhaps you could find a warranty deed which assures the purchaser that they are the sole owners.
Okay, so deeds are cool right? Bet you are now asking what they have to do with maps. Well, deeds contain information on the land. Its description, size, anything unique about it, even geological information. Put the two together and you now have a whole new perspective on your family.
You ancestor didn’t farm, well why not? By looking at a map you can see he lived on rough or rocky terrain. Your ancestor had pigs and lived near a steam with great limestone filtration. Bet he also produced alcohol on his land.
With maps you can also begin to plot out neighbors and relatives. How far away was the family? Or did one of the kids get the better land division in the will causing a real ruckus and a court case? Oh, the possibilities you can find with maps and deeds working together!
Alright, off to take the final. See you online!