From the Ancestry
The Quick Quitclaim
Two seemingly simple 1889 deeds to my ancestor started one of the longer research trails I have followed. My follow-up on the two quitclaim deeds to Jann Habben resulted in more genealogical information than I expected.
Did your ancestor ever sign a quitclaim deed? Ever wonder what the quitclaim deed was for and why the relative signed it? This week we take a look at two quitclaim deeds I discovered and discuss what they mean to my genealogy research. Most genealogists whose ancestors owned any real estate will encounter a quitclaim deed at some point in their research.
Before we go any further, it is paramount to review two general land record terms: grantor and grantee.
The grantor is the person who is either selling or transferring a piece or property or an interest in a piece of property.
The grantee is the person who is receiving the piece of property or an interest in a piece of property.
When using land records, it is paramount that these terms be understood or hours can be wasted and confusion can be the result. There are several types of deed records, this week our discussion is on the quitclaim deed. These records, like virtually all local-land records, are typically found at the county courthouse
What is a Quitclaim Deed?
Our discussion will start with the two quit-claim deeds signed in 1889 that quickly lead to more questions and other records.
The deeds were:
Hancock County, Illinois, Recorder's Office, Deed Book 121, page 594:
Harm and Martha S. Fecht of Cheyenne County, Nebraska, a quit claim deed to Jann Habben, 160 acres in Prairie Township. Consideration $50 and deed dated 4 November 1889.
Hancock County, Illinois, Recorder's Office, Deed Book 121, page 595:
Mattie Huls, grandchild of Mimke L. Habben, deceased, quit claim to Jann Habben the same 160 acres as in the deed on page 594. Consideration $50 and deed dated 21 November 1889.
Both deeds were recorded on 21 Nov 1889.
Just What Is Going on Here?
Why would the Fechts and Mattie Huls claim to have an interest in this property? And why would Jann Habben buy their claim?
Who Really Owned the Property?
Two of the three grantors on the quitclaim deeds were related to Mimke. Mimke was the former father-in-law of Harm Fecht and was the maternal grandfather of Mattie Huls (the two grantors). Mimke was also the father of Jann Habben, the grantee who purchased the property under the quitclaim deeds.
So What If the Dead Guy Owned It?
The Former Son-in-Law
Antje Habben Fecht inherited an interest in the farm upon her father's death. Harm was Antje's only heir at her death. Does Harm have any legal title to the farm based upon him having survived his first wife, Antje? I'm not certain, but the point became moot the moment Harm and wife Martha signed the quitclaim deed. Jann Habben was buying out any potential interest they had in the farm.
What Was Jann Doing
Quit Claim Summary
What Was Helpful in This Case?
Researching more than just land records was also helpful. The estate records of Mimke Habben and the county atlas were just two additional sources that were utilized.
Creating a chronology helped organize the details. The timeline should list documents as they were executed, not as they were recorded. The recording might not have taken place in strict chronological order.
Need to Review Land Records?
More information can also be found in E. Wade Hone's, Land and Property Research in the United States. (Ancestry, 1997)
There's More. . .
Michael John Neill is the Course I Coordinator at the Genealogical
Institute of Mid America (GIMA) held annually in Springfield, Illinois, and is also on the faculty of Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Illinois. Michael is the Web columnist for the FGS FORUM and is on the editorial board of the Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly. He conducts seminars and lectures on a wide variety of genealogical and computer topics and contributes to several genealogical publications, including Ancestry Magazine and Genealogical Computing. You can e-mail him at email@example.com or visit his website at www.rootdig.com/, but he regrets that he is unable to assist with personal research.
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