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From the Ancestry Daily News
  Michael John Neill – 4/3/2003


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When we focus only on our direct-line ancestors we run the risk of missing significant clues. Ancestral siblings and adjacent documents may shed light on the people for whom we are looking. Such is the case of a series of deeds in Delaware County, Ohio, in the 1850s and 1860s.

The couple of interest was Archibald and Lucinda Kile, Ohio natives who settled in Mercer County, Illinois. Archibald and Lucinda are listed as grantors on a Delaware County, Ohio deed, dated 13 June 1859, which transferred ownership of two tracts of land totaling 30.75 acres to William Wickiser. Archibald and Lucinda are listed as Mercer County, Illinois, residents. There seems little doubt that they were the same couple enumerated in several Mercer County, Illinois censuses and buried in the Keithsburg (Mercer County, Illinois) cemetery (especially since census records in Mercer County, Illinois, do not indicate any other couple with the same names). The deed indicates Archibald and Lucinda are husband and wife. A deed always begs the question of how the land was obtained, but in this case there are other items that need to be noticed first.

The Kile-Wickiser deed was signed by the Kiles on 13 June 1859 and acknowledged before a Justice of the Peace on the same day. While the text of the deed indicates the couple was living in Mercer County, Illinois, the Justice of the Peace (before whom the deed was acknowledged) indicates his residence was Keithsburg, Mercer County, Illinois. If I had not known where the Kiles lived in Mercer County, I could reasonably have concluded that they lived near Keithsburg.

But the Kile-Wickiser deed was not the only one recorded in the book. While most deeds (except the last one in the book) have deeds recorded after them, the two following deeds in this case were different. These two deeds also transferred ownership in the same property as the Kile deed and both subsequent deeds listed William Wickiser as the grantee. Had these subsequent deeds been neglected, significant research clues would have been missed.

The second deed of 6 March 1862 was from Matthais and Ann Green (husband and wife), and William, Victoria, and Charles Green. The property was the same 30.75 acres in Delaware County, Ohio. And again the grantee was William Wickiser. The text of the actual deed did not list the Green's county of residence. However, the deed was acknowledged by the Greens in front of a Justice of the Peace in Noble County, Indiana the day after it was signed.

The third deed was from Sarah Calvert of Delaware County, Ohio, signed and witnessed on 29 December 1859. All of the deeds had some non-trivial financial consideration.

What Was The Property?
All the deeds in question convey interest in the southwest part of Lot 9 in section 4 of Township 3, Range 16 west (9 acres) and the Northwest part of lot 10 in section 4 in Township 3, Range 16 (11.75 acres). Further research should attempt to determine who owned the property before the Kiles, Greens, and Sarah Calvert did. Having the legal description will help, but locating the previous owner will take some time and may require going through land, court, and probate records. The best thing to do might be to determine (if possible) who was paying taxes on the land before the Kiles, et al. That would give a name of someone to look for in land and other records.

What Was Going On Here?
The most likely situation is that this was some type of inheritance--but the deeds do not make any insinuations other than indicating that some grantors are husband and wife. Based solely upon the three deeds, here's a working hypothesis.

The following people are somehow related:

Archibald and Lucinda Kile
The Greens (Matthais, Ann, William, Victoria, and Charles)
Sarah Calvert

The exact relationship is another story.

There are several Greens on the second deed, all living in one location. I suspect that they are all (except for Ann) the child of a deceased heir to this property. It might be helpful to search the 1850 census in Noble County, Indiana for these individuals.

Since Sarah Calvert is listed separately on her deed, I suspect that at the time the document was drawn up she had no living husband. If Sarah had a husband at the time the deed was drawn up, he would very likely be listed on the document as well.

I'm also speculating that William Wickiser is an heir too even though this not explicitly stated anywhere. Why? The deeds were not all executed on the same date, they were drawn up over a several year time period. A non-family member purchasing the property would typically insist that clear title be obtained at one specific point in time, not stringing out the deeds over a several year time period. Typically (but not always) when someone "outside" the family buys a family's property all their heirs sign records transferring ownership to the buyer on the same day. This is simply in the best interest of the purchaser of the property. This did not happen in the deeds to William Wickiser.

The bigger question here is how the individuals are related. Unfortunately the deeds located so far do not precisely answer that question.

This series of deeds provides a reference that several individuals are related. It is up to the researcher to search out additional records to determine as best they can what that relationship is. The following documents might be helpful to me in my search for additional information on this family:

  • Tax records beginning with when the property was sold and working backwards.
  • Land records.
  • Court and estate records.
  • Census records.

    While census records will probably not indicate how these individuals are related, they will help us to approximate dates and places of birth, which will be helpful in placing these people in an overall framework.

    Last Bit?
    Don't just hone in on one record. Take a look at what is before and what is after. There may be big clues just on the other side of the page.

    Note: The three deeds discussed can be found in the Delaware County, Ohio, Recorder's Office, Deed Book 47, pages 491-494.


    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 and Genealogical Computing. You can e-mail him at: mjnrootdig@myfamily.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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