10 June 2009

Getting A Preemption Claim

John Lake appears on the Bureau of Land Management's database of land patents as having received a land patent for property in Chariton County, Missouri, in April of 1857. Never having seen a preemption claim, I am curious exactly what it contains. My contact at the National Archives is working on getting me a copy of the file. I'll post more when I know more and will probably use the information from the file for a future Casefile Clues column for Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter.

John Lake was in Mercer County, Kentucky, in 1850. I'm hoping there will be something in his preemption claim file that will help me pinpoint his migration into Missouri.

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14 January 2008

BLM Database at Ancestry.com

Ancestry.com released a version of a database of land patent data from the land patent database at the Bureau of Land Management. The Ancestry.com Land Patent Database currently does not contain information on as many states as the database at the Bureau of Land Management does.

I was excited however as the Ancestry.com version allows users to search based upon keywords. That search apparently does not function in the way I think or it does not function. Searches of keywords for "smith" and "johnson" resulted in no hits, yet there are obviously names such as those in the actual database.

The Bureau of Land Management contains more states, is free to use and contains a Visitor's Center that provides a background on the patents and the land description process followed in federal land states. Understanding how land is described is crucial to searching effectively.

Some time ago I made an extended post about using the Bureau of Land Management site.

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09 November 2007

Platting Out Kentucky Properties

When I was at the Family History Library last May, I scanned several deeds from Bourbon County, Kentucky for James Tinsley and Thomas Sledd, two of my ancestors.

This deed dated 2 April 1814, transferred property from Thomas Sledd to George Henry, part of the deed is shown in this post--the part that contains part of the metes and bounds description of the property.

I like to use a program called DeedMapper to plat out the parcels to get an idea of how they are shaped. DeedMapper requires the description of the property to be entered in a specific format, but it's really not to difficult to do that. The screen image shows how I did that for the Sledd deed.

DeedMapper will plat out the property. The first image shows it REALLY SMALL with the lines/corners shown.

The second image is larger and only shows the directions of each line. It gives a little better perspective. What I really need to do is fit all the deeds together in order to better understand what property Thomas Sledd owned at his death and how that property was allocated amongst his heirs.

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05 March 2007

What does that look like?

My forebear John Rucker revieved a patent in Spotsylvania County, Virginia in 1727. Part of the image of the patent is shown here--this is the part that describes the shape and size of his piece of property. There's a neat program that will allow you to type in the description of the property and get a grapical representation of that property--Deedmapper. Deedmapper is a great tool for genealogists who work a lot with deeds that contain metes and bounds descriptions.

The image shown below (we shrunk it) shows the shape of Rucker's piece of property. The goal is to plat out the properties of his likely neighbors and determine how the adjacent properties fit together. This is not a short or an easy process, but in an era with no vital records, land records are one of the few sources genealogists have at their disposal.

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24 February 2007

Where Did the Farm Go?

Determining how your ancestor's farm left his possession may provide valuable genealogical clues. Land research is not complete until you have all the "ins and outs" the purchases and the sales or transfers of each piece of property. An article we posted on our site a few years ago discusses ways to locate these records--all of which may not be deeds. Of course, if your ancestor "bought the farm" before he had a chance to sell the farm, you will need to look at probate or estate records. That is, assuming had a farm in the first place.

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18 February 2007

Quit Claims?

Ever wonder what the difference is between a quitclaim deed and a warantee deed?
In a nutshell the seller (grantor) on a quitlcaim deed is giving up any claim he or she has to the property in question. Usually on a quitclaim deed the seller has a questionable claim or the buyer is 100% certain the seller has a claim (usually because the seller is an heir to the property and the buyer is as well). On a warantee deed, the seller is guaranteeing that he has clear title.

We have posted two articles on our site regarding quitclaim deeds and their use in genealogical research. Both article one and article two can be linked to on our site.