Welcome, fellow genealogists! My blog will teach you about U.S. land records and United Kingdom research. My family has roots in Niagara County, New York; Norfolk, England; and northeast Germany.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wisdom Wednesday – Land Records Term – 'Seized'

When people use the word ‘seize’, I think they mean grab or take but with a slightly more negative connotation. When I first saw the word in a land deed, I could see that it had a different legal meaning, different enough to need a comment or two here.  Read the next passage from a late 1800s deed  and see if you can get the other meaning from the context:

“…the estate of said James Damon of which he died seized…together with all the personal property of which the said James Damon died seized.
 Hampshire MA Registry of Deeds, Book 362 Page 195

It appears to mean that James Damon of Chesterfield, Massachusetts died owning the property.  According to the dictionary that‘s right, the word ‘seize’ can mean “to make someone the legal owner of property or goods.”

I have not seen many modern Massachusetts' deeds use the word, but here is an example from a 2000 deed in Florida. It is part of the covenants and warranty paragraph of a Warranty Deed.

“And the grantor hereby covenants with the said grantee that the grantor is lawfully seized of said land…”
Manatee County FL,  Book 1659 Page 6643

                                                                                                                                        ©2012, Susan Lewis Well

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