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, April 4, 2012

Wisdom Wednesday – Legal Education for Non-Lawyers

There are large groups of professionals who need a working knowledge of land-related legal terms. I count Realtors®, appraisers, and surveyors at the top of this group.

I was a Realtor®. My ‘legal’ education began in 1979 with the first course I took to get my broker’s license. The text book we used was Real Estate Principles by Bruce Harwood. (Reston, Virginia: Reston Publishing Company 1977) It is a battered, but treasured part of my library. Revised many times since, it is used in college level real estate courses and in license prep courses for Realtors®.  Over the years, Harwood took on a co-author, Charles J. Jacobus, who is now the only author of the 2009 11th Edition.
It is noted for its definitions of terms for non-lawyers. For genealogy purposes, the older editions are generally fine. The early chapters define deeds, discuss legal descriptions and give details of recording procedures, the one item that has changed dramatically with the advent of computers and the internet. It is helpful for genealogists to know how records are handled at repositories, so a newer edition may be worth the expense.   

Later chapters of the book deal with mortgages and home finance, an area that does change rapidly. If you have a personal need for the information, then buy a new edition, but it will be costly. Amazon.com has a good selection of new and used volumes. Before buying, check American Book Exchange, www.abebooks.com.
An online source for basic legal information is www. lawyers.com. The site primarily exists as a referral network, if you need an attorney, but has a lot of basic information.  If you follow the path below, you will come to a basic page about deeds including the essential part of deeds, types of deeds and definitions of terms.

www.lawyers.com>Understand your legal issues>Real Estate>Residential Real Estate>Deeds
©2012, Susan Lewis Well

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