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, October 16, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday: Land Description by Map Reference

Of the essential clauses in a deed, the land description is the most unfamiliar to the average genealogist. I explained the metes and bounds system of land measurement in a blog posted 13 Oct 2011, and I described the Government Survey System in two posts, 15 and 22 Aug 2012. The first system is used in the state land states; the thirteen original colonies and Maine, Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Texas and Hawaii. The other 30 states are called federal land states.

A third system that is used in both state and federal land states refers to a lot number on a plan for a subdivision. Depending where you live in the U.S., it might be called the recorded plat, recorded map, recorded survey or the lot-block-tract system. Briefly, a map of a large tract of land has been surveyed into smaller lots, the subdivision named and the new lots numbered. Then the resulting map is recorded at a county land records office. From that time, a legal description of one of the small lots can just refer to the number on the recorded map.
You might think this seems like a modern suburban subdivision which it is.  If you think that you would not be able to find an older deed that uses this method to describe land, you would be wrong.  I have found a deed from 1843 in Massachusetts and 1850s Pennsylvania. So be ready.

Here is an example from a turn of the 20th century Montana deed:

Necessary information:
            Name of subdivision: Seymer Park Addition, Block 17, City of Helena
            Lot Number(s): 1,2,3
            Where map recorded: Office of the Clerk and Recorder, Lewis and Clark County

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