Who’s Afraid of Land Records?


Course Overview:

Land and property records are among the most interesting documentary evidence available to genealogists. They potentially contain a wealth of genealogical information, or they may present clues to other people’s information. They also are among the most numerous records available. Unfortunately, many genealogy researchers are afraid of the prospect of working with these records. They may be put off by the legal terminology, the measurement systems used, and the prospect of tracing the ownership of a piece of property. They fail to take the time to learn about them and how to work with them. However, as with any other record type, some advanced study of the topic, the time period, and the location will prepare you for your research.

This written course consists of several parts, focusing on different topics:

  • Types of land records and the kinds of information that may be found in them;
  • Indexes to land and property records and where to find them; and
  • Methodologies for working with deeds and other records.

The goal is to provide a basic understanding of these records. We do not plan to address Federal Land Patents or the Homestead Act of 1862 in this course. These are subjects for future lessons.

For even more information, please watch our video titled Colonial and Early American Land Records.