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US Vital, Land, Census and Probate Records by Beverley A. & Kenneth W. Rees.

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Presentation on theme: "US Vital, Land, Census and Probate Records by Beverley A. & Kenneth W. Rees."— Presentation transcript:

1 US Vital, Land, Census and Probate Records by Beverley A. & Kenneth W. Rees

2 Credits The Handybook for Genealogists The Source Genealogical Research Essentials Encyclopedia of Genealogy

3 Disclaimer Each of these topics deserves a several hour presentation. Due to time constraints, we will present only a brief introduction that will focus on What the source is What it might contain Why we might be interested How the source might be used Examples

4 Agenda Vital Records Land and Property Records Census Records Probate Records Questions

5 Vital Records What are vital records? What might vital records contain? Why might I be interested in vital records? How might vital records be used? Examples

6 Vital Records Vital records consist of birth, marriage, divorce and death records, kept by a governmental agency or under governmental jurisdiction. (Encyclopedia of Genealogy, http://eogen.com/VitalRecords)

7 Vital Records Typically, vital records will contain Birth - the name, date, place, and parents names Marriage - the names of the parties, ages, date, place, and name of the officiator Divorce – the names of the parties, date, place Death – the name, age, date, place of death

8 Vital Records Vital records are kept at the local (state, county/parish, town) level of government. In the United States, there is no central register for births, marriages, and deaths as there has been in the England since 1837. However....

9 Vital Records The Social Security Death Index may be used as a partial index to births and deaths in the United States. Information on deaths before 1962 is sketchy; information on deaths before 1937 is non-existent.

10 Vital Records The SSDI may give information about Social Security number Surname Given Name Date of Death Date of Birth Last Known Residence Location of Last Benefit Date and Place of Issuance

11 Vital Records Reuel WHEELER Birth Date: 3 Aug 1893 Death Date: Jul 1975 Social Security Number: 529-07-3423 State or Territory Where Number Was Issued: Utah Death Residence Localities ZIP Code: 84047 Localities: Cushing, Salt Lake, Utah Midvale, Salt Lake, Utah Union, Salt Lake, Utah

12 Vital Records Vital records give us the minimum information needed to establish identity Name Date Place Relationship

13 Vital Records Vital records are usually acquired through a governmental agency, although some jurisdictions are using private firms. When an index is not available to the family historian, a search can be ordered. Typically, at least the name, date, and place of the event must be provided. Exact details are not usually required.

14 Vital Records Here are a couple of sites that might prove useful in obtain US vital records: Where to write for vital records: www.cdc.gov/nchs/howto/w2w Online searchable death indexes http://www.deathindexes.com/

15 Vital Records Other avenues: google vital records Consult the Handybook for Genealogists Examine the Family History Library catalogue

16 Vital Records And still other ideas: Contact a researcher (via APG) Look at USGenWeb Examine the official state,country, or town web page

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22 Land and Property Records What are land and property records? What might land and property records contain? Why might I be interested in land and property records? How might land and property records be used? Examples

23 Land and Property Records Land and property records detail the transfer of real property from one individual to another. These records also relate to the land and real property owned by one individual but used or occupied by another.

24 Land and Property Records Land and property records include (but are not limited to) Deeds (fee simple, quit claim, gift, etc.) Mortgages Dower releases Powers of attorney Marriage property settlements Bills of sale Contracts

25 Land and Property Records Petitions Warrants Surveys Plats Grants Surveyor's notes Correspondence

26 Land and Property Records There was (in general) no requirement for a deed (or similar instrument) to be registered quickly or at all. Thus finding a land transfer may tax the skills of any family historian! Transfers are usually doubly indexed: grantor (direct or seller) and grantee (indirect or buyer) indexes. Also indexed by plat book for claimants and entrymen.

27 Land and Property Records In the United States, 20 states (the original 13 and 7 others) are known as State Land States. The land in these states was never a part of the Federal public domain The other 30 states are known as Public Domain States. This land originally belonged to the Federal government.

28 Land and Property Records State Land States Land described by some form of metes and bounds. Blaze Petition Warrant Survey or plat Grant or patent

29 Land and Property Records Metes and bounds example: Beginning at the mouth of a branch at an ash stump thence up the creek south 20 poles to 2 beach, thence east 41 poles to a small walnut in Arnett's line, thence north 50 east 80 poles to a linn hickory dogwood in said line, thence north 38 poles to an ash, thence west 296 poles with Potts's line till it intersects with Tolly's line, thence south 30 west 80 poles to a whiteoak and sugar, thence east 223 poles to beginning

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31 Federal Land States Described by rectangular survey Pre-emption and private land claims Survey Sale Auction Case file to GLO Patent issued

32 Land and Property Records Federal Land States Federal government not the states would dispose of western lands. Indian title had to be removed. Land offices located near the settlers. War service brought a right to free land.

33 Land and Property Records Federal Land States Military bounty lands and entry claims bought and sold before patent was obtained. Valid titles from French, Spanish, and British governments honored.

34 Land and Property Records Free land Veterans (service to Civil War) Military wagon roads (1823) Canals (1827) River improvement (1828) Swamp reclamation (1849) Railroads (1850)

35 Land and Property Records Free land Colleges (1862) Homesteads (beginning 1862) Desert reclamation (1894) The frontier closed about 1891, marking the end of most of the free land era in the United States.

36 Land and Property Records Terms used in the Township and Range System: Section Basic unit of the system, a square tract of line one mile by one mile containing 640 acres.

37 Land and Property Records Terms used in the Township and Range System: 36 sections are ranged in a 6 by 6 array, measuring 6 miles by 6 miles. Sections are numbered beginning with the northeast-most section, proceeding west to 6, then south along the west edge of the township and to the east.

38 Land and Property Records Terms used in the Township and Range System: Range Assigned to a township by measuring east or west of a Principal Meridian Range Lines North to south lines which mark township boundaries

39 Land and Property Records Terms used in the Township and Range System: Township Lines East to west lines which mark township boundaries Principal Meridian Reference or beginning point for measuring east or west ranges.

40 Land and Property Records Terms used in the Township and Range System: Base line Reference or beginning point for measuring north or south townships.

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44 Establish a particular individual in a specific place at a specific time Can give relationship information (families often bought and sold land) Help to distinguish one John Grant from another John Grant Prior to the Civil War, most free adult males owned land.

45 Land and Property Records Deed/transfer records are usually accessed through the county/parish clerk. Many indexes have been microfilmed. Few are on-line.

46 Land and Property Records Original grant/patent records are available through the BLM and NARA for Public Domain States through the Surveyor-General (or similar office) for State Land States

47 Land and Property Records For more information The Handybook for Genealogists The Source Encyclopedia of Genealogy (http://eogen.com) NARA (www.archives.gov) BLM (www.blm.gov/wo/st/en.html)

48 Land and Property Records

49 Census Records What is a census? What might a census record contain? Why might I be interested in census records? How might I use a census record? Examples

50 Census Records A Census Record is a government sponsored enumeration of the population in a particular area. (Encycleopedia of Genealogy, http://eogen.com/CensusRecord)

51 Census Records The data captured varies by country and by year, but often contains names of heads of households or all household members their ages citizenship status ethnic background

52 Census Records Census records group a population into family or household units. They also place a particular individual, family, or group in a particular place at a particular time. They also show geographical proximity for individuals, families, or households.

53 Census Records Federal census Begins in 1790; taken every 10 years 1930 is the last enumeration available 1890 was substantially destroyed by fire 1790 – 1840 primarily statistical 1850 – 1930 increasing information Almost completely indexed

54 Census Records State/territorial census Were taken irregularly Coverage varies from state to state, and from year to year May have been taken for the purpose of establishing population prior to gaining statehood (inflated population estimates?) May or may not be indexed

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59 Probate Records What is a probate record? What might a probate record contain? Why might I be interested in a probate record? How might a probate record be used? Examples

60 Probate Records Probate records document the disposition of a deceased individual's property and the placement of his minor children. Other documents one might find in probate records are guardianships of adults declared non compos mentis, name changes, and naturalizations. (Encyclopedia of Genealogy, http://eogen.com/ProbateRecords)

61 Probate Records Court records Petitions Wills Bonds Inventories Publications

62 Probate Records Accounts Divisions Releases Claims

63 Probate Records Can give important clues to the composition of a family. Can help to locate an individual in a particular place at a specific time.

64 Probate Records Executor/administrator petitions for probate Will is proved Executor/administrator is appointed Executor/administrator posts bond Estate is inventoried Publication of pending probate Allowance made for dependents Guardians are appointed

65 Probate Records Court ordered sales for support of widow and children Yearly accounting by executor/administrator Additional publication of pending probate

66 Probate Records Final accounting by executor/administrator When agreement is reached and all heirs reach majority, a distribution takes place. Heirs sign receipt/release to executor/administrator.

67 Probate Records Probate records are typically accessed through the district or similar court. An index probably exists for the probate files. It may be organized by name of deceased, or it may be an all names index (invaluable!) Some indexes are appearing online.

68 Probate Records Consult the Handybook for Genealogists. Look at The Source. Examine the Family History Library catalogue. google probate index Go to Ancestry

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71 Questions?

72 Beverley A. & Kenneth W. Rees 15 Heritage Point West Lethbridge, AB T1K 7B7 Phone: 403.328.9366 Email: ancestor-find@familyhistree.com


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