Monday, July 12, 2010

U.S. Land Records Course

I recently completed the U.S. Land Records course at the National Institute of Genealogical Studies. So far in my research, I have overlooked land records; mostly because I did not know how to find them, and how they could be useful. Of particular interest to me in this course were some unexpected pieces of information available in deeds, such as witnesses to the deed (which could lead to neighbors and/or previously unknown relatives), and deeds which required a release of dower, which meant that the landowner's wife would have to identify herself in the document - and we all know how hard female relatives can be to identify and place.

I'd like to find out more about how to locate land records in Pennsylvania in the last 100 years. The course gave some good resources for colonial land records in Pennsylvania , but few for more recent records. You can request a free lookup in an impressive collection of colonial Pennsylvania land records here, but I'm not yet sure of the speed and quality of the results. There are some scanned land records available here at the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. 

Pennsylvania Land Records: A History and Guide for Research, by Donna B. Munger, looks like a promising place to start Pennsylvania land record research. Has anyone used this resource? If you don't mind sharing, what kind of results have you gained from it?

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