Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Deeds of Sale May Give More Information

Sometimes when you are doing land research in the courthouse, you may run across a deed with your ancestor's name but you're not sure if this is your ancestor or a person of the same name.  This situation usually occurs when you are searching the grantor-grantee (or direct-indirect) indices and find a tract of land that you didn't know that your ancestor owned.

Here is an example.  I found a tract of land in Jefferson County, Nebr., where my great-grandfather Heinrich F. Reimer #317342 lived.  It was purchased by "Henry Reimer," but this piece of land was several miles from where he lived, so I wasn't sure if it was he or another Henry Reimer.  Here is a scan of the grantor-grantee information:
Warranty Deed, Sarah J. & Abr. F. Rempel to Henry & Katharina Reimer, 6 June 1903, Jefferson County, Nebraska, Deed Book 29:636, Register of Deeds, County Courthouse, Fairbury.

But if I check the tract index at the courthouse, I can find where "Henry Reimer" sold this piece of land.  In many, if not all, states, the sales deed shows the wife's name as well as the husband's.  This is because in most states a married couple owned property jointly if it was acquired while they were married.  So the wife would need to agree to sell her interest as well.  Here is the sales deed:
Warranty Deed, Henry & Katharina Reimer to Frank L. Rain, 27 May 1908, Jefferson County, Nebraska, Deed Book 37:431, Register of Deeds, County Courthouse, Fairbury.
The same tract of land was next sold by "Henry Reimer and Katharina Reimer, husband and wife."  BINGO!  My great-grandmother's name was Katharina, so the sales deed shows that the purchase is his.  For some reason, he bought eighty acres of land some distance from his farm and home.

Another time, I found a tract of land purchased by Katharina Fast in McPherson Co., Kans.  I knew that my great-grandmother Katharina (Penner) Fast #86813 (1852-1940) had actually lived in that section, so without question I believed it was she.  But many years later when I decided to go back to the county courthouse, I found that that tract was sold in the 1950s by a Katharina Fast living in California.  Since my great-grandmother died in 1940 and never lived in California, I realized that she was not the seller and therefore not the buyer and that I had made a faulty assumption.  Then I found a deed where her daughter Minnie Fast, my great-aunt, actually bought a nearby tract of land in that section.  So my great-grandmother never actually owned land there.  But again it was the sales deed that gave me the clue I needed.

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