by Dawne

Deeds are one of my favorite kinds of records as a genealogist. The information that can be found in deed books far surpasses the basic transfer of land from one person to another. Also, the information included in deeds often will point to other records or avenues of research that can be pursued. Consider the following examples, all from Washington County, Pennsylvania:

  • Louisa Bane, in exchange for $1, quit-claimed to Aaron Bane her interest in some land in Amwell Township “for the consideration of the natural love and affection which the said Louisa Bane has for her brother the said Aaron Bane and for the further consideration that the aforesaid Aaron Bane has this day by a writing under his hand and seal bound himself, his heirs, executors, administrators and assignees to support her (the said Louisa Bane) during the term of her natural life …” [Vol. 5-K: 314 Bane-Bane, 1878]
The above states the relationship of the grantor and grantee, and notes that the brother has agreed to care for his sister for her lifetime. Other research in census and other records revealed that Louisa never married.
  • James Martin and Ellen, his wife; Boyd M. Crouch and Esther (formerly Esther Martin), his wife, all of Richland County, Ohio; Isaac P. C. Martin of Morrow County, Iowa; Ross Taggart and Isabel H. (formerly Isabel Martin), his wife of Beaver County, Pennsylvania; William Martin and Mary A., his wife; Margaret M. McCarroll, widow of Thomas McCarroll (formerly Margaret M. Martin); Sarah M. Rowan, widow of Robert Rowan (formerly Sarah Martin), all of Washington County, Pennsylvania, children and heirs of Samuel Martin … to Eliza Jane Martin, also a child and heir of Samuel Martin … [Vol. 5-K: 332 Martin et al-Martin, 1878]
This deed includes the names of Samuel Martin’s children, including the married names of the daughters, their husbands’ names, the first names of the deceased husbands of two daughters, and everyone’s current place of residence.
  • R. D. Sutton and Josephine Sutton of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to W. C. Bane, M.D. of Canonsburg, a brick dwelling house and lot of ground on Pike Street in Canonsburg. [Vol. 5-R: 639 Sutton-Bane, 1881]
We learn that there is a home on the property being sold, and of what type (brick). Also, W. C. Bane’s occupation is given (M.D. = medical doctor).
  • James Spriggs, Esquire, High Sheriff of Washington County, acting on a writ dated 19 June 1837 that directed that chattels, goods and tenements of John S. Bane be sold, conveys to William Howden a lot of ground in Williamsburgh, West Bethlehem Township, on which there is a frame dwelling house, 24 by 11 feet, one story, with logs raised for a stable. [Vol. 3-L: 458 Spriggs-Howden, recorded 1853]

There is a gap of time between the date of the writ (1837) and the date the instrument was recorded (1853). Perhaps Howden didn’t initially have the deed recorded but later wanted to resell the property? Why was the land directed to be sold? Perhaps John Bane could not pay his debts. Court records might tell us. The type of dwelling again is described.

Part II of this article will continue tomorrow.