Have you ever looked at a land record and the boundary description sounded like a foreign language to you? Maybe it included “chains,” and “rods,” and “links” and you didn’t know how long each of those were. Or maybe it described a tree or a stream or a road, but the tree’s been cut down, the stream dried up, and the road moved!
How are you to know where that piece of land is, let alone how to plot it?
Never fear. Help is here.
There usually is a difference between the land descriptions of Land State Land States and Public Land States. This blog is about the State Land States.
State Land States were often measured in “metes and bounds.” The land was identified by physical features, streams, rivers, trees, stones, etc. The land was measured thus:
· 1 chain = 100 links or 22 yards or 66 feet
· 1 rod, perch, or pole = 0.25 chains, 5½ yards, 16½ feet
· 1 link = 7.92 inches
· 1 mile = 80 chains, 5,280 feet
· 1 furlong = 10 chains, 220 yards, 660 feet
· 1 acre = 160 square rods or 43,560 square feet
A typical land description for a State Land State reads: “Beginning at the poplar tree,” or “the southwest corner of lot number nineteen thence running due east nine chains and 20 links to the center of the highway thence east twenty-seven degrees north along said highway to the west line of lot No. 19 thence due south to the place of beginning containing three acres more or less…”
Don’t let this description scare you! You can learn how to plot these type of parcels and there is even software to do the plotting for you! You might want to try DeedMapper by Direct Line Software.
Rather than reinvent the wheel, check DeedMapper’s “Research Directory” to see if anyone is conducting land research in the area your ancestor lived. You can post your name and search area on this directory as well.
This company also has a “Deed Data Pool” to share deeds. Some have posted their deeds and you can post yours. You will need DeedMapper software to view the plat but you can read the text without the software.
Now you have the tools you need to plot your ancestor’s state land!
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