Every Piece of Paper

A release of a mortgage can seem like a mundane document. It essentially indicates that a mortgage has been paid off in full and that the holder of the note is releasing their interest in the property and that they no longer have a claim to the real estate that was used to secure the loan.

Because of that, I almost didn’t obtain a copy of a release for a relative from 1948. All it would do is list the property description, the name of the borrower, and that the loan was paid.

But there was a little clue. The release was structured as a quit claim deed–the holder of the note was relinquishing their claim to the property. Still pretty typical. But something had happened between the relative purchasing the property in the 1930s and their paying it off in 1948.

The release document referred to my relative as “John Smith, divorced, and now not married.”

The relative was unmarried when the purchase was acquired. Without the release quit claim, I might never have known about the marriage.