Do you know what the difference between a grantor and a grantee is? A grantor is someone who is selling or transferring their ownership in property to someone else. A grantee is someone who is purchasing property or is having property transferred to.
One joke I make during many lectures is about the genealogist who spent hours looking for a deed when her ancestor purchased land. Her time was spent looking in the grantor indexes. Of course, looking for when her ancestor purchased land should be done in the grantee indexes.
It can be easy to get the two terms mixed up. Make certain you are looking in the right index.
Keep in mind the difference between the date a document is executed and the date it is recorded. The date a document is executed is usually the day it is signed and becomes effective. The date of recording is the date the document is recorded officially at the courthouse. Documents cannot be recorded before they are executed, but there is no law that they have to be recorded within specific time frame.
Deeds may be recorded years after they are written. This is more likely to happen if a family goes to sell a piece of property and realizes the deceased owner never had his or her original deed recorded.
Have you looked for a relative’s probate only to not find it? Are you certain that he or she owned land when he died? If you are, look for a quit claim type of deed where the heirs either sell to one other heir or to another party. It may be that your ancestor’s estate “avoided” probate by use of one of these deeds. Sometimes these records will say the name of the deceased owner and sometimes they do not. Consequently to find these records, look in land indexes for the names of all known heirs of the relative whose probate you cannot find.