Searching deeds requires the researcher to look for a time after the actual document was drawn up and signed. Purchasers usually recorded deeds relatively promptly, but not always. If the courthouse was a distance or difficult to get to, it may have been years before the document was recorded. And sometimes people simply forgot to record a deed and did not realize it until the property was sold or the owner died. Don’t assume that your ancestor who lived in an area from 1830-1840 would have no deeds of sale recorded outside that time frame. recordingdates



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  1. The date of an agreement to sell/buy does not necessarily reflect consummation of the agreement via full payment as agreed. The deed may be recorded only when the buyer presents the Register of Deeds with a receipt acknowledging payment. And then often there was the recordation fee to be paid, and/or excise taxes.

    There are lots of reasons for a deed to be brought for belated recording by an estate administrator, or by a person who had been designated to do so by a Power of Attorney.

    The diligent researcher should also deeply investigate court records that can result in partition and/or sale indexed by name of appointed commissioners or a Sheriff with names in the grantor index that are unrelated to the name of the prior owner, and sometimes such deeds ordered by a Court in Chancery that might not be recorded as deeds or mortgages at all.

    Land records can have a lot of twists and turns.

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