No Deed of Acquisition?

If your relative was a landowner and you cannot find a deed of acquisition for the property he owned, it is possible that:

  • he inherited the land and there was no actual “deed;”
  • the deed of acquisition was not recorded (possible, but not likely);
  • the property was acquired through a grant that was not recorded with the local land records.

Acquisitions through inheritance may be documented in the local will or estate records. Deeds that were unrecorded are often impossible to locate, but consider looking at local real property tax records to determine when the ancestor started paying taxes on the property. Grants may have been colonial, state, or federal records–determine where these records are kept for the location and time period in question. Always ask researchers familiar with the local area to determine if there are any unique situations that may explain the failure to locate the record of acquisition. They may have suggestions specific to the place in question.