Legal terms can be confusing, but genealogists need to understand them correctly or incorrect conclusions can be made. “Mortgagor” is one of those terms. It is the borrower on a mortgage, typically the homeowner. They are the one who is actually mortgaging their title and the person signing the mortgage–hence the “or” on the word.
It’s similar to a grantor on a deed–that’s the person who is signing the deed and is granting their title to someone else. The mortgagor is mortgaging their title to the mortgagee–that’s the bank, lending institution, or person loaning the money.
In the early 20th century, it was not uncommon for individuals to loan money to others and the borrower would mortgage their real estate as security for the loan. There were loan brokers who worked to connect people with money with individuals who had title to real estate and wanted to borrow against it (See “Money to Loan” for more information).