Where Are the Surveys?

If you have searched local land records (usually kept at the county or town level in the United States), have you determined where later surveys or plats are kept? These items may be filed in with the deed books or filed in a separate series of volumes, ledgers, or other format.

After John Habben died in 1939, his sons had a survey conducted to clearly establish who had what pieces of property. The survey is filed in the recorder’s office in the same location as the land records, but in a separate series of documents. The survey simply establishes the boundaries, acreages, and ownership of each piece of property. It does not document how the men acquired the property.

One would have to search land and other local records for that.

Not every parcel would have a survey recorded, but if there was any question over property boundaries it likely happened. Do not assume that surveys were the result of a family disagreement. Sometimes families knew where the lines were but wanted them clearly established to reduce difficulties after their death or if properties were sold.