The Many-Handed Document

I have the original deed from 1958 when my great-grandparents sold some property to my maternal grandparents. Like many original documents, more than one person signed or wrote on it.

Someone typed it (probably the lawyer or their secretary).

My great-grandparents (as the grantors) signed it.

The notary signed it (on reverse and not shown in illustration)

My great-grandfather wrote his initials over the tax stamps that were on the deed as a required part of the transaction.

A staff member of the county recorder’s office wrote in the document number and book and page of recording.

If you have an original record or a photographic reproduction of one, do you think about all the different people whose writing may appear on this document? Don’t assume “just one person” was involved in the creation of a document. Many times many hands are needed before a document is complete.