Friday, July 27, 2007

Searching for 20th Century Property Records

One of my CVGS colleagues wanted to know how to find property records for her grandparents house in Maspeth, Queens County, New York. The grandparents died in 1972 and 1980, respectively, and she wanted to know what happened to the property.

Initially, it was difficult to find an online resource for property records in Queens. I went to the http://publicrecords.onlinesearches.com/ site that I discussed earlier, but they didn't have a link for property records in Queens County NY.

I Googled "property recorder queens new york" hoping to get an address that my colleague could write to or visit. Voila! One web site that popped up was the "Automated City Register Information System - ACRIS" web site at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dof/html/jump/acris.shtml . This site has property records (plus many more records!) online since 1/1/1966 - including printable images.

The search page is at http://a836-acris.nyc.gov/scripts/docsearch.dll/index. I chose Party Name and got this page - http://a836-acris.nyc.gov/Scripts/DocSearch.dll/PName

I put the surname in the surname box, set 1/1/1965 as the starting date, selected Queens and hit Search. The list of hits included the grandmother with a Release of Lien of Estate Tax (Real Property) on 13 August 1980. I selected that one, and got an image of the paper, which I printed. The index defined the block and lot numbers, so I went back to the first Search screen and selected the Borough/Block/Lot search and got a list of property transactions for the specific property since 1966.

There were no listings for the grandfather by the name my colleague gave me. However, there was a person with the same surname in 1972, and I found a deed for the grandfather transferring his survivor title to himself and his son in 1972, after the grandmother died.

Earlier deeds that are not online can probably be found in the New York City Municipal Archives, Room 103, at 31 Chambers Street in Manhattan. [WRONG! See the update below.]

One reason I like to help my CVGS colleagues with their research problems is that I learn so much about other localities and types of records. It was fun to learn something, help somebody and solve a research problem.

Have you checked to see if your counties of genealogy interest have public records like these available online?

UPDATE 7/27 8:30 PM: Joy Rich made a helpful comment:

"Randy, in New York City, property records are located in the City Register's Office in each borough (except Staten Island). The Queens office has records from 1683 to the present. The URL for the Queens office is http://www.nyc.gov/html/dof/html/contact/contact_visit_queens.shtml ."

Now, why wouldn't that show up in my Google search? Perhaps I didn't dig down in the Google heap.

Thank you, Joy! People helping people - that's really how we all benefit from blogging!

3 comments:

Miriam said...

Randy, earlier this month I blogged here about how I was able to find some property records for my paternal grandparents and my grandfather's siblings using county clerks' websites. I learned a lot both about what types of records are available online as well as what kinds of property my family members owned.

Tamara said...

Randy - If you haven't done so already, be sure to e-mail the folks at Public Records Directory. The state & county pages have a link to "recommend a link for this page". I have submitted records and assessor links for Massachusetts and they've been posted within a few days.

Joy Rich said...

Randy, in New York City, property records are located in the City Register's Office in each borough (except Staten Island). The Queens office has records from 1683 to the present. The URL for the Queens office is
http://www.nyc.gov/html/dof/html/
contact/contact_visit_queens.shtml .