Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Answering Sue's Extracting Challenge - A Simple Massachusetts Deed

After my Amanuensis Monday post last week, Sue Adams challenged me (in comments) to extract all of the information in the land record.  She reminded me again this morning on Google+, saying:

"Hi Randy

"I challenged you to extract all the information from your Amanuensis Monday - Post 190: Luke Bigelow Deposition Concerning Job Seaver Land in Westmnster, Mass. (14 October 2013).

"The next stage in the Claverley analysis shows the sort of thing I meant.  I would be very interested to compare this English land transfer with an American one.

"You might want to use a shorter and perhaps simpler example than my original challenge :-)"

Sue's blog post, where she extracted information from her Claverly document, is at Claverley Property Document Analysis, Part 2: Semantic Mark-up (posted 21 October 2013). I urge my readers to go visit Sue's Family Folklore Blog.

I will take Sue's advice and work with a simpler land record - I'll use the one in Amanuensis Monday - Post 189: Deed of Luke Bigelow to Isaac Seaver 3d in Westminster, Mass.  It's about as simple as I've seen.  

1)  Here is the image of the deed page (the Bigelow to Seaver deed is on the right-hand side of the image):

2)  Here is the deed transcription using the color coding for the semantic tags that Sue used for her document analysis.  The color code is:

*  Red for person's names
*  Green for place names
*  Blue for dates
*  Orange for occupation/rank
*  Purple for legalese (the typical deed boilerplate text)
*  Shaded grey for property descriptions

The line-numbered and color-coded deed:

1.  Know all men by these presents, that I, Luke Bigelow, of Westminster, in 
2.  the County of Worcester and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, yeoman, in con-
3.  sideration of Twenty-five dollars, paid by Isaac Seaver 3d of Westminster,
4.  County and Commonwealth aforesaid, the receipt whereof I do hereby ac-
5.  knowledge, do hereby give, grant, sell and convey, unto the said Isaac Seaver
6.   3d his heirs and assigns, a certain piece of land, situated on the road
7.   leading to Ashburnham, and adjoining said Seaver land, bounded as
8.   follows.  Beginning on the line of said Seavers line, by said road, and
9.   running south by said road, six rods; thence west by land of said
10. Luke Bigelow five rods; thence north by said Bigelows land, six rods
11. to said Seavers land; thence east by said Seavers land, five rods to
12. the first mentioned bound, by the road.  One condition in the convey-
13. ance of the above-named land, is that said Seaver shall build and for-
14. ever keep in repair, a good and sufficient fence on said described line
15. between our lands.  To have and to hold the afore-granted premi-
16. ses to the said Isaac Seaver 3d, his heirs and assigns, to his and their use
17.  and behoof forever.  And I do for myself, my heirs, executors and administra-
18. tors, covenant with the said Isaac Seaver 3d his heirs and assigns, that I
19.  am lawfully seized in fee of the afore-granted premises, that they are
20. free of all incumbrances; that I have good right to sell and convey the
21. same to the said Isaac Seaver 3d and that I will and my heirs shall
22. warrant and defend the same premises, to the said Isaac Seaver 3d his
23. heirs and assigns forever against the lawful claims and demands of all
24. persons.
25. In witness whereof, I the said Luke Bigelow have here-

26. unto set my hand and seal this sixteenth day of
27. June, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty eight.
28. Signed, sealed and delivered                       Luke Bigelow        {seal}
29. in presence of           }   
Worcester ss June 16th 1858  Then the above-
30. Samuel L. Bridge      }    
named Luke Bigelow acknowledged the above
31. S.G. Kendall            }    
 instrument to be his free act and deed.
32. G.M. Whitman, Jus. Of Peace
33. Rec^d June 26th 1858 at 8^h40^m A.M. Ent'd & Ex'd By Alex. H. Wilder, Reg^r.
It is not clear to me how much of the legalese is needed to be color-coded - I only used Sue's example as a guideline.  There may be more definitive guidelines somewhere.  If there is, I'm sure someone will tell me!

3)  Here is the table showing the persons, events, objects and date information for the deed, also color-coded:

Relationshipto date
Luke Bigelow Received $25 from Isaac Seaver 3d On or Before 16 June 1858
Luke Bigelow Resided at Westminster, Worcester County, Massachusetts On 16 June 1858
Luke Bigelow Was a Yeoman On 16 June 1858
Isaac Seaver 3d Paid $25 to Luke Bigelow On or before 16 June 1858
Isaac Seaver 3d Resided at Westminster, Worcester County, Massachusetts On 16 June 1858
Luke Bigelow Owned Property in Westminster On and before 16 June 1858
Isaac Seaver 3d Purchased Property in Westminster On 16 June 1858
[Property] Consisted of Piece of land, situated on road leading to Ashburnham, bounded by Seaver's line, the road, and Bigelow's land. On 16 June 1858
Luke Bigelow Made Condition Isaac Seaver to build and keep in repair a good sufficient fence on property line between their properties On 16 June 1858
Luke Bigelow Asserted Lawfully seized in fee of premises, they are free of encumbrances, and has right to sell premises On 16 June 1858
Luke Bigelow Signed and sealed Deed On 16 June 1858
Luke Bigelow Acknowledged Deed instrument as his free act and deed On 16 June 1858
Samuel L. Bridge Witnessed The Deed On 16 June 1858
S.G. Kendall Witnessed The Deed On 16 June 1858
G.M. Whitman Signed The Deed On 16 June 1858
G.M. Whitman Occupation Justice of the Peace On 16 June 1858
Alex. H. Wilder Recorded The Deed On 26 June 1858
Alex. H. Wilder Occupation Registrar of Deeds On 26 June 1858

I tried to capture all of the person's names, the actions taken by those persons, and the dates of the action.

4)  I am not sure that I did this correctly...or included all of the items that are necessary.  I invite readers to comment - what items (rows) would you add or delete, what would you re-word, etc.  I don't expect you to revise the whole thing!

I have never done this type of organized extracting in this amount of detail before.  Have you done this?  Do you do it routinely?  I have done some abstracting of deeds before as part of the ProGen Group work, but I don't do that routinely.  Heck, I'm lucky to get the transcription done and a coherent source citation crafted.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/10/answering-sues-extracting-challenge.html

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver


Michelle Goodrum said...

Interesting approach. I'm on my way to Sue's post to learn more.

Geolover said...

One element of recorded deeds is that they may reflect a transaction that actually took place before the conveyance was written. The date of the instrument may just be the time by which full payment was received. Sometimes when the property was substantial the grantor may have transaction details spelled out as to dates that partial payments were made (this can occur also in heirs' deeds for a decedent's property).

One element I missed seeing was that Luke Bigelow caused the deed to be written -- or do you think he wrote the original himself?

Another element I missed seeing was whether there was a marginal note stating when the original document was given to the grantee by the recording Register of Deeds. Sometimes that is the date by which actual payment was completed. At times the original agreement was put in the hands of the Clerk/Recorder until the grantee showed up with proof that the terms of the sale were met (such as a receipt from the grantee for the consideration money), and paid the official to have the document recorded.

The old "indenture" technique had the same purpose. When the grantee showed up with a missing part of a document, presumably provided by the grantor upon receipt of final payment, the official could go ahead and record the transaction and deliver the other part of the document to the grantee.

Susan Clark said...

This is very similar to the what I am doing with less complicated documents using Evidentia. The database created in Evidentia will allow me to connect individuals to all documents where they are named. With luck I will be able to draw some connections I have not yet made.

eva goodwin said...

This sure is an interesting approach. But I'm like you - I'm lucky to get it thoroughly transcribed and accurately cited! I think doing it this way would hurt my brain because I tend to overthink things.

(I just clicked over here from Sheri Fenley's blog, it's my first time here but I am loving reading through your posts. Great genealogy practices here, good review and reminders for me!)