Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Organizing the Taylor County, Iowa Land Deeds of Ranslow Smith and Devier J. Smith

When I was in Salt Lake City in early February 2014, before attending RootsTech 2014 I had a day in the Family History Library.  One of my To-Do list tasks this year was to find land deeds in Taylor County, Iowa for my 3rd great-grandfather, Ranslow Smith, and his son, my second great-grandmother, Devier J. Smith.

I knew that Ranslow and Devier, with his wife Abbie, had moved from Dodge County, Wisconsin to Taylor County, Iowa in about 1867.  I also knew that Ranslow had moved to Andrew County, Missouri by 1873, and died there.  I also knew that Devier had probably moved to Andrew County also, and subsequently had moved to Cloud County, Kansas, Red Willow County, Nebraska, and Cheyenne County, Kansas, before dying in Red Willow County in 1894.

The challenge is to do a reasonably exhaustive search for all records for these two families.  I didn't know if the Smith ancestors bought and sold land in any of these places, but I knew that Devier Smith had styled himself as a "land speculator" in an interview in a Kansas newspaper.

Using microfilm at the Family History Library, I found that Ranslow had bought and sold several properties, and that Devier (also known as D. J.) bought and sold several properties, in Taylor County, Iowa.

Here was my microfilm review process:

1)  I looked at the Grantor and Grantee Deed Indexes for Taylor County, and wrote down the volume number, the page number, the grantor name, the grantee name, the date of the deed, and the date of the recording of the deed on a sheet of paper.  

2)  Knowing the volume and page number for each deed, I then found the FHL microfilm number from the Family History Library Catalog.

3)  On each microfilm, I found each deed on my list, and reviewed it.

4)  I used my cellular phone to take two different photographs of each of the land deeds on the microfilms.  

5)  When I got home, I transferred the images to my computer in a "Deeds" file folder.  As I transcribe them, I have modified the file name to something like DevierJSmith-1867-LandDeed-fromRanslowSmith-VolL-p205.jpg.

6)  Before I began the transcription task, I created a Microsoft Word table for these deeds, with columns for:

*  Volume/Page, Film Number, and Image Number
*  Date of Deed
*  Grantor Name
*  Grantee Name
*  Township and Range
*  Section and Aliquot Parts
*  Acres and Price

Here are images of my four pages - 28 deeds - that I collected in this effort:

Attentive readers of Genea-Musings will realize that I have transcribed three of these to date in my Amanuensis Monday series.

It is apparent to me that Devier J. Smith bought several land plots in Taylor County.  In Section 23, he subdivided the land on one quarter section into at least 41 lots and sold them off over several years time.  I wonder if he made any money on them?  I guess I'll find out!

This was genealogy fun for me to put together...I feel good when I'm organized and can minimize my duplication of effort when I pick something up six months after the event.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2014/07/organizing-taylor-county-iowa-land.html

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

Excellent post, Randy. Good work. Grantee and Grantor records are so useful, just so much detail If you don't get it all, you wish later you did. You did, to start. Very impressed.
Strangely, I had Kinnick (materal lines) relatives in that same county very close to the same line. They lived in the corner of the county, and moved on after a few years. Must have had some good "recruiters" in those years!! ;-)