Monday, December 10, 2012

Using New York Land Records, 1630-1975, on FamilySearch

I noticed that the New York Land Records, 1630-1975, were on the New and Updated list of FamilySearch record collections today.  This collection has over 8 million images of deed indexes and land deeds for 60 New York Counties (I didn't check to see which counties are missing).

I went hunting for listings for my Samuel Vaux and Amos Underhill in Erie county, New York.  I didn't find any listings in either the Grantee or Grantor indexes for Samuel Vaux, but I did find three index entries for Amos Underhill.  The index entries provided a Liber number and a Page number, so I then went into the Deed books and easily found the recorded deeds.

Here was the process I used:

1)  I clicked on the "Browse through 8,129,310 images link on the record collection screen above:

2)  On the list of Counties above, I clicked on the Erie County link:

There are three sets of records on the long list above - the Deed Indexes, the Deed Records, and Mortgage records.  I scrolled down to find the "Deed index - grantor 1860-1874 vol. 2, 1860-1874" book and then found the "U" pages (by guess and guess again) and scrolled through them.

3)  I found an entry for Amos Underhill on image 480 (of 564):

The index record above tells me that Amos Underhill (grantor) granted land to Delos Underhill (grantee) on 3 April 1860, which is in Liber 207, page 62.

4)  I went back to the index and found the Deed book containing Volume 207 ("Deeds, 1857-1864, vol. 206-207") and found the page easily on image 348 (of 530):

I used the "Save" link in the left-hand popup menu and saved this page image to my computer files.   I added the To-Do item, created previously, to my Research Log in RootsMagic, and updated the Research Log to include what I searched, what I found, and what I saved.  I need to add the Event for this Deed to Amos Underhill, then source it, and add the image, and tag it to the Event.  I can transcribe the Deed in the Detail Text of the Source Citation.  I'll write about that process in another post.

I managed to do this in less than an hour, including writing this blog post.  In my pajamas (at 11 a.m. in the morning).

The lessons learned here are:

1)  There is a wealth of New York Deed records in this record collection that can benefit almost every researcher with New York ancestry.  

2)  Pajamas Genealogy is becoming a reality!  Any time of day or week - for many of the FamilySearch Library microfilms, we don't have to order the microfilms and go to the local FamilySearch Center to read them, print them, save them in digital form, etc.  

3)  Every genealogy researcher needs to learn how to browse through FamilySearch record collections efficiently - using available indexes and then finding the actual records, whether they are deeds, probates, town records, vital records, etc.  

Does anyone else have New York ancestors that might have deeds hiding in this record collection?  Tell me about your successes!

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Lacey F. said...

I just found a record for Leendert Vandergrift and his wife Steynie. They are my 8th great-grandparents! Thank you for the tip, Randy!

Geolover said...

Researchers should bear in mind that the collection is mis-titled. It is New York **Deeds** (not "Land Records"), which encompass myriad items recorded as deeds -- all manner of agreements, even marriage records, wills and personal property sale agreements of many kinds.

One nice thing I ran across is that the 1825 Balloting Book, listing original grantees of NY Revolutionary War Land Warrants and related goodies, is in the Onondaga County listing. There are other places to download this book, but this would be a really easy one for viewing and copying selected pages.

What is included is quite variable for each County. I was hoping for 18th-century Albany County deeds, but they are not uploaded. Maybe some day. The Schuyler County part lists no actual deeds.

barbsnow said...

I am sitting here (in my PJ's) taking a break from working with the Genesee Co. records. So glad they are up! I have dozens of deeds to look at, so this is a real cost savings to me as well as convenient.

Richard Holmes said...

Randy, thanks for making us aware of this collection. For those researching in Albany County, be aware that the grantor index and deeds are not found under the Albany County heading, but under the heading "all counties". Once you click on "all counties" you will find the deeds and grantor and grantee indexes. Also, for those who have, a searchable file of the grantor index is available there under New York: Albany County Deeds, 1630-1894.

Geolover said...

Richard Holmes, many thanks for the tip-off regarding Albany County! More work to do!

virginia said...

Many thanks for posting this, Randy. I was able to find my 3g-grandfather's given name by finding the deed that matched the selling of the land after he died. I've been searching for this for a looong time.

Geolover said...

PS regarding Albany County Deeds. Unfortunately, although the "All Counties" index to deeds supposedly covers my time period of interest (1790s), it does not list several that I know to have been recorded in Albany County 1793-1795. I will continue to hope that the actual deed books for the County for this time period will be available in the future.

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