Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mining the Massachusetts Land Records, 1620-1986, for Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) Deeds

I've spent several hours during this past week methodically going through the Worcester County [Massachusetts] Deed Indexes on FamilySearch (see Massachusetts Land Records, 1620-1986 Available on FamilySearch - Digital Microfilmfor entries for my second great-grandfather, Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) (known as Isaac Seaver 3d in Westminster, Mass.) and his wife Lucretia T. (Smith) Seaver.  Then I used the volume number and page number gleaned from the Grantee and Grantor Indexes to find and save the Deed transcriptions.  Here is my process - perhaps other researchers can utilize my experience:

1)  My first task was to capture all of the Deed Index entries for the Seaver or Sever surname.  There were separate Grantee and Grantor Index books in two sets of Indexes - one set for 1731-1839 and the other set for 1840-1889.  In each Index book, I found the pages that listed the Seaver/Sever deeds, and saved them to my computer files.  I created a file folder named MassLandRecords in my Seaver surname folder in my Ancestor Files folder, and added the saved page images to the file folder, using a typical file name of:

Seaver-LandRecords-Worcester-Grantee-1731-1839 P-Z-image 247of734.jpg

Fortunately, Isaac came of age in 1844, so I had to look at the second set of the Deed Indexes.  Here's the Grantee Index page with Isaac Seaver's entries:

I did the same for the Grantor Index.  The Grantee and Grantor Indexes have the year the deed was recorded, the person's name, the name of the other party, the volume and page number in the Deed books, and sometimes a town name or other information.

2)  My second task was to find the land records for Isaac Seaver (1823-1901), and his wife Lucretia (1828-1884).  I wrote down the list of deeds for Isaac Seaver 3d and his wife Lucretia.  I am mindful that Isaac Seaver of Westminster died in 1870, and Isaac Seaver 2d of Westminster died in 1892.  For deeds outside of Westminster, I think that Isaac Seaver 3d was not known by the suffix 3d.

Then it was a fairly easy task to find all of the individual Deeds on my list.  Some of the deeds are on more than one page, and it's a good idea to check the next page to make sure that it isn't continued there, and you may find another document of use when you look.

The deeds that I found for Isaac Seaver 3d include:

Grantee Index, 1840-1889:

*  1847; (grantee) Isaac Seaver 3d; (grantor) Samuel A. Monroe; Volume 429, Page 137; Deed; Gardner
*  1858; (grantee) Isaac Seaver 3d; (grantor) Luke Bigelow; Volume 596, Page 381; Deed; not named
*  1864; (grantee) Isaac Seaver 3d;  (grantor) James R. Bruce; Volume 691, page 468; Deed; not named
*  1868; (grantee) Isaac Seaver 3d; (grantor) Benjamin F. Battles; Volume 780, Page 163; Deed; Westminster
*  1869; (grantee) Isaac Seaver 3d; (grantor) Marshall White &c; Volume 784, page 319; Mtg; Westminster
*  1869; (grantee) Isaac Seaver; (grantor) Franklin P. Shumway; Volume 793, Page 309; Deed; Leominster
*  1874; (grantee) Isaac Seaver; (grantor) Joseph Collins; Volume 919, page 312; Deed; not named
*  1881; (grantee) Lucretia T. Seaver; (grantor) Joseph Collins; Volume 1089, Page 73; Mtg; Leominster

Grantor Index, 1840-1889:

*  1859; (grantor) Isaac Seaver 3d; Deposition; Volume 606, Page 442; Deposition; Westminster
*  1861; (grantor) Isaac Seaver 3d; (grantee) James R. Bruce; Page 637, Page 439; Deed; Westminster + not named
*  1869; (grantor) Isaac Seaver 3d; (grantee) Marshall White &c; Volume 784, Page 318; Deed; Westminster
*  1874; (grantor) Isaac Seaver; (grantee) Joseph Collins; Volume 919, Page 313; Deed; Leominster
*  1875; (grantor) Isaac Seaver; (grantee) Charles E. Gould; Volume 945, Page 521; Deed; Leominster
*  1882; (grantor) Lucretia T. Seaver; (grantee) Joseph Collins; Volume 1110, Page 324; Dis Mtg; 1089-73

The current Worcester Deed Books go through Volume 716, so I cannot capture all of the Deeds from this collection at this time.

I did find and save all of the Deed book entries in the Deed books up through Volume 716.

I saved all of the Deed book entries to my file folder for Isaac Seaver + Lucretia Smith with a typical file name of:


Here is the image of one of the deeds:

I included the image number in the file name because I want to be able to find it quickly again - so that I don't have to guess, guess again, and eventually find it.  That assumes, of course, that FamilySearch doesn't change the image sequence!

3)  My next task is to transcribe, and then abstract, the individual deeds and add the information to my database as Events, Source citations, event notes, and images.

I have many more ancestors to find in these Worcester County records, and then will move on to
other Massachusetts counties to find ancestor deeds and Seaver/Sever deeds.

4)  The deed index page captures took almost an hour, and listing the Isaac Seaver entries in the indexes, and capturing the Deed entries, took more than an hour.  So, in two hours, I've created some standards for myself to follow, and have a record of what I've done to date.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/05/mining-massachusetts-land-records-1620.html

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver


SearchShack said...

Great description on how to mine these records! I'm doing the same thing for Shackfords and have seen the Seaver records. Finding names of spouses (at least the first name) in the deeds and when I got to Middlesex finding so much information in these deeds! Really appreciated your example of naming images you are saving as I'm working out my own standard pattern and it helps to see the wonderful examples that you post. Thanks for sharing these details as it helps those of us reading to get going on some of this great research

susanbankhead@msn.com said...

Great blog post Randy! I save the images to my Dropbox files, so I have access to them from any device.

susanbankhead@msn.com said...

Randy: Can you walk us through how you are saving the image? When I hit the save button provided by FamilySearch, it goes straight to Picassa and I want to put it in my Dropbox files. When I right click and do a "save as" it comes out as a bunch of code. I can clip it and send it to Evernote. Do I have to use a webclipper? Thx!