Land Record Terminology


            Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society Quarterly Magazine,
            Vol. 8 No. 1, August 1981, p. 207 of the Whole number 29
            by Edward D. Price entitled "Pennsylvania Bureau of Land Records.
            I think it has some interesting info for someone trying to look up original patents
            and Rev. War ancestors.         Sarah


SOME OF THE DOCUMENTS AVAILABLE WITH A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF EACH:

APPLICATION: A request for a warrant to have a survey made.

WARRANT: The authority to survey a tract of land.

SURVEY: A sketch of a tract of land surveyed pursuant to the issuance of a warrant.

RESURVEY: The physical act of retracing the original survey for purposes of determining boundaries or content of a tract of land.

PATENT: The official documents passing title to land out of the Commonwealth.

WARRANTEE TOWNSHIP MAP: A group of tracts lying contiguous to each other which encompasses an entire township or townships.

DONATION LANDS: Land in the western part of the Commonwealth give to members of the Pennsylvania Line, for a nominal sum, as payment for services rendered in the Revolutionary War.

DEPRECIATION LANDS: Certificates issued to troops of Pennsylvania, entitling them to purchase land in the western part of the Commonwealth because of the depreciation of their salary due to inflation.

LIEN DOCKET: A list if names of the warrantees to land in the various counties who did NOT pursue their warrants by paying the initial purchase price in order to obtain a patent to the land for which title still remains in the Commonwealth.


The article also states:

"There has never been any federally owned land in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania." "... the federal system of sections, those neat rectangular or square tracts of land, did not prevail here in Pennsylvania."

"The Pennsylvania Military Land Grants were restricted only to those veterans who served with units of the Pennsylvania Line. ..... The Continental army was not included in these grants, nor was the Pennsylvania Militia."

"The records of Donation and Depreciation Land transactions are of considerable benefit to the researcher wishing to establish a lineage for DAR purposes. Perhaps in this particular series of records, more than any other, is reference given to a surviving spouse and/or children of a Revolutionary War veteran. Many patents were recorded in the name of a widow, children and often to the Executor of a deceased serviceman's estate. Our (the bureau of land records) registers for both the Depreciation and Donation Lands usually carry not only the name of the recipient, but also his rank, the unit in which he served, and on occasion, his military specialty, i.e., Drummer, Fifer, Chaplain, etc."

"However, in most cases, it seems that neither the Proprietary nor his Board of Commissioners knew or much regarded the rights of the married woman. the Warrant and/or Patent or both were usually ordered to the husband alone as purchaser. It was assumed that such a document was conveyed or devised to the husband and wife providing the man was married."

"There are many recorded instances in which the Application for Warrant states that a right descended feme sole (the term applied to an unmarried woman whether a spinster, widow or divorcee) in this case likely the widow of the applicant, yet the actual body of the document refers only to the male."

The spouse is mentioned only in particular instances such as when the husband died between the issuance of the Warrant and that of the Patent. It is not at all unusual for a Patent to be issued to the surviving heirs of a Warrantee with no direct reference to his wife."

"To the average genealogical researcher, Warrantee Township Maps when available, would be of prime importance. Not only do we find all of the Land Office Data recorded on each tract, but they lend themselves readily entered and incorporated into each family searcher's own data compilation - and present an advantage of being able to visually observe each tract in relation to any predominant physical landmarks such as streams, rivers, lakes and adjoining property owners -- and often give additional insight into other land holdings which were previously unknown."

"Some [researchers] refer to the 3rd Series of the Printed Pennsylvania Archives which contain Warrants for many documents. These are quite reliable, but they do contain errors and are not always in agreement with our Registers."

"Land Office records are not 100% complete. The City of Philadelphia still holds some early records of Warrants in the three original counties of Bucks, Chester & Philadelphia. The LETTER OF ATTORNEY volumes list some transactions between private owners and some sales of land to persons in England. Unfortunately, half of this set is in Harrisburg and the remainder in Philadelphia. They refuse to give up their half and we want to retain our half -- however, there is cooperation between us."

"On 1 July 1981 the Bureau of Land Records became a division of the Bureau of Archives and History. Address of the Division of Land Records, Bureau of Archives and History, William Penn Memorial Museum & Archives Building, Box 1026, Harrisburg, PA 17120, (717) 787-7180." My comments: ***REMEMBER THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN IN 1982 AND THE ADDRESS & PHONE MAY HAVE CHANGED!!!!****

The above quotes were taken from different parts of the entire paper found at pp. 204-209 of the Magazine. I tried to only list parts which might be of help to anyone wanting to do some of this kind of searching. For more comlpete info see:THE STATE