Online Land Records

In an online world of compelling records, I have found LAND RECORDS to be the singularly most addictive set of online records available. Be sure that you have a block of hours available, because you will have that urge to see just one more page.

The Clerk may have recorded many things in these books. I have seen examples of property purchases, wills, and even prenuptial agreements. Although tedious to search for, these records may be worth the effort to further your research. If your ancestors were not land owners, these records may not be helpful to you.

Land records can be found online at Follow the links to records from the United States, then choose your state.

There is a four step process:

1)      Find the correct index

2)      Locate the index entry

3)      Find the correct deed book

4)      Locate the deed

Those items recorded in the Deed books are recorded as they came into the Clerk. The Clerk recorded the legal document in the Deed book, and also used another book as an index. The index was needed to find specific names without having to search all the pages of each Deed book. Names are recorded alphabetically in the index, with a section for each letter. Rather than store all the names of a given letter as they are recorded, I have seen clerks using a system to organize the recording of the names by the first three letters. After all, they had to be able to search for the records, too. When the lines for a section are exhausted, the entries may continue on the blank pages at the back of the book. Whatever system a clerk uses, you will be doing a lot of reading, because there is not an online index for the names in these index books.

In a recent research trip, I spent the days visiting Historical Societies and Museum Research rooms, and at night worked finding online records using the knowledge I found during the day. In turn, I used what I collected to shape the work of the next day.

A tutorial walking through the process can be found on this website