Sunday, February 28, 2016

What can you learn from a land record?

While working on Carrie’s Letters I found the following in one of her letters to her sister dated 27 March 1893, Baiting Hollow:

John is a business man now.  Has just got his deed for 37 1/2 acres of land all cleared and ready to plow but 1 1/2 acres, and that is in big wood.  Is going to begin plowing for oats tomorrow morning with two teams if the man knows how to do it.

When I was transcribing this letter I wasn’t sure about the number of acres.  I had never looked for land deeds but thought this might be a good time to start.  While I was back visiting my family in New York I decided to go search out Suffolk County Land Deeds.  My father decided to go with me and we had quite an experience looking for a possible land deed that would match Carrie’s letter.  Here is what I finally found (and transcribed):
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Once I had this transcribed I realized I was incorrect about the acreage.  It wasn’t 37 1/2 but rather 57 1/2 acres (see arrow)
I now know who my great grandfather bought the land from, a description of where the land is, who held the mortgages and what the conditions of the sale were.
I had a chuckle over the condition that they ‘shall quietly enjoy the said premises’.  I also chuckled at my great grandmother’s comment above thatif the man knows how to do it (farming)’ since John had been farming for years already just not on his ‘own’ land.  I also continuously get a hint of my great grandmother’s sense of humor in her letters.
So, there is a lot I was able to learn by looking at the land record.  I also like being able to confirm things that Carrie has talked about in her letters.
Please let me know if you have any information to add.  I would enjoy hearing from you.
Enjoy the journey,

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