Land Records Terms and Language

Land Records Terms and Language

Learn definitions of the terms and language genealogists look for in property records, land records and deeds.

  • convey/conveyance: The act of transferring legal title of property from one person to another.
  • deed: A document transferring ownership and title of property from one private individual to another.
  • dower: A woman’s right to a one-third life interest in her husband’s property (not to be confused with a dowry). She had to release her dower right for the property to be sold.
  • escheat: Land ownership reverting to the government or the estate due to lack of heirs.
  • legal land description: In a deed or patent, an exact identification of the land being transferred using survey terms.
  • lien: A claim placed on property by a person who is owed money.
  • metes and bounds: A land survey method employing compass directions, natural landmarks and distances between points.
  • parcel: A tract or plot of land.
  • perch: A land measurement equaling 16.5 feet, 1 pole or .025 furlongs.
  • plat: A drawing that shows the boundaries and features of a piece of property.
  • quitclaim deed: A deed in which the seller gives up any claim to rights on the property in question, but does not guarantee the title to the property is clear from any other claims.
  • rectangular survey system: A land survey method employing base lines, one east-west and one north-south, that cross. Townships—each generally 24 miles square—are described in relation to the base lines. Townships are subdivided into sections.

From the September 2012 Family Tree Magazine

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