Pencils, protractors and rulers, oh my…

When you are researching land records in this country there are generally two kinds of property descriptions you will run into ‘metes and bounds’ and ‘rectangular survey’

The latter type is pretty easy to understand, everything is divided into squares or rectangles with specific acreages in wholes, halves, quarters. But metes and bounds is a whole other animal. 
Below is an example of each of property type. The first was owned by GEORGEs (Virginia/West Virginia) and the second was owned by CONNELLYs (Wisconsin):

BEGINNING at a beech and sugar tree on the south bank of McClery’s fork, and running thence
S45 degrees E55 poles to a hickory on a ridge
E344 poles to a white oak on the side of a hill
N100 poles to a black oak on the side of a point
N53 degrees, W180 poles to a stone on a hill near some white oaks
S82 degrees W184 poles to a white oak in a narrows, and thence
S20 degrees, W160 poles to the BEGINNING

and

sw1/4 sw1/4  s23  t18  r19 (translated this means – the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of section 23, township 18, range 19.)

I made the metes and bounds property description easier to read by separating each description, normally you would see it as one long paragraph. You can also see the difference between the two methods in the description of each. The rectangular survey method is much easier to read and figure out.

So while I have understood for many years how to figure out what sections look like on a map. I had never tackled metes and bounds, until a few weeks ago, at which time I decided it was time to learn something new by practicing with my GEORGE family deeds. These deeds are all located in Tyler County, West Virginia.

Here is my first attempt:

This one came out pretty close, the poor quality of my tools affected the outcome.

The second one:

The trick is pretty simple, you need a protractor or something with degrees on it, a pencil, and a ruler. Put a dot on your paper center the dot on your protractor mark the first degree in the proper direction, then measure out the poles or rods. Next. Well, I won’t go into any more detail, after all it is actually something you have to do to understand better and once you learn the procedure, it is pretty easy and fun.

Once you start drawing out these property descriptions you also start finding out where the errors are in the surveyors measurements or the register of deeds copying talents, because over time errors do appear, as can be seen in this property I drew out:

Something is definitely wrong with the deed in the above drawing, now I just have to figure out where the mistake is. The squiggly line on the bottom is in fact a ‘meander’, this line actually follows a creek.

Here is another example of a bad deed. The numbers were very hard to read on this one and I believe the clerk writing it out made a couple of mistakes. I have drawn four versions of what the property looks like in this one drawing, none of them line up properly. I was going by what the numbers could be in the deed.

Guess I have some more work to do in Salt Lake City.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s