Vermont Land Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
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Vermont Land Records, Early to 1900
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|Vermont, United States|
|Flag of Vermont|
|Location of Vermont|
- 1 What Is in the Collection?
- 2 Collection Content
- 3 What Can This Collection Tell Me?
- 4 How Do I Search the Collection?
- 5 What do I do Next?
- 6 Known Issues With This Collection
- 7 Citing This Collection
- 8 How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
What Is in the Collection?
The collection consists of Vermont land records for the years 1600 to 1900. Additional indexes and records are being added to this collection. This index currently has the following years: 1850 to 1900.
To Browse This Collection
|You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Vermont Land Records, Early to 1900.|
Land records give the locations and dates for land transactions with the names of buyers and sellers. Most volumes of land records have indexes of buyers and sellers. Look in the indexes first to find the volumes and page numbers where the actual land records can be found. Then look in the appropriate land records volumes to see the images of the deeds.
Land records were kept in the towns. They recorded land transactions to document the transfer of land ownership and thereby establish legal rights to land, track responsibilities for tax revenues, and designate persons to serve in various functions of the county, such as maintaining public roads in the early times. Towns began recording deeds soon after the town was formed and continue to the present.
The records were handwritten in large bound volumes. One deed usually fills one to three pages. Deeds may be recorded either in separate land record books or as part of the town records. Later deeds may have been recorded on pre-printed forms. Each town has separate grantor (seller) and grantee (buyer) indexes. Original copies of land records are in the town clerk’s office.
Vermont was originally part of Massachusetts. In 1749, New Hampshire claimed a large portion of the area and granted land for 129 towns in Vermont. In 1764, New York claimed jurisdiction over a large portion of the land held by New Hampshire. In 1777, Vermont became independent, and claimed the land was under its jurisdiction. The towns remained the same, and the town records contain the land deeds without regard to the political jurisdiction of the time. The legislature granted land in the towns to a group of individual called proprietors, so the earliest deeds are called proprietor’s deeds. Towns began recording deeds soon after the town was formed (Combined with text in date range). The town clerk transcribed into the registers the original documents which remained with the owners or their families. A high percentage of adult males who lived in rural areas of Vermont owned land at some point during their lifetime. Very few women owned land in their own right. They sometimes witnessed deeds and may have been asked to relinquish their dower’s rights.
The information given in town land records is generally reliable, although there may be errors made in transcribing the town’s copy from the original deed.
What Can This Collection Tell Me?
These records usually contain the following information:
- Dates when the transaction occurred, was written up, and recorded in the town
- Names of the grantors (sellers), the grantees (buyers), witnesses, and sometimes neighbors
- Ages are seldom given, but a person might be mentioned as a minor
- Exact relationships may be stated in deeds for property sold or given to heirs during a person’s lifetime
- Usually the residences of the grantor(s) and grantees(s)
- Usually the occupations of both the grantor(s) and grantee(s)
- Signature or mark (usually an X) of the grantor(s)
- Legal description of the parcel
- The amount the property was sold for (consideration)
How Do I Search the Collection?
To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:
- Names of interested parties
- Approximate date of the transaction
- Location of the property
View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "Town Letter"
⇒Select the "Town and County"
⇒Select the “Record Type”
⇒Select “Volume Number plus Date Span” to view the land record image for your ancestor.
Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:
- There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
- You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
- Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.
What do I do Next?
When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details. Add this new information to your records of each family. You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors.
I Found Who I Was Looking For, What Now?
- Use the places and date to search for the family in census and church records.
- Use land records to search for additional land transactions for other family members.The parents may have sold or given property to a son or daughter. Such transactions confirm relationships that might not be found in other records.
- Search for records of people in the county who shared a surname. These may have been the couple’s parents, uncles, or other relatives. Your ancestor may have been an heir who sold inherited land that had belonged to parents or grandparents.
- To find later generations, search the land records a few years before and after a person’s death. Your ancestor may have sold or given land to his or her heirs before death, or the heirs may have sold the land after the individual died. For daughters, the names of their husbands are often provided. For sons, the given names of their wives may be included. Heirs may have sold their interest in the land to another heir even though the record may not indicate this. Continue this process for identifying each succeeding generation.
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
- Some counties were subdivided or the boundaries may have changed. Consider searching neighboring counties as well since that courthouse may have been more convenient for the person.
- One deed does not usually give sufficient information about a couple and their children. A careful study of all deeds for the person or the family will yield a richer return of information.
I Can't find Who I'm Looking For, What Now?
- Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.
|Don't overlook FHL Keyword Vermont, Land and Property items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see the wiki article Vermont Archives and Libraries.|
|More images are available in the FamilySearch Catalog at Vermont Land Records, Early to 1900. Some catalog records link to multiple digital image records. In this case, click on a digital image record to find a camera icon to see images.|
Known Issues With This Collection
For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.
Citing This Collection
Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.
- Collection Citation
- "Vermont Land Records, Early to 1900." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Citing Town Clerk.
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.
How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
| We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records. |
Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.