Remember to include the Deed Book Volume and page, and to include all names for index
Using deeds to find family
Prior to the 19th century, when a daughter got married,
often times she had a dowry. It was traditional for the
father to either cover a loan or accept a Note from his
son-in-law, who was assuming legal control of the dowry.
Remember that women did not have rights after they married
everything which they owned became the property and
responsibility of their husband. For example,
if a father gave some land to his daughter, when
she married, it went to her husband, and was frequently
merged with other farms, plantations, etc. which he owned.
If you know the husband's name, but not the father's name,
find out to whom he was making a mortgage payment. That
should tell you the wife's maiden name (her father).
Another thing to do is to notice that most deeds contain the
signatures of anywhere from two to four witnesses (in the
The first witness is always from the husband's side.
The second witness is almost always from the wife's side.
That is to protect her one-third dower right under the law.
Thus, clues to maiden names are sometimes found in witnesses
to old deeds.