THERE'S MORE TO DEEDS THAN YOU THINK
& MISCELLANEOUS RECORDS

Hopefully you have read how to search through deeds. Here are some
other things you may find there.

POWER OF ATTORNEY- or POA .
The person giving the power of attorney will be in the Grantor Index of Deeds.
The person receiving the duty of being the Power of Attorney will be in the
Grantee Index of Deeds. In some counties you may find this in Miscellaneous
Records Indexes instead. The reason you find them in deeds is a Power of
Attorney (if the box is checked) has the power to convey land. Quite often the
person appointed POA is a relative. So don't overlook this in your genealogy
search.

LEASE -
Sometimes you will not find an actual deed to GGGGranda Harry's property
because it was leased from another party and never purchased. You may also
find this in Miscellaneous Records instead of deeds. It depends on the county
or the time period. I found one such ancestor this way while searching for
someone else, and it only showed up in Miscellaneous Records. The man
leased the land for 10 years. This was helpful because I couldn't locate where
he was between censuses.

LAND CONTRACT -
Again, sometimes in Deeds and sometimes in Miscellaneous Records. For
the most part they will be in deeds. It depends on the time frame and the
county. Land Contracts were similar to the Land Grants. They are the same in
the fact that you did not get your deed until the Land Contract was paid. These
were normally done between individual parties. Land Contracts are still done
today. If you think GGGGrandpa Harry bought his land by Contract you would
find his name under Grantee.
Sometimes they were recorded and sometimes not. People might choose
not to file the Land Contract, wait till it was paid off, and just file the deed. If you
find one amidst some old papers of your ancestor, I would look in deeds after
this time period to see if he ever did file the deed.

WILLS-
Yes, even these; can be found recorded in Deeds. This was more prevalent in
the old days then now. This was done because people would bequeath their land
to another in their Will. Usually it was because they owned land in another
county as well.
Let's say you know Harry Goodyear owned land in Alabama in Genesee
County. You know nothing about him owning land in Shelby in Orleans County.
You can't find a probate file in Genesee or burial. Harry dies in Orleans County,
which was his primary residence. His Will and Probate file will be in Orleans
County. So a Will from Orleans County, might be filed in deeds in Genesee
County because of the land he owned there. Always worth a look.

DEEDS TO CHURCHES & CEMETERIES
This may not seem important but it is. There might be an abandoned cemetery in
the area where Harry lived, or lone burials. Maybe he attended a church that is no
longer there. If a church was disbanded sometimes the records went to the
closet church of the same affiliation.

Miscellaneous Records
Aside from the things mentioned above there are other interesting things here.
There are also things here that will be of no interest to you as genealogists. But
some of them will be. In the older books you may find adoptions. Any Military
discharges that were filed will be in here from way back when to present. You
may find incorporation papers of churches, cemeteries and organizations. This is
helpful if you didn't know there were any in your Ancestors area because they
are now long gone. There may be old records to track down. Hey, maybe old
Harry was a Trustee!

MY 50 YEAR RULE OF THUMB
Let's take a another look at fictitous GGGGrandpa Harry Goodyear. What if you
never did find a deed for a house? You have tried all the other avenues. Then
why is there no deed?
I would still use the fifty year rule of thumb and check ahead as far as 1880
or 1890. It is not as silly as it seems. I will use the following example of a real
property search I had to illiustrate. (INames and places are fictitous of course.)
Joseph Bolton lived in Alabama in the 1850's. Joseph had a wife named
Sally, and one son named Charles. Poor Sally died however leaving Joseph and
Charles to run the farm all alone. In 1865 Joseph decideds to move to
Michigan. Charles had married and decided to stay on at the farm in Alabama
with his wife Beth, and son Michael.

In 1870 Joseph dies in Michigan, but he did leave a Will. In his Will he leaves
the farm to his son Charles. (You however have no probate file to check because
he died out of state. You might get lucky and find a duplicate here, but in this
case it did not happen that way.) No Executor's Deed was ever filed transfering
the property from Joseph's estate to his son Charles. Charles just figured well it
was in my father's Will, so I guess it's mine now.
Michael grows to adulthood, marries, and has a son named George. Poor
George won't see his grandparents very long because Charles and Beth Bolton
die in an a train accident in 1901. Charles left a Will as well, and "willed" his
property to his son in the event that his wife was already dead. Again no
Executor's Deed was filed. Michael figured the same thing as his father did.
Well I guess now it is mine.

In 1910 Michael Bolton decides to sell the property. He of course ends up hiring
an attorney to clean up the mess his family has created. Finally in 1911 the
original deed of Joseph Bolton from 1858 is filed at the Clerk's Office, and several
affidavit's explaining the whole messy affair. The title is now clear, and Michael
Bolton sells his land in 1911. The deed to the new owners not only has the
usual stuff; it is also clearly written as to how the property exchanged hands.
This is nice if you are doing genealogy.
This type of thing, of course, is an Abstractor's worst nightmare; but it is an
excellent lesson in genealogical searching! So always check ahead at least fifty
years. When it comes to family conveyed property, people often do what they
want rather than what they should.

The main thing is, the more you understand what you are reading the
better you can tell if it is important in your genealogy researching. Leave
no book unopened! I try to make use of all the sources available no
matter how trivial they seem. Sometimes the real gems are found in the
most unlikely places.