How do I read a property abstract?

jlc102482July 5, 2013

I'm trying to trace my house's history via my property abstract, but it's confusing the heck out of me. My abstract goes back to 1827, my house supposedly dates to 1857, but there is no mention of a mortgage in the abstract until 1887. There is a ton of back and forth going on in the beginning of the abstract - it appears as though the land (or house?) passed back and forth between the same few groups of people many times, and that these people didn't seem to own the land for more than a 1-5 years at a time. I can't tell when the house was built, because the abstract makes no mention of any structures on the land. It just says "conveys premises and more" or "conveys premises". Is it possible to determine the year a structure was built by reading the abstract? I'm so confused.

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Not anything to do with the abstract, but some court houses have real estate tax records that go back to their inception & they might provide more detail for proving when the structure was built.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 10:52PM
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if you have a historical society in your area, find out if there is an old house enthusiast among them. Often there has already been a great deal of research in old newspapers and the like regarding older properties. The old newspapers used to report when somebody was building a new place. your local library's reference librarian will be able to help you find available material
such as old newspapers and old wills. If you have the names of the people involved you will have a starting off point. best wishes and keep us posted on your search!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 6:48AM
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My abstract goes back to the Revolutionary War land grants...large sections being subdivided over the years until my particular area was platted into building lots around 1900ish.

My particular parcel was always sold with the neighboring one until 1907, when they were separated. I could tell my house was put up in '08 because the value of the parcel went up--there was no mention of a mechanic's lien or anything else, and the first owner in the tax records was already living there in 1909, and it stayed in his ownership until 1968.

So, look for increases in parcel values at sale-time...that will be a good clue to the date of construction.

An interesting side note: two things make me think I was meant for this house, a suit from the late teens found in the attic fits me nicely, and the street name was changed before the platting was done--it was originally the same name as the street in Hamilton, Ohio where my best friend lives!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 7:23PM
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Imhappy&Iknowit IOWA zone 6b

I've traced my acreage and it also passed back and forth among family members for many years. I ended up with a fascinating story. I went to the abstract office with my abstract because there weren't details on my abstract itself. The records are there but you might have to do the looking yourself.
I went to the abstract office. He looked up each transaction and gave me the book and page. I went to the courthouse and looked at the information on microfilm, the quality of which was awful. I joined to trace the families and met a couple of people who very graciously helped me trace those members of their family. As a benefit to them, I found other facts to give them. As I got more interested in genealogy I started doing my own family. I went to our local historical society and By accident found the original deed books the scans had been taken from. I found old aerial photos available for a price. If you are remodeling you might not want to start this project right now. It is very time consuming and you will spend money!

If you decide to keep going with this project and need some help/advice, you can contact me through my email here at garden web.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 5:09PM
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