House Research: Help with Deed History?

CassandraMay 20, 2009

I don't know who else to ask, so I'm hoping one of you might be able to help me interpret the deed history for my 1913 house. In 1964, after many years of a single family living in the house, the property was deeded four times in two months. In October, 1964 it was deeded by the original owner's family to a woman named Pearl Belliveau, a divorced woman in her 50s. One month later she deeded the property to another widow also in her 50s named Linda Leeder. The next day Linda Leeder deeded the property to yet another single woman in her 50s, Ruth Mulroy. And that same day, Ruth deed the property back to Linda Leeder and Linda's brother Harold. Linda and Harold then lived in the property until 1987.

I've done a lot of research and can find no connection between these women--they don't seem to be relatives. Why, especially, would the house be deeded from Linda, to Ruth for just one day, and then back to Linda and her brother? Why couldn't Linda just add her brother's name to the deed, if he entered the deal at the point? Thanks for any thoughts or speculations you can give me.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Have you looked at the St. Paul city directories archive at the Minnesota Historical Society?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 8:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just curious...... I might have missed some posts, but last I remember you were thinking about condos - did you end up in another older home but in a better neighborhood? I loved your old house & I'll bet this one is great too.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 10:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I did alot of research on our previous house in St. Paul, much of it at the MN Historical Museum. I got the names of all previous owners as you did. Then I got my copy of the current day phonebook and started calling everyone with the same last name. I struck gold because I found living relatives of the previous owners and was able to fill in alot of information.

Check out and call current phone customers with the same last names, explain what you are doing and you may be as lucky as I was. Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 6:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Do you have the maiden names? It sure sounds like family related transfers...possible sibling stuff after the parent's deaths.

Do some genalogical research on the 1964 owners. Get the names of their children...any matches?

You didn't say how long the people who deeded the property in 1964 lived in the house. If they were the owners in 1930 then you can check the 1930 US Census report. That will show the names & ages of any children living in the home at that time. It's available online. The 1940 US Census will be released in 2012.

I don't know where you live but as a genealogist I've gotten many great leads through cemetery records. I call the cemeteries & ask if a person is buried there. If there are...then I ask for a copy of the burial record. From that record, you'll get all family members, pall-bearers (good clues), addresses, a copy of the obituary, etc. Start with your local cemeteries. If that doesn't prove fruitful...look on the deeds. It 'should' say something like this, "Mary Smith, of Tinytown, USA, hereby conveys to...." Then, check cemeteries in those towns, if different.

Check the Social Security Death Index. It's also available online. Search under the MARRIED name & maiden names especially for the divorced woman. From the Death Index you'll get the last known address. Then, back to calling cemeteries in that town. The Death Index will also give birth & death dates that may be a match to the original family's children??

Phone books are great and don't forget the Yellow Pages. Look for businesses starting with the person's last name.

Do you know if the "brother" is a blood relative or a possible "brother-in-law" or even an adopted son. Don't discount the possibilitiy of relationship to the other women just because the names are different from this "brother".

Check the town's Vital Records index. Many towns are now online. How far back the records are published varies...many are 50 years for birth records. Also look under Marriage records. Did this Harold guy have any connection to the divorced woman?

I'd also ask to look at the property's tax records. Sometimes, there are little hand-written notes written in the margins when something unusual happens with a property.

Also, check the Civil Records. Look for lawsuits (property disputes?), divorce records, etc. Lots of clues.

What fun!


    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 10:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, I did successfully sell my little bungalow last year and I moved into a 100 year old home that had been turned into a condo! It turned out to be an excellent move, and just in time (my previous neighborhood had really been going down hill).

Thanks to all of your (esp. Tricia) for your advice! The mystery really is a deep one because I did spend nearly 5 hours at the History Center researching these people, and still drew a blank as to how they are related--if at all. All the women were in their fifties in 1964; Harold (the "brother") was also in his 50s. One woman was divorced, one widowed, one never married. All are now deceased. I viewed their death certificates and know when they died, where they're buried, etc. I looked up maiden names and birth certificates and still made no match between them all. Linda Leeder lived in the house from 1964 to 1986, when she died. Her brother had died the previous year. There seem to be no children at all from these people: believe me, I searched for hours. At Linda's death, the house turned over to yet another woman, who was the informant on the death certificate, so she must be a relative or friend (but again, no match in names). That woman is in the phone book and is now in her 70s, but sadly she did not respond to my very polite letter asking if I could chat with her. Clearly, a few questions to her would clear up this mystery!

There must have been a legal or financial advantage for Linda Leeder to deed the house to Ruth Mulroy and then Ruth deed it back to her (and her brother Harold) on the same day. This is what I'd like to find out!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 7:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Marita40 - Were there any attorneys involved in these transactions? An attorney's name or firm name would usually be on each deed.

Have you been to the county office that records deeds?

Could there be step-families, which might explain the different nonconnecting names.

Just some random thoughts before coffee :-)

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 4:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you purchased with a loan the title insurance company has a complete abstract of the deeds and chain of title for the property.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 12:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Maybe, they were hiding assets from somebody?? Does the date coincide with any divorce decrees, tax liens, civil lawsuits, etc.?

Have you checked local newspapers for the day of Linda's death? With the new owner being the informant of Linda's death...gosh, I couldn't sleep until I found the answer!

Holy Cow...maybe it was an insurance scam? Maybe Linda was murdered?? OK, I'm getting carried away here... lol

Who signed the deed transferring title to the other woman after Linda's death?

Have fun!


    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 1:30PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Do buyers prefer table & chairs or island in kitchen?
We are getting our house in order before listing it...
Would you buy a home near fire station??
We're considering an offer on a single-family home...
Sell Home, Go to Court Or What?
This may be the first time I have posted asking for...
Verbal offers suddenly surface
Too much drama. We put offer on house number one, house...
Randy Ritchie
Emotional rollercoaster of home selling
Lately, this process of having my condo up for sale...
Sponsored Products
Isabella Chrome Wing Chair - SILVER
$2,899.00 | Horchow
Tech Lighting | ELEMENT - 6 Inch Open Downlight Metal Halide New Construction Ho
$360.00 | YLighting
Vista Oil Rubbed Bronze Three-Light Pendant
$196.20 | Bellacor
Hampton Bay Recessed Lighting Autumn 6 in. Harvest Gold Recessed Can Trim 29011
$29.00 | Home Depot
House of Troy 5" Wide Satin Brass Plug-in Picture Light
$55.00 | Lamps Plus
Diamond Punch Basket
$14.99 | Dot & Bo
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™