Massachusetts, Essex County, Deed Books (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at


Record Description

The collection consists of land records from the Registry of Deeds located in Salem. The collection consists of Deed Books, volumes 696-1631, as well as Grantee and Grantor indexes, 1880-1940. This collection is being published as images become available.

You will be able to browse through images in this collection when it is published.

Record Content

The records contain the following information:

  • Names of interested parties
  • Date of transaction
  • Legal description of the property
  • Monies exchanged
  • Details of the transaction
  • Names of witnesses

How to Use the Record

To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:

  • Names of interested parties
  • Approximate date of the transaction
  • Location of the property

Search the Collection

To search the collection:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the appropriate "Record Type, Volume, Surname or Year Range_" which takes you to the images.

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.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Make a photocopy of the deed, or extract the genealogical information needed. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and census records.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records.
  • Search for the land transactions of a couple and their children. 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.
  • For each parcel of land owned, you should obtain two documents:
  1. The deed that documents when ownership transferred to the individual or the family
  2. The deed that documents when ownership was transferred to someone else

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Look for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.

Related Websites

Massachusetts Land Records

Related Wiki Articles

Massachusetts Land and Property

How You Can Contribute

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.

Citations for This Collection

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection Citation:

"Massachusetts, Essex County, Deed Books, 1865-1900." Database with Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2015. Citing Essex County Massachusetts, Southern District, Registrar of Deeds, Salem, Massachusetts.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record will be available with each record once the collection is published.

Image Citation

The citation for an image will be available on each image once the collection is published.


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  • This page was last modified on 29 July 2015, at 15:11.
  • This page has been accessed 1,860 times.