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Land ownership was recorded in New England towns from the first settlement of the town. Land records are primarily used to learn where people lived and when they lived there. The records often reveal other information, such as the name of a spouse, heir, other relatives, or neighbors. You may learn where a person lived previously, his occupation, if he had served in the military and other clues. Sale of the land may show when he left and may mention his new destination.
Land Jurisdictional Periods
1629 to 1641 - Masonian Proprietary Period
In 1629 the province of New Hampshire was granted to the proprietorship of Captain John Mason. Mason, his heirs, and those who purchased the patent assigned many town grants and many individual grants. These years are commonly known as the Masonian Proprietary Period. Many of these records are in the State and Provincial Papers of New Hampshire:
- Volume 27 has charters and documents for towns alphabetically from Albany to Moultonborough.
- Volume 28 has charters and documents for towns alphabetically from Nelson to Wolfeborough.
- Volume 29 has documents relating to the Masonian patent from 1630 to 1846.
1641 to 1679 - Massachusetts Era
From 1641 to 1679, New Hampshire was considered part of Massachusetts. Town charters granted by Massachusetts, to 1740 have been published in volume 24 of the New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers. The charters extend to 1740 because Massachusetts and New Hampshire had the same governor for most of the time until 1740.
1679 to 1741 - New Hampshire & Massachusetts, then New Hampshire alone, 1741 on
New Hampshire became a royal province in 1679, although Massachusetts continued to claim the Merrimack Valley until 1741. Town charters were granted by Massachusetts during its jurisdictional period, and charters were granted by New Hampshire during its jurisdictional period. These recorded charters, land grants, maps, and plans can be found in several volumes of New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers.
- New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers. 40 vols. (Concord, New Hampshire: State Printer, 1867–1943), Each volume has an every-name index. Family History Library book 974.2 N2nhp vols.1-40; films 1033740–42
- 1641 to 1800s, Volume 24. Town charters granted by Massachusetts, 1641–1740. Town charters granted by New Hampshire, 1740–1800s. Reference is often made to Masonian grants. (FHL film 1033740)
- 1740 to 1800s, Volume 25. Town charters granted by New Hampshire, 1740–1800's. Reference is often made to Masonian grants. (FHL film 1033741)
- 1749 to 1764, Volume 26. New Hampshire grants, within the present boundaries of Vermont, 1749–1764 (FHL film 1033741).
- 1629 to1700's, Volume 29 . Masonian proprietors’ documents, 1629–1700's. (FHL film 1033742)
- 1748 to 1846, New Hampshire. Proprietors. Proprietors’ Records, 1748–1846. Partial indexes are found at the beginning of vols. 1–3. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1975). Family History Library film 983688. Microfilm of original records located in Concord, New Hampshire.
Registration of Deeds
When proprietors sold their land to others, the deeds and all subsequent transactions were recorded in provincial, county, and some town records. From 1623 to 1772, the Registry of Deeds was at Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
County registrars of deeds began to keep deed records in 1769, when the first five New Hampshire counties were created (Cheshire, Grafton, Hillsborough, Rockingham, and Strafford). New Hampshire land records now may be found within town records.
- New Hampshire Province Deeds and Probate Records from 1623–1772. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1975). On 118 Family History Library films beginning with 1001345. These films are of the indexes to the volumes and are alphabetically arranged.
All existing pre-1772 deeds are now at the New Hampshire Division of Records Management and Archives. The address may be found in Archives and Libraries. For records of deeds after 1772, refer to probate offices in the counties.
Additional information on land and property records can be found in the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
NEW HAMPSHIRE- LAND AND PROPERTY
NEW HAMPSHIRE, [COUNTY]- LAND AND PROPERTY
NEW HAMPSHIRE, [COUNTY], [TOWN]- LAND AND PROPERTY
My New Hampshire Genealogy gives good information about researching land records in New Hampshire.
New Hampshire Research Outline. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Family History Department, 1998, 2001.