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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.
Many land records, township grants, town charters, court records, early state papers, Revolutionary War documents, etc. are in the 40 volumes of the published New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers. A name index to all 40 volumes is available online. The Roman numerals in bold are the volumes, and the lighter numbers are page numbers within the volumes of the New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers.
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 New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers in the following volumes:
- Volume 27 has charters and documents for towns alphabetically from Albany to Moultonborough. On the Internet at iArchives, Also in the FHL Collection, book 974.2 N2nhp v. 27, film 1033741.
- Volume 28 has charters and documents for towns alphabetically from Nelson to Wolfeborough. On the Internet at iArchives. Also in theFHL Collection, book 974.2 N2nhp v. 28, film 1033742 Item 1.
- Volume 29 has documents relating to the Masonian patent from 1630 to 1846. On the Internet at iArchives. Also in the FHL Collection, book 974.2 N2nhp v. 29, film 1033742 Item 2.
1641 to 1679 - Massachusetts Era
From 1641 to 1679, New Hampshire was considered part of Massachusetts. However the town charters by Massachusetts in New Hampshire extend to 1740 because Massachusetts and New Hampshire had the same governor for most of the time until 1740. Town charters granted by Massachusetts to 1740 have been published in the New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers, vol. 24. On the internet at IArchives, Also in the FHL Collection, book 974.2 N2nhp v. 24 and film 1033740.
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 from 1679 to 1741, and charters were granted by New Hampshire from 1741 on. These recorded charters, land grants, maps, and plans can be found in several volumes of New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers, available on the Internet.
- New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers. 40 vols. (Concord, New Hampshire: State Printer, 1867–1943), Each volume has an every-name index. FHL Collection book 974.2 N2nhp vols.1-40; films 1033740–42
- 1720s to 1830s, Volume 27, on the Internet at iArchives, also in the FHL Collection, book 974.2 N2nhp v. 27, film 1033741and Volume 28, on the Internet at iArchives. also in the FHL Collection, book 974.2 N2nhp v. 28, film 1033742 Item 1. Masonian proprietors’ township and individual grants in New Hampshire, 1720s–1830's. Contains maps, plans and descriptions of land grants.
- 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], FHL Collection. 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. All existing pre-1772 deeds are at the New Hampshire Division of Records Management and Archives and on film:
- 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, FHL Collection. These films are of the indexes to the volumes and are alphabetically arranged.
New Hampshire County Registries of Deeds began to keep deed records in 1769, when the first five New Hampshire counties were created (Cheshire, Grafton, Hillsborough, Rockingham, and Strafford). The county Registries of Deeds now have indexes and records online (see link at beginning of paragraph). The registries have records dating back to the early 1600s.
Film or book numbers for land and property records can be found in the Place 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, by Genealogy Inc., accessed 11 December 2010. This site gives good information about researching land records in New Hampshire
- New Hampshire State Archives
- New Hampshire Land Records and Deeds Directory, by Online Searches, accessed 11 December 2010.