Vermont Land Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: Vermont Land Records, Early to 1900 .
This Collection will include records from 1600 to 1900.
Land records were kept in the towns and were handwritten into large bound volumes. One deed usually fills one to three pages. Deeds may be recorded either in separate land record books or as part of the town records. Later deeds may have been recorded on pre-printed forms. Each town has separate grantor (seller) and grantee (buyer) indexes. Original copies of land records are in the town clerk’s office.
Vermont was originally part of Massachusetts. In 1749, New Hampshire claimed a large portion of the area and granted land for 129 towns in Vermont. In 1764, New York claimed jurisdiction over a large portion of the land held by New Hampshire. In 1777, Vermont became independent, and claimed the land was under its jurisdiction. The towns remained the same, and the town records contain the land deeds without regard to the political jurisdiction of the time. The legislature granted land in the towns to a group of individual called proprietors, so the earliest deeds are called proprietor’s deeds. Towns began recording deeds soon after the town was formed (Combined with text in date range). The town clerk transcribed into the registers the original documents which remained with the owners or their families. A high percentage of adult males who lived in rural areas of Vermont owned land at some point during their lifetime. Very few women owned land in their own right. They sometimes witnessed deeds and may have been asked to relinquish their dower’s rights.
Towns began recording deeds soon after the town was formed and continue to the present.
Towns in Vermont recorded land transactions to document the transfer of land ownership and thereby establish legal rights to land, track responsibilities for tax revenues, and designate persons to serve in various functions of the county, such as maintaining public roads in the early times.
The information given in town land records is generally reliable, although there may be errors made in transcribing the town’s copy from the original deed.
For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.
- "Vermont, Land Records, Early to 1900." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Town Clerk.
These records usually contain the following information:
- Dates when the transaction occurred, was written up, and recorded in the town
- Names of the grantors (sellers), the grantees (buyers), witnesses, and sometimes neighbors
- Ages are seldom given, but a person might be mentioned as a minor
- Exact relationships may be stated in deeds for property sold or given to heirs during a person’s lifetime
- Usually the residences of the grantor(s) and grantees(s)
- Usually the occupations of both the grantor(s) and grantee(s)
- Signature or mark (usually an X) of the grantor(s)
- Legal description of the parcel
- The amount the property was sold for (consideration)
How to Use the Records
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 you will need to follow this series of links:
- Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
- Select the "Town Letter"
- Select the "Town/County"
- Select the “Record Type”
- Select “Index” to determine the page number in the land record volumes for your ancestor
- Select “Land Record” to view the land record image for your ancestor
Tips to Keep in Mind
- 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.
Keep in mind:
- 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.
Known Issues with This Collection
For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.
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Contributions to This Article
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. 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.
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.
Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection
"Vermont Land Records, early to 1900," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org: accessed 22 May 2012); W > Waterville, Lamoille > Land Records > Vol.7, 1898-1915 > image 1 of 397; citing Merritt H Mann, dated 2 April 1898. Digital copies of originals housed in Clerk-Treasurer offices in various counties throughout Vermont.