Minnesota, Clay County Land and Property Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States Gotoarrow.png Minnesota Gotoarrow.pngClay County

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Minnesota, Clay County Land and Property Records, 1872-1947 .
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Clay, Minnesota, United States
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Flag of Minnesota
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Location of Clay County, Minnesota
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Location of Minnesota
Record Description
Record Type Land Records
Collection years 1872-1947
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites

What is in the Collection?

The records cover the years 1872 to 1947 with some indexes going beyond the year 1947.

The collection consists of images of records from the courthouse in Moorhead, Minnesota. The records include the following:

  • Grantor indexes
  • Grantee indexes
  • Deeds
  • Abstract books

After the county's creation, a county land office was formed. Land transactions among private owners were then recorded by the registerar of deeds in the county office.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Minnesota, Clay County Land and Property Records, 1872-1947.

Collection 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 Do I Search the Collection?

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

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

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the "Record Type, Year Range, and Volume" category 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.

I Found What I was Looking for, What Now?

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 and 2) the deed that documents when ownership was transferred to someone else.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, What Now?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
  • Search the indexes for the “parent” county to find the original purchase of a parcel of land. You may also need to search a neighboring county since that courthouse may have been more convenient for the person to record the deed.
  • Check the land records of the people mentioned in your ancestor’s deeds to see if a different residence was ever mentioned for them.
  • Make a list of all residences mentioned in the records within a year or two of when your ancestors came to the county—regardless of surname. Then search the records of places that seem likely or that occur frequently.
  • Create a database for other people with the same surname who lived in the county. Doing this may help you identify which individuals were related. If your ancestor’s records do not contain the information you need, a county database might give you a more complete picture.
  • Search other areas of the index. For example, if the land was sold for taxes, the entry may be in the grantor index under “S” for “sheriff,” under “T” for “tax collector” or “treasurer,” under the names of those officials, or even under the county name. County histories or other records may give the names of these county officials.

Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"Minnesota, Clay County Land and Property Records, 1872-1947" Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing County Recorder, Moorhead.
Image Citation:
The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Minnesota, Clay County Land and Property Records, 1872-1947.

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