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Deed Books (1749-1912)

Deed Books, 1749-1912 

Description: A deed is the conveyance of realty. It legally transfers the title of realty from one to another. For the first land transfer a warrant needed to be issued in order to have a survey done. After the survey was complete the land could then be patented. This was issued from the Penns or the Commonwealth and was the first clear title to a piece of property. After a property was patented it was then transferred at the county level through deeds. Warrant and patent records are held at the Pennsylvania State Archives.

Content: A deed contains the names of the grantor (seller) and grantee (buyer), amount paid and a description of the land's boundaries. In most cases it will NOT specifically mention a house, describe it or give a street address. In many cases the deed will list the previous owners and may reference their deed. The following records are also found in deed books; adjudications, articles of separation, discharge of slaves, marriage contracts, mortgages (prior to 1842), ore leases, power of attorneys, releases, right of ways and soldiers discharges.

Grantee / Grantor Indexes, 1749-1912.

Content: The indexes list the grantee, grantor, book, page, date and location.

Glossary of Terms

admr - administrator

al - and others

application - request for a warrant to have a survey made

est - estate

exr- executor

gdn - guardian

grantee - buyer

grantor - seller

messuage - dwelling-house with the adjacent buildings

patent - final, official deed from the Penns or the Commonwealth, which conveys clear title and all rights to the private owner

perch- a measure of land containing five yards and a half, or sixteen feet and a half in length; otherwise called a "rod" or "pole".

survey - sketch of boundaries of tract of land with exact determination of total acreage.

ux - and wife

vir- and husband

warrant - certificate authorizing a survey of a tract of land; initiates title of a property and provides the basis for legal settlement, but does not convey all rights to the property


NOTE: Enter only the Surname (ex: smith)
Grantee    Grantor

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Instructions for Searching Deed Records

(Please read before using indexes)

  1. Enter the surname or organization you are searching for in the search box above. (Example: Smith)

  2. The Grantor index indexes the names of the seller of the land. The Grantee index indexes the names of the buyer of the land.

  3. Select either Grantee or Grantor

  4. The deed indexes use the Russell soundex system. This system is based on the key letters "L-M-N-R-T".

  5. To find the section you need, open the PDF file and click on the matching key letters that are in lower case on the left of the screen. The capital letters are the first initial of the given name. This will link you to a page where the names will be listed in columns under the given name initial with a page number listed to the right. Click on the surname you want to search.

  6. The second section of the index will list the names of the Grantor and Grantee, the volume and page where the deed is recorded, date recorded and location of property. If you are requesting a copy of the deed from the Archives, you need to provide the book and page number and either the name of the grantee or grantor.

  7. If there are no key letters in the name, scroll down to the section marked "No Key Letters".

  8. If the name is that of a Corporation or Organization, scroll down to the section labeled "Miscellaneous". This is located at the very end of the surname letter.

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