Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Plotting to find your Ancestors

 Plotting or platting your ancestor's land isn't as easy as it may seem. I had previously used Google Earth to locate my ancestors land grants in the Midwest. This does not work with the older metes and bounds surveys. The deed surveys I have for my early ancestors all contain measurements in poles. I found a free online tool to draw these plat maps for me. The site has some basic instructions. I did not realize that some of the coordinate numbers on the surveys were degrees and not poles. I eventually realized some the numbers referred to degrees when some of the deeds did start stating this fact. Here is an example:

 The example above demonstrates that degrees were sometimes not included as a part of the land description. You can infer degrees when see the coordinates phrased like the example above. They seem to always state it when they are referring to poles. So a direction with a number, another direction, and number of poles would mean we are dealing with poles and degrees. So the above would refer to a line running southeast at a forty degree angle 100 poles. You could draw this with a protractor or you could draw it with a drawing program which will calculate the angle for you. The easiest way is to use a program designed to do all this for you, when you enter the coordinates.

I looked all over the internet for answers to questions regarding metes and bounds deeds. I did find some great instructions at About.com. Unfortunately, it didn't answer every question such as that above. I looked at some videos at Youtube, and FamilySearch Wiki. I would like see a course at FamilySearch Learning demonstrating every step in the process of platting. I couldn't even find many platted deeds and descriptions posted anywhere. A video showing someone platting a deed on paper would be great too.

My primary purpose in platting these deeds was to find the approximate location of Hugh Forgey's property in Knox County, TN. I have a deed for his property and a couple of neighboring properties. One is a deed for a large 4000 acre tract which Hugh shares a line with. After platting this deed I now think Hugh's property could be a little south of Emory Road near Little Flat Creek. I was thinking it was North of Emory.  I need to examine this deeds further to be certain of this. I've found this project to be very rewarding. Seeing the online of ancestors' land brings you closer to them. It's interesting to reconstruct the area your ancestors lived in using neighboring surveys. The descriptions can be very vivid regarding the landscape too. You really get a better feel and appreciate for their surroundings when you do a project such as this.
Options for platting:

  1. Hand draw it with a protractor and compass
  2. Use a computer drawing software program  
  3. Use the free tool on the internet at  Deed Plat
  4. Buy a more powerful program such as Deed Mapper
You'll find more About.com Metes and bounds articles at FamilySearch Wiki.

1 comment:

city said...

nice posting.. thanks for sharing.