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Old 06-07-2018, 03:00 PM
 
Location: Kansas City North
3,626 posts, read 6,761,752 times
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Another post got me thinking - back before computers, how were title searches done? Certainly someone didnít go down to the courthouse and start with Book 0001 and look for documents pertaining to Lot 36 in Sunnyside Acres (and continuing through Book 5000 or whatever...).
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Old 06-07-2018, 03:09 PM
 
Location: East Coast
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People used to physically go to the office of the Recorder of Deeds in the county where the property was located and look up the deeds, liens and other claims to title that were filed. It might have been on paper at one point, but at some point it did change over to microfiche, etc. There were ways to find where these were located -- they didn't just to to a room with thousands of books and pull the first one off the shelf until they found their property. There were cross-references by property numbers, address, sometimes names, etc.

Not really so different from the way people used to do research at the library before the internet.
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Old 06-07-2018, 04:26 PM
 
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The old deeds were often on elaborately printed giant forms or literal hand written documents -- https://www.archives.gov/files/educa...ication-01.jpg. It was like visiting an ancient library / archives and often their were folks working on genealogy / family trees to determine true chain of ownership...

Things were MUCH slower and the oldest offices inevitably had lots of records that were damaged by water leaks or insects / vermin. It is honestly amazing how dramatically things have shifted, with most counties now having nearly instant access to records. Kinda makes you say "how come things are not cheaper"...
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Old 06-07-2018, 04:35 PM
 
Location: Florida
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Paper. Lots of paper.
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Old 06-07-2018, 04:50 PM
 
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They used to have title plants, where the title company would have a giant warehouse where they kept private copies of every transaction. First they were on paper and then microfilm. Building a plant was an expensive process but an important one. Plenty of counties would lose or store old records so if you really wanted to make sure you had them you kept your own. They still exist as well but mostly digitized everything through mass scanning in the last 10-20 years.

Most counties have computerized online records now but those only go back 20-30 years and going to the county to research is very time consuming. I once saw a giant lawsuit where a former employee had started their own title company and their former employer accessed them of stealing their fully digital plant and taking it with them to start the new company.
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Old 06-07-2018, 05:19 PM
 
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We used to get an abstract of title. Title companies had a copy of every deed recorded. The closing agent (usually attorney) would receive a paper copy of every deed for the property. The attorney would check the deeds going all the way back to make sure there was no gap in the transfers of the property. I remember seeing deeds from the 1800's, very interesting to see the progression through time.


In our area, the courthouse was flooded and the title company provided the backup documents.
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Old 06-07-2018, 06:35 PM
 
Location: Kansas City North
3,626 posts, read 6,761,752 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebigW View Post
We used to get an abstract of title. Title companies had a copy of every deed recorded. The closing agent (usually attorney) would receive a paper copy of every deed for the property. The attorney would check the deeds going all the way back to make sure there was no gap in the transfers of the property. I remember seeing deeds from the 1800's, very interesting to see the progression through time.


In our area, the courthouse was flooded and the title company provided the backup documents.
My parents owned a house in Johnson County, KS where the first entry in the abstract was the United States granting the property to Chief Bluejacket of the Shawnee Indian tribe.
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Old 06-07-2018, 10:19 PM
 
7,651 posts, read 5,407,484 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Okey Dokie View Post
Another post got me thinking - back before computers, how were title searches done? Certainly someone didnít go down to the courthouse and start with Book 0001 and look for documents pertaining to Lot 36 in Sunnyside Acres (and continuing through Book 5000 or whatever...).
Someone went down t courthouse and start with whatever book they had to start with
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Old 06-08-2018, 03:19 AM
 
Location: Cary, NC
31,605 posts, read 55,320,924 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Okey Dokie View Post
Another post got me thinking - back before computers, how were title searches done? Certainly someone didnít go down to the courthouse and start with Book 0001 and look for documents pertaining to Lot 36 in Sunnyside Acres (and continuing through Book 5000 or whatever...).
It was wise for the property owner to keep their deed safely stored.
Maybe in a safety deposit box.
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Old 06-09-2018, 01:14 PM
 
6,359 posts, read 7,327,369 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Okey Dokie View Post
Another post got me thinking - back before computers, how were title searches done? Certainly someone didnít go down to the courthouse and start with Book 0001 and look for documents pertaining to Lot 36 in Sunnyside Acres (and continuing through Book 5000 or whatever...).
Well, someone certainly did go to the records office to search through the recorded documents. But, they didn't start with Book 1. Title searches start with the most recent documents and you work your way back.

Years ago, I spent plenty of hours researching particular properties at the County Register of Deeds office. I actually found it to be quite interesting--especially the older handwritten documents from the 1800s and early 1900s. The original deed to a farm I bought was signed by President Andrew Jackson (well, that was the signature but it was probably signed by an underling). In my area of Michigan, most of the recordings start in the 1820s and 1830s when the federal land grants were first made. Of course, in the East, most of the recorded documents begin much earlier.

Even today when I look up title records, most of the recent records can be found online but older, historical records still need to be looked up by going into the records office. It's easy to kill a few hours if you really want to research a property back to the original land grant. Try it, you might like it.
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