NYALBANY-L ArchivesArchiver > NYALBANY > 2004-03 > 1079278689
From: Leslie Potter <>
Subject: Re: [NYALBANY] family burying ground
Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2004 10:44:09 -0800
References: <200403131905_MC3-1-75D8-F52C@compuserve.com> <003e01c4096e$d21c2950$03ab4bab@oemcomputer>
I am not adept at using web sites to do genealogy. However, I am an
attorney by trade and I do know about running chains of title. If you
do not find your ancestors in either the Albany County Grantor Index or
the Albany County Grantee Index, one of two things is likely:
a) either they did not own real estate; or,
b) they did not record their deeds and/or freehold leases.
New York State is a difficult jurisdiction in which to do title searches
a) The patroons did not convey property to the early settlers. Instead
they used either term and freehold leases. A term lease is for a
definite period of time set forth in the instrument and it is not
capable of being recorded. A freehold lease is a lease for real estate
for an indefinite period of time. Usually this indefinite term was
defined as three life times. The three people whose lives were the
measure of the indefinite length of the lease are always named in the
lease. Although freehold leases are legally capable of being recorded,
very few actually were.
b) The New York Legislature did not abolish the Patroon system until
1841. So NO ONE in New York State gets good fee simple title to their
house and land until after 1841.
c) New York law does not require the use of a premises description
clause, so it was seldom used until the mid 20th Century. (The premises
description clause tells the buyer how his seller got the legal right to
convey the property in question.) In jurisdictions in which premises
description clauses were required, one can frequently find the
information from an unrecorded deed in a later "Whereas deed" which was
filed to correct the deficiency in the chain of title.
The LDS Family History Centers can get you the Grantor and Grantee
Indexes for any county. If you don't find your ancestors in either
Index, I am afraid that you are out of luck unless you can manage to
contact a local historian for the area in question, who knows about the
history of land conveyancing in that area. Such a person may have done
enough research to know about who lived there and when, even thought
there are unrecorded deeds. (I can do that for Middletown Township,
Delaware County, Pennsylvania, but that is the only municipality that I
know that well.)
You may be able to pick up clues for your ancestor's whereabouts in one
of the 19th Century county histories. You might also look for an old
atlas that contains property baseline maps for each of the towns in the
county in which you believe your ancestors lived.
However, as I said at the outset, using web sites and LDS microfilm for
doing research is not my strong suit. I tend to publish property
baseline maps and community histories not genealogies. So I am the old
fashioned kind who prefers to sling deed books in the County Clerk's
Office, although I understand that that is not always possible.
Sorry that I could not have been of more help. Hopefully the folks on
the list who are more adept at doing genealogical research on the
internet will be able to assist you.
Doug & Laurie Ray wrote:
>Under Family Search.org, Library Catalog, I found it under New York, Albany
>County, which gave me a long list of types of subjects. One of them is Land
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "david stott" <>
>Sent: Saturday, March 13, 2004 7:05 PM
>Subject: Re: [NYALBANY] family burying ground
>>thanks for all the great suggestions
>>I have tried using the LDS web site in order to locate the films and film
>>numbers for the Deed books..
>>however using "coeymans" or "Albany Deed books" for a search, all my
>>searches come up empty....
>>Do I have to go to a NY LDS for these records???
>>Am I searching the LDS site incorrectly??
>>Message text written by INTERNET:
>>Land records are filed with and maintained by the County Clerk in each
>>county. However, each County Clerk's Office has handled the housing of
>>its the very old records differently. Microfilm copies of Deed Books
>>are available through the Family History Centers of the Church of Latter
>>Day Saints, if you are unable to actually go to the County Clerk's
>>Office to look up the deed yourself.