Friday, March 25, 2011

Having trouble finding a deed in FHL film

This is a repost from 2009. I was really looking for some feedback on this particular situation. Now that there are so many more experts out there, I am hoping to get some help in this area.

Ok, I've been going to my local Family History Library for several years now. I've had very good success in finding records that were pertitent to my genealogy research. I got stumped one year on some deed records that I am trying to locate. Here is my story. Does anyone have any suggestions?

I went to the FHL website's library catalog and in the Search Box I selected "Place-names" and in the "For" box I entered "Illinois, Perry."

A list of results came up. I then clicked on the "Land and Property" link to pull up the Perry County, Illinois records on Land transactions. I then clicked on the "Land Records, 1827-1950, index" link. This brought up a list of all of the microfilm from 1827-1950, including the Grantee and Grantors indexes and the deed volumes themselves.

The first film I ordered was the Grantor's index, 1827-1876, film no. 975892. When I viewed the film I listed the items I wanted to see the actual deeds of. The typical Grantor index allows you to search for the surname alphabetically, then usually the date, names of the parties involved, and book and/or volume and page number of the actual deed records are listed. This particular index included the names of the parties involved, the book and page number. Dates were not included. Here is my list:

Cornelius Godwin to James Huggins, Book 6, p. 14
Sarah Godwin to Wilson Godwin, Book 6, p. 45
Sarah Godwin to Wilson Godwin, Book 6, p. 45
Ezekial Godwin to Patrick M Farlin, Book 6, p. 446
William Godwin and wife to William A Allen, Book J., p. 221
Cornelius Godwin to Frederick Fleck, Book L., p. 273 (Mortgage)
Daniel Dry to John Woodrun, book A, p. 86, deed
Daniel Dry and wife to Jacob House, book B, p. 30
John F Dry to Edmond House, book B, p. 38
John F Dry to John House, book b, p. 39

Some of these entries reference a Book followed by either a number or a letter. Now I want to order the corresponding films in the Family History Library catalog and order them.

The first book I want to order is book no. 6.

The first options of films I have to choose from are Deed Book volumes A-Z and dates 1827-1873, contained in a total of 14 reels of film. Each film contains two letters of the alphabet. As the letters go through the alphabet, the dates associated with the films get more recent. Deed Book Volume A-B corresponds with dates 1827-1842. Book volume C-C1 corresponds with years 1841-1848 (volume C1 covers 1872-1878). And so forth.

The next set of films available are the Deed Book volumes 1-15 covering years 1872-1888. Since I was looking for Deed Book #6, I ordered the Deed Book v. 5-6 film no. 975910. This film covers 1876-1950.

A couple of weeks later the film arrived but it was not as I expected. This film did not contain deed transactions between two parties; It contained land grants that were issued to individuals from the state. And most of these land grants weren't recorded until 100 years later! For example, I found a land grant issued to John Huggins in 1854 that was recorded in 1923. I also found a land grant issued to Daniel Dry in 1838 that wasn't recorded until 1948.

Since I don't know the dates of any of these deed transactions, how do I know which films to order? Are these films only for land grants or deeds or both? Does anyone have any suggestions?

Oh and I didn't find what I was looking for in Deed book 6 either in case you were wondering. I'm afraid to order more deed books in case I'm not doing something right. I don't want to waste the time or the money.

Do you have any suggestions? Have you run into this before?


  1. First, sometimes deeds are not recorded until the land either leaves the family or it goes through probate, In otherwards if father sells his land to his son and so forth for 3 or 4 generations than for some reason it has to be recorded, than it gets recorded and usually all the other deeds to the land are recorded at the same time. So if you find a deed that should have been recorded years earlier than check the pages around it and see what there is. Second are you sure you need book 6 and not book b? I would try book b and look at the pages for both book b and book 6.

  2. Thank you for your suggestion to look at Book B! I will give that a try. I already looked at Book 6 and I did not find anything relating to my Godwins in that book.

  3. This is very interesting. I thought I should use this source too, and I suppose it may help me My particular person was considered a tennant or squattor on the swamp land purchase. There was major court over the land. I can find the court books at google book, but not the outcome. I suspect the person died and her husband before it was all decided who won. and the tennant died shortly after. I still may have to write to the court house or go in person, if they still have the books.

    Thanks for this post.

  4. Thanks for your reply rootdigger. Isn't it amazing how long it took for court cases to linger on and on. I guess some things never change. I hope you find the outcome! Good luck!