Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Which Index Is Which?

Part of my *"no money fun" time in Lapeer County,Michigan,is spent abstracting deeds there. Back in 2005 I posted a few deed abstracts on Ancestry's Lapeer County Message Board; to look at the deeds as a group, go to the message board site found here and then click on "advanced search," find the "deed(s)" category under "message classification, " leave the other fields blank, then do the search. I plan to add some of my other deed abstracts to this blog.

The website for the Register of Deeds in Lapeer is here and has an online search component at the site. To perform a manual search, once I've signed in, I head downstairs to the basement where the books (libers) are housed.

The Grantor & Grantees are combined in one book in the older volumes (including Deed Index 2 1858-1868) so one has to be careful identifying who is the grantor and who is the grantee. The first half of Deed Index 1 is an alpha list "grantors"; the 2nd half of the volume is devoted to "grantees." The surnames (listed by the first letter) are then grouped by libers (i.e., an "M" surname, Moore, Murphy, etc., would be listed under Liber A [the earliest deed books are A-Z then go to Volume 1 - ?], then Liber B, etc., sequentially). Later volumes are separated by Grantor and Grantee and use the Cott Index.

An alpha index using the first letter of one's surname may seem obvious; however, other indexing systems include the Paul Company, Burr Record, Campbell, Cott and the Russell Index. A brief explanation of each of these systems can be found here. Since I've used the Russell Index while researching in Pittsburgh (Allegheny Co, Pennsylvania) which required a steep learning curve on a day when just finding where the deeds where held in downtown Pittsburgh, I'll eventually expand on the topic of the Russell Index.

*[Off topic - no money fun is a quote from comedian Mike Myers]

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