Pencils, protractors and rulers, oh my…

When you are researching land records in this country there are generally two kinds of property descriptions you will run into ‘metes and bounds’ and ‘rectangular survey’

The latter type is pretty easy to understand, everything is divided into squares or rectangles with specific acreages in wholes, halves, quarters. But metes and bounds is a whole other animal. 
Below is an example of each of property type. The first was owned by GEORGEs (Virginia/West Virginia) and the second was owned by CONNELLYs (Wisconsin):

BEGINNING at a beech and sugar tree on the south bank of McClery’s fork, and running thence
S45 degrees E55 poles to a hickory on a ridge
E344 poles to a white oak on the side of a hill
N100 poles to a black oak on the side of a point
N53 degrees, W180 poles to a stone on a hill near some white oaks
S82 degrees W184 poles to a white oak in a narrows, and thence
S20 degrees, W160 poles to the BEGINNING


sw1/4 sw1/4  s23  t18  r19 (translated this means – the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of section 23, township 18, range 19.)

I made the metes and bounds property description easier to read by separating each description, normally you would see it as one long paragraph. You can also see the difference between the two methods in the description of each. The rectangular survey method is much easier to read and figure out.

So while I have understood for many years how to figure out what sections look like on a map. I had never tackled metes and bounds, until a few weeks ago, at which time I decided it was time to learn something new by practicing with my GEORGE family deeds. These deeds are all located in Tyler County, West Virginia.

Here is my first attempt:

This one came out pretty close, the poor quality of my tools affected the outcome.

The second one:

The trick is pretty simple, you need a protractor or something with degrees on it, a pencil, and a ruler. Put a dot on your paper center the dot on your protractor mark the first degree in the proper direction, then measure out the poles or rods. Next. Well, I won’t go into any more detail, after all it is actually something you have to do to understand better and once you learn the procedure, it is pretty easy and fun.

Once you start drawing out these property descriptions you also start finding out where the errors are in the surveyors measurements or the register of deeds copying talents, because over time errors do appear, as can be seen in this property I drew out:

Something is definitely wrong with the deed in the above drawing, now I just have to figure out where the mistake is. The squiggly line on the bottom is in fact a ‘meander’, this line actually follows a creek.

Here is another example of a bad deed. The numbers were very hard to read on this one and I believe the clerk writing it out made a couple of mistakes. I have drawn four versions of what the property looks like in this one drawing, none of them line up properly. I was going by what the numbers could be in the deed.

Guess I have some more work to do in Salt Lake City.

All about John…

No this is not a post about the John family. This is a post about John GEORGE.

In going about my research on the GEORGE family, (that would be in relation to Grandma Dick’s grandmother Rachel GEORGE), it appears that William GEORGE and his wife Margaret arrived in Tyler County, Virginia in the late 1700s to early 1800s. Don’t know exactly yet. They had at least 4 children, although I might have found a fifth – but that is another story. The only one of their children I could find no information on online was John GEORGE.

Now John is not a direct ancestor, but a 5g Uncle. Which doesn’t matter to me, because I research all my relatives, if possible, as I have mentioned in earlier posts. In this case it was just a matter of curiosity. What the heck happened to John? Why does no one have anything on him online?

So commenced my hunt.

My first major puzzle piece was a land record in Tyler County, and because John was selling land, his wife’s name had to be listed. Diadamia. What a lovely name. This was the first tidbit I had found of his wife.

The last major puzzle piece, that pretty much put the picture together, was another land record. This one was recorded in Tyler County, but it had been sent from Elkhart County, Indiana in 1838. Wow! Major news. So my next move was to check all the census records for Tyler County for the GEORGES and make a list of who was living there as early as I could find them. John has moved out of his parents home and was living with his wife by 1810, he was about 26-29 years of age. So according to the census’ and the above land record they stayed in the area until sometime between June of 1838 and September of 1839, which is when they moved to Indiana. This find was confirmed with census records in the area of Elkhart County.

John died by 1846. I know this because in searching the Indiana vital records online for information on the children, I found a record of his wife having married a Kinsey in 1846. Diadamia and her new husband are found together in 1850 in Elkhart, but by 1860 Diadamia had also died (confirmed by census records).

I know of at least 4 children for the couple: John, William, Elizabeth, and Cassandra. Elizabeth and Cassandra each had married in Virginia, the former to a Jacob Sailor, and the latter to a Lewis Pitts. They had traveled with their parents and their own families to the wilds of Indiana. Eventually, the Pitts family traveled on to Nebraska which is where Cassandra died. Elizabeth’s family stayed in Elkhart. I do not know what happened to John or William yet, and I might or might not pursue their whereabouts.

So I have pretty much solved the mystery of John GEORGE. I am sure there are more records in Indiana that could give me even more information on the family, but that can wait for another time. So many surnames so little….well you know.