Vermont, Land Records, Early to 1900 is a free collection at FamilySearch with browsable images of land records and land transactions from 1850 to 1900 in Vermont.
The collection consists of Vermont land records for the years 1600 to 1900. Additional indexes and records are being added to this collection. This index currently has the following years: 1850 to 1900.
“Land records give the locations and dates for land transactions with the names of buyers and sellers. Most volumes of land records have indexes of buyers and sellers. Look in the indexes first to find the volumes and page numbers where the actual land records can be found. Then look in the appropriate land records volumes to see the images of the deeds.
“Land records were kept in the towns. They recorded land transactions to document the transfer of land ownership and thereby establish legal rights to land, track responsibilities for tax revenues, and designate persons to serve in various functions of the county, such as maintaining public roads in the early times. Towns began recording deeds soon after the town was formed and continue to the present.
“The records were handwritten in large bound volumes. One deed usually fills one to three pages. Deeds may be recorded either in separate land record books or as part of the town records. Later deeds may have been recorded on pre-printed forms. Each town has separate grantor (seller) and grantee (buyer) indexes. Original copies of land records are in the town clerk’s office.
“Vermont was originally part of Massachusetts. In 1749, New Hampshire claimed a large portion of the area and granted land for 129 towns in Vermont. In 1764, New York claimed jurisdiction over a large portion of the land held by New Hampshire. In 1777, Vermont became independent, and claimed the land was under its jurisdiction. The towns remained the same, and the town records contain the land deeds without regard to the political jurisdiction of the time. The legislature granted land in the towns to a group of individual called proprietors, so the earliest deeds are called proprietor’s deeds. Towns began recording deeds soon after the town was formed (Combined with text in date range). The town clerk transcribed into the registers the original documents which remained with the owners or their families. A high percentage of adult males who lived in rural areas of Vermont owned land at some point during their lifetime. Very few women owned land in their own right. They sometimes witnessed deeds and may have been asked to relinquish their dower’s rights.
“The information given in town land records is generally reliable, although there may be errors made in transcribing the town’s copy from the original deed.”
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What Can I Learn from Land Records?
Vermont Land records may include:
- Dates when the transaction occurred, was written up, and recorded in the town
- Names of the grantors (sellers), the grantees (buyers), witnesses, and sometimes neighbors
- Ages are seldom given, but a person might be mentioned as a minor
- Exact relationships may be stated in deeds for property sold or given to heirs during a person’s lifetime
- Usually the residences of the grantor(s) and grantees(s)
- Usually the occupations of both the grantor(s) and grantee(s)
- Signature or mark (usually an X) of the grantor(s)
- Legal description of the parcel
- The amount the property was sold for (consideration)