Good advice. Here's an example from my family. In 1876, "John" purchased 40 acres from a railroad for $400. But was the purchaser the elder "John," age 63 and married to "Carrie," or his eldest son "John", age 23 and single? The younger John married "Katie" in 1877, "Carrie" was a widow in 1880, and John and Katie gave "Olson" a mortage in 1880, and the property was sold by John and "Christina" (probably should be "Katie") in 1882. If the elder John had purchased the property, it looks like Minnesota law at the time would have given his widow certain rights to the property when he died before 1880. There is no record of a deed or other transfer from the widow to the son, so I think the simplest and most logical answer is that the son purchased the property, perhaps with some money from his father, if his father was still alive in 1876.