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31 October 2012

Leases Typically Are Not Recorded

If your farming ancestor leased property instead of owning it, there likely are no records of those leases. These documents are not like deeds that are typically recorded. County directories may indicate that your ancestor rented property and may indicate the actual owner. Census records (if they are recent enough) may indicate the property was rented as well.


  1. I've run into this issue myself. I have an ancestor that lived on a rented property in rural Texas, almost 100 years ago. It has taken me sixteen years of research to get it down to within a 2 mile square area. However, since I was crazy enough to get to that point, I've been banging my head against the wall trying to think of resources for finding the actual deed paperwork for this property. The best I've come up with is finding the deed information for all of those individuals listed on the census as "owning" land near the rented property, marking those out on a map, and checking that against the order of visitation to see if a pattern develops….Any ideas that might keep me from having to go this route would be greatfully accepted.

  2. I'm assuming there are no plat maps of the area during the time period in question. Are there real property tax records that would help in creating a map of the area? Those in areas that have sections and townships should include the legal description of the property and might be helpful in creating a map of owners without going through the deeds.

  3. Part of the difficulty is a lack of access to the area. I live almost 1,000 miles from the area I'm researching. After speaking with county clerks, and tax offices, it seems like the only tax records available for the time period (1919-1921) exist in a locked barn out in the country, so I have no idea what tax records are available. Thank you, though, for the great thought. That would, indeed, be a much easier route.