Family Maps with Homesteads, Roads, Waterways, Towns, Cemeteries, Railroads, and More; Or, A Land Patent By Any Other Name

If you haven’t encountered Family Maps books at a conference or seminar or discovered them by accident on the web, let me introduce them to you. I have used the Family Maps book for Boone County MO where the Rippeto family lived on Sec 23, Township 46-N, Range 13 W–and where Olive Rippeto still lived in 2000 when Afton and I interviewed her. Only we didn’t have the benefit of these Family Maps to help us locate the land–we had to drive until we encountered Rippeto Street on the side of the hill. John Rippeto patented SESW Sec 23 on 15 Jan 1856. (And interestingly for us, Rippeto Street is not on the Rippeto land.)

Developed by Gregory A. Boyd as a tool to trace his own family history, this savvy engineer is producing county-by-county map books for every county in some 30 public domain states. I asked him if he plans to prepare similar products for the state-land states (original 13 colonies and those states created from them, like Kentucky and Tennessee). He replied that he had too much to complete just now and would defer that decision until later.

Three maps are created for each township–land patent map with alphabetical index to names, road map showing local roads in each section with index to roads–even dirt roads–and historical map with rivers, creeks, cemeteries, and other historical features.

Multiple indexes access land patents, cities and towns, cemeteries, local name lists for each township, and an every-name master index for quick retrieval of ancestors and their land holdings.

Each map group has Helpful Hints so you can interpret and use the information more effectively. You can preview spellings of surnames that you might otherwise miss in the land records, including who else bought land in the county–unique given names, names of in-laws and cousins, maiden surnames for ancestors and other related families, namesakes after whom your own ancestor could be named. These facts can lead you to the discovery of family relationships.

This is a genealogy research tool you don’t want to miss out on. Check out and the related website for more information, lists of Family Maps books already available, and names of libraries who have subscribed to the whole series.

Glossary of some Key Land and Tax Terms you will find in Deeds and Wills:

· Advowson–real estate dedicated to the church. Owner has the right to present the clergyman to the benefice

· Common Rightsuse held in common with others, can include products, water, grazing, forest

· Delinquent–fees or taxes due and unpaid by specific date

· Desmesne–a selected portion of land holdings reserved for the exclusive right of the owner

· Exemptions–from taxes or fees set by law or local custom: teacher, tax assessor or collector, militia captain, civil servant, disability, or by petition

· Freemanunmarried man, under 21, taxable, usually living in own establishment

· Gore–a strip of land between two survey lines, frequently pie-shaped. May have own set of records, separate from county or township

· Inmateunmarried adult, taxable, living in someone else’s home, not a head of household

· Messuage–principal dwelling place, includes house and adjacent buildings

· Moeity–1/2 interest in real property; joint tenants usually hold by moeity

· Natural Rights–determined by geographical and physical conditions other than law. Subject to specific limits, can be based on equity

· Occupant–person in possession of the land, living on the land

· Proprietor–owner who has exclusive right, title, and use of the land

· Tenement–house or homestead, includes rentals, common rights, other fixed property holdings

· Tenant–rents the land

· Unseated–unoccupied, not a place of residence, usually unimproved and subject to lower tax, may be occupied

· Unwarranted–lands still owned and in possession of the government

· Warrantee–person who holds the warrant or right to own the land, person who guarantees the right to sell with a clear title

Remember–Christmas is a great time to gather genealogy details! Don’t forget to ask your relatives what they know. Bribe them if you have to.

Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

P.S.  Watch for my special Christmas session, posted Friday 22 Dec–Santa Claus:  Like Father Like Son.

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