Harold Henderson recently advised all genealogists to use deeds in their research (Midwestern Microhistory). His advice is excellent! Here are two of my favorite examples.
An 1840 deed to land in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, sold two of seven shares of a parcel that had belonged to the late James Lyle. It states [James Lyle] “died intestate leaving issue Seven Children, to wit: - John, James, Charles, William, Samuel, and Francis W. Lyle, sons of the said James Lyle deceased, and Elizabeth the wife of John Hall above named, daughter of the said James Lyle, to whom the same by the Laws of Pennsylvania, relating to intestate Estates did descend and come.” It couldn’t be more explicit or complete. (see my transcription)
Deeds in Beaver County, Oklahoma, were extremely helpful in tracing the ex-wife of a family member. She and her sister were sold land by their mother who retained a life interest. When the sister sold the land she had to provide proof of their mother’s death, her sister’s death, and her inheritance of her late sister’s share. All the documentation was referenced in the deed book. Using that data I found the ex-wife’s obituary and the location back in Missouri where she was buried in newspaper microfilm at the library in nearby Liberal, Kansas.
Tomorrow I will see microfilm of Orange County, New York, deeds that I hope will shed light on my Nichols family. All deeds don’t reveal what you hope, but you can see why it pays to look.