Have you ever…

Dear Readers:

In recent editions of Prairie Home Companion[1], a cast member[2] leads off with a wildly improbable question . . . something like “Have you ever laid on your back after three martinis and tried to make a snow angel, but then realized you were rolling on the floor of a Dunkin’ Donuts?  I have.”  Or “Have you ever leaned back on your stool and realized there was no back rest?  I have.” Or “Have you ever chewed on a stick of licorice for over an hour, and then realized you actually had just eaten an entire plastic straw?  I have.”

            I felt like that this week. 

Have you ever started a search and realized the source deed information on the assessor’s website was wrong?  I have.

After going through the one hundred and five plus parcels described in the referenced 90-page deed and gradually coming to the realization that none of them seemed to fit, I resorted to the time honored traditional approach, the grantee index to deeds.

Have you ever had a dozen alternative possible sources of title, each containing anywhere from three to 103 parcels?  I have.

And there was nothing to do but read them all.

Have you ever seen a family partnership that operated for fifty years, and over four generations, and rarely, if ever, took title in the partnership name, but in the name of the family members then comprising the partnership.  I have.

Seventy plus pages of individual entries to pull, and only a page and a half in the partnership name.  I’m still working through those lists.  There was at least one summary of the partnership’s members over the bulk of that time period, which is proving helpful.

Have you ever seen a group that describes their property by reference to some internal inventory parcel numbering system, and only occasionally includes some stray fact from the title history that helps link the inventory to the title?  I have.

I’m hoping to trip across that inventory as I pull the individual names from the grantor indices, but I have managed to glean semi-usable property descriptions from the time period before the partnership acquired title to the land.  For this search, I’ve developed an entirely new approach.  Rather than chain back and adverse forward (which will happen, just not in the usual way), I leapfrogged back in time to a prior owner who carved up some 2000 acres into 75 parcels,  16 of which appear to be part of the property our customer wants to acquire.  There are four more adjoining parcels, three of which I think I’ve tracked down by reference to adjoining landmarks and neighbors, but this is a work in progress, and there could be more surprises in store for me.

Have you ever wondered why some examiners don’t want to search anything but lots and blocks?  I have.  But not this week.

            Let’s all be careful out there.


[1] http://www.prairiehome.org/

[2] Tom Papa, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1166844/

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