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Obtaining a land patent.

The mystery of Land Patents unveiled.

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Obtaining a land patent.

Postby Nberz » Friday January 3rd, 2014 1:29 pm MST

New here, and let me say, the depth of your responses and explanations are incredibly appreciated. I spent some time reviewing the rules/policies, older posts, and have began the first steps the putting together the information you have requested in "Steps to Secure a Land Patent." Hopefully this can be a guideline to others.

I went to the county recorder and received my "Certified Copy" of the warranty deed (x2). This lists the grantor, a corporation, and me, the grantee. Fortunately the legal description on my Certified Warranty Deed is the prescribed STRf format. I'm thinking from here, with just this document, I can next request a "Certified copy of the Land Patent for the land represented by your Land." Is that correct?

The question I have pertains to the chain of title. I can easily trace this chain via warranty deed back to 1979 (a "dummy date") within the data files. From that date, if one were to trace back, an incredibly tedious method then begins. 1979 was the first time deeds were digitally entered here, therefore, just because 1979 was the first deed listed, it doesn't mean that was the year this person listed acquired the property. The books are indexed by name and date. Therefore since I have the name of the person who was on the deed in 1979 (Not the actual deed itself, just the name of the "owner"), I need to check every month in the year 1978, 1977, 1976... My house was built in the 1951. Now, if I find that person say in 1968 as acquiring the property, the grantor will then be listed. From that date 1968, I would then check each month/year manually to discover when he/she purchased the property. I'm also assuming a construction company or bank purchased the property to build upon, etc.

From this 2 questions arise.

Does one need a complete chain of title? I believe the abstract is long gone. Basically, do you need it to complete the "sandwich."

What about the chain of title to the land prior to 1951. I'm assuming it was cut up an number of times prior, and am looking for direction on discovering those records.

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Re: Obtaining a land patent.

Postby KingWm » Friday January 3rd, 2014 6:06 pm MST

Nberz,
Welcome to the forums. I am a surveyor in Texas. Things work a bit differently here, but I will make a couple comments. Texas is a metes and bounds state primarily with the only public lands surveyed in the STRf system being in West Texas.

You are correct. Searching chain of title can be very tedious. Around here, the deeds will usually reference the prior deed back to maybe the early 1900's, and then typically you would have to use the indexes to find the older deeds. Sometimes the deed references to prior deeds skip transactions (from 1979 straight to 1951, skipping the 1968 deed in your example) so if that happens, you will have to use the indexes to fill in the gaps. I do a lot of research at the local abstracting plant turned title company. They have maps showing the older properties with deed references as well as their own indexes that are arranged more conveniently that the County Clerk's indexes. Most title companies don't have this sort of information because they sell title insurance now and did not ever do any abstracting. If you check with the local title companies in your county, you may find one that was an abstracting company at one time. Around here, there is usually one in each county while the rest are only newer title companies. They would likely charge a fee, but it might take considerably less time to find the deeds you are looking for. Also, if you call the title company that provided the title insurance for your tract, they may give you the chain of title, but they are usually protective of that chain and may not release it. Keep in mind though, that researching at title companies is no substitute for researching at the County Clerk's office. It is simply a short cut. The County's records are official, the title company's are not. When I did my chain of title, I started at the title company and made a list of deeds in about 15 minutes. Then, I went to the Clerk's office and duplicated the work in their indexes.

Reverse searching as you described is called an "indirect search", or a grantee search, while searching forward is called a "direct search" or grantor search. And yes, you have to go book by book from one end to the other, carefully looking at each name in the list to make sure you don't skip anything. It is usually easier in the newer books because they provide more information and often times the indexes are cut up into smaller sub groups (instead all the B's on page 2, they would split the B's into about 10 subgroups) I don't believe you need the complete chain of title for the "sandwich", but you need it to prove that you are the rightful land owner. The further back in time you go, the larger the tract will be. My abstract started out as ±4300 acres in 1832, then was partitioned into about 4 large tracts, which was then further subdivided through the years until it reached its current configuration (2.5 acres). I am not in a platted subdivision. If you have a lot in town, the scenario will be a bit different, but the mechanics of the search are the same.

If the person who developed the subdivision developed other subdivisions, you will have to be careful when looking for deeds that you find the correct one. You may find other tracts with the same grantor or grantee that are somewhere else and not related to yours. You will have to look at the description of the tract and compare it to the subdivision plat to see if it is correct. Sometimes, a surveyor is needed to map the deeds to figure it out because one developer may have bought a lot of land, then only subdivided and platted a portion of it. The legal descriptions change quite a bit through this process.

I wouldn't assume anything about the grantors. There may not be a construction company in the chain. Typically what you would do for a complete abstract is search in reverse from the present time back until you find the patent. Then, you would turn around and do a direct search looking at every document with that grantor's name on it to see if it affects your tract. You may find easements and you will likely find lien releases. A warranty deed may contain a lien, and so you would want to find the releases for those liens. If you get stuck on a particular deed where you cannot find a grantor, then you may need to check the probate records. If someone bequeaths land to an heir, that may not be recorded in the deed records or official public records. In Texas, and probably most everywhere else, all of the counties changed the name of the records (in 1992) from deed records to official public records. We also have probate records, so if I suspect a will in involved in the transfer of land, I will search the probate records for the appropriate name and try to locate their will. Sometimes the wills are filed in other counties, so pray that is not the case. Sometimes, when I get stuck, I look at neighbors deeds because they will often give clues such as names and dates for the neighbors deeds. This won't be the case when they are using a lot and block description. It is quite an investigation at times. It can be fun (it can also be a massive headache) because you learn a great deal about the history of the area by studying the land records. I have run across a lot of interesting things such as the sale of slaves and stories about the great depression.

I don't understand your comment that the "abstract is long gone". You can do the land patent sandwich without the chain, but if you don't have the complete chain, then you still can't verify that you are the rightful land owner. And yes, you need the chain prior to 1951, all the way back to the patent. Call the land office and get the certified copy of the patent, and then you will know when your search begins. It could be quite old. The oldest ones in my area are usually from the 1830's. I am fortunate because mine was pretty easy with few transactions and no complications. However, I have seen a lot of messed up stuff in my work.

I hope this helps. KingWm

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Re: Obtaining a land patent.

Postby Nberz » Friday January 3rd, 2014 8:05 pm MST

Thanks King…
I will start by doing the indirect search. I will also send my info over to Land Management to get the Certified copies of where my land originated. My initial feeling is I would be able to indirect search back to when my house was built fairly easily. I'm thinking then I will have to start from the original land patent and work my way forward until my house was built. Just an initial analysis, but, thank you for the title company tip. If that would turn up anything, it could save hours, because instead of searching, I would hopefully be verifying. Either way, a big THANK YOU. As for the sandwich, to confirm, no chain is needed? I will complete the chain for my own records.

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Re: Obtaining a land patent.

Postby SimplyThinkDreams » Friday January 3rd, 2014 10:29 pm MST

Nberz,
My father is a title searcher and I used to work with him in our local courthouse when I was younger. I also researched the chain of title for the plot of Land I grew up on and came across a bunch of snags so I know the frustration that can come with doing such research. In addition to the information KingWm has provided, I would like to mention that certain transfers (such as Sheriff sales) can be recorded in the courts. In Pennsylvania, Orphan's Court is the court that deals with with estate matters and such records are recorded and maintained by the Prothonotary's Office. I would imagine that the names and places of such records are probably called something else in your state.

When it comes to the chain of title, a complete chain is obviously the strongest as KingWm mentioned. Most title insurance companies research the chain of title back 60 years here in Pennsylvania. The ancient law of Grand Jubilee applies after 49 years. Therefore, if you can demonstrate that the Land with its appurtenant property has been transferred in fee simple for 49 or more years, you can reasonably claim the assignment of Land from the patent in which your Land is situated. Such a claim based upon Grand Jubilee could possibly be refuted but only through proof of an adverse claim.

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Re: Obtaining a land patent.

Postby Nberz » Thursday January 9th, 2014 9:18 pm MST

Thank you!
Monday, I went in…
I found a few owners but haven't quite made it back to the date my house was built.

I know everyone on this forum has accepted this fact, and I guess I just accepted it. But the idea of the US being a corp. has always not quite settled with me. I did some research and needless to say, I was, I guess, satisfied with the conclusion. Here in plain English.
At 28 USC § 3002 - DEFINITIONS Congress wrote:(15) “United States” means—
(A) a Federal corporation;
(B) an agency, department, commission, board, or other entity of the United States; or
(C) an instrumentality of the United States.

This is for the doubters.

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Re: Obtaining a land patent.

Postby KingWm » Thursday January 9th, 2014 11:35 pm MST

Keep up the search. Be persistent and don't give up. As far as that link, there are rules about posting off-site links. Admin will likely delete that and gently remind you not to post such links. That link doesn't prove anything. It is a definition that must not be taken out of context (see: The Cardinal Rule of Definitions). It is evidence, but not proof. The proof is in the organic act and the actions of Corp US (see: Corp. U.S’. Myth 1). It may be hard to accept, but it makes a lot of sense. I actually get comfort out of the fact because I now realize that the government is still there for us to take back control of (see: Governor’s Corner), and that thing (Corp. U.S.) that has perpetrated all that evil is not actually our government. We must learn the law and apply it. Hold them accountable by taking appropriate action (see: Call to Action) and, spreading the word and inspiring others to learn and take action.

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Re: Obtaining a land patent.

Postby Nberz » Sunday January 12th, 2014 7:40 pm MST

Thank you for the followup and I apologize in advance if I over over stepped.

Ok, delving in further here and I'm really starting to get a clearer picture of the system, at least within this research.

Back story... I've obtained surveys back from 1911, it indicates 26ish acres which my property now resides. The previous owner, walnut hills development, "owned" 500 acres and had it surveyed and subdivided, I think is the term, to setup parcels to sell. Either way, the survey is just a frame of reference, and doesn't really have anything to do with ownership of the "land". It's just a confirmation. It's about the chain from you, the current owner back to the patent. The legal has to match up. I have back to when my house was built (I'm assuming I don't need certified copies of each deed, but I do have simply plain copies of each...) I sent in for my certified copies of the Land Patent, but here is a curiosity.

I am a real estate investor. I buy and sell houses, mainly sell on Land Contract, so this topic is a necessity. I see weekly the mess it is at the county city building (misfiling, bad surveys, incomplete names, incorrect legal, etc). Dealing with a sale. Lets assume for this case, the property has no liens, at least that we know of, and it's title has been "cleared" or insured by a title agency. Either way, when I "purchase" a house, and we do a private deal, from another investor, he simply writes up a quit claim deed and I give him some money (once again, forget all the stuff that happened before). Well, in order to show proof that I now own the house, customary procedure is you need to go downtown and "record" the new deed AND a sales disclosure. The deed basically goes down to the "deeds department" as they call it, and they basically make sure it's notarized, the legal matches up, and the previous grantee is the new grantor, they stamp it and everything is ok. THEY DON'T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH SALES PRICE OR ANY MONEY. The sales disclosure is also filed, it has many requirements, some being parcel number, Land/improvement, where to send taxes, conditions of sale, date, Seller, buyer, and...last 5 of the SSID (they have the social from the previous owner already on file) Sorry to be drawn out here, but, finally here is the heart of the question, or at least a statement that I needed cleared up.

The deed (unless clearly state on such) has nothing to do with "real estate" or "appurtenances", it only has to do with the land. I see nothing about sale price, structures etc. I think this part has to do with only with the "Land" and the true owner.

The sales disclosure has nothing to do with land and everything to do with real estate and appurtenances. There is no legal description, no STRf, just sales price and a confirmation that this property was bought through or owned by the SS trust. It's a claim that the new buyer purchased appurtenances and real estate. This has to do with taxation. I'm digging in Indiana codes at IC 6-1.1-5.5, so I might discover something else, but, what if I just grant the land? What if the real estate isn't part of the deal, kind of like the gas in the purchase of the car, or even, the bugs on the window that the previous owner didn't wash off (might be a bad analogy, but hopefully you get the point)... You can't "buy" land, at least to my knowledge. I'm not planning on doing this, but, in theory, why should I file a sales disclosure, assuming it is a requirement (which I need to confirm), with the any value? What if I'm only getting the land? It does ask if I'm getting land or improvements, but, I can't find a definition of land. The only thing I can find is under the definition of "Real Property" which means among other things "Land located within this state".

The Sales disclosure might be the source of taxation. You filing it may be a part of why property taxes are required. You claim the purchase of a taxable item.

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Re: Obtaining a land patent.

Postby Admin » Tuesday January 14th, 2014 8:18 pm MST

:h: Nberz:
OK; so, this topic has progressed quite a bit while Team Law’s Admin was gone for the holiday season and on our return we reviewed all of the posts and noticed that though KingWm’s expressed belief was correct, we should remind you that your answer was already an elemental part of our posted articles on the Land Patent Sandwich process.
Nberz wrote:Does one need a complete chain of title…do you need it to complete the "sandwich"?
Our instructions for preparing your documents for securing a Land Patent Sandwich from Team Law are found in our Land Patent Sandwich article at least as follows:
In the first bulleted paragraph in that article, Team Law wrote:To secure Team Law’s documentation we do not need the complete Title (abstract, etc.), we only need to see certified proof of the most recent Deeds that grant the Land to you. We need to see a certified copy of your Warranty Deed (if your right to the land was acquired by a Quitclaim Deed we need to see a certified copy of it and of every other transfer document back to a Warranty Deed).
Our Land 101 article also contains similar information.

However, that bulleted paragraph also provides:
Team Law wrote:In any land rights battle, the complete chain of title is necessary to a sound win; so, for our own records, we always secure the entire chain of documents from the patent (the Title itself) to the present; such a chain of title perfects the Title.
Respectively, we always get the “Complete Title” for our own records regarding landownership. Also, throughout this topical thread several terms are used in a way that we believe we should make the following clarifications:
  1. The “Title” to a parcel of Land is the land patent itself;
  2. The “Abstract of Title” is an instrument that contains data that has been abstracted from (that is: ‘taken from the actual landownership records’) the actual transfer documents of record recorded in the Clerk and Recorder’s records; thus, an Abstract of Title is not an actual Title record;
  3. A “Certified Abstract of Title” is the same thing as an “Abstract of Title”; however, such a “Certified” instrument also bears some official researchers certification that it was complete and accurate at the time when it was so certified. Thus, though it is no more a part of an actual landownership Chain of Title than is the uncertified instrument, the party that so certifies such an Abstract guarantees the accuracy and because that certifying party is usually a lawyer or registered Title Company, courts will accept their certification as evidence of Title so long as there is not a better evidence presented in the case;
  4. The “Chain of Title” is the chain of land transfer documents (deeds, etc.) from the land patent itself to the current records that show all of the landowners related to a particular Title to Land; and,
  5. A “Complete Title” is the Land Patent itself (or a certified copy of the same) attached to either original records or certified copies of every transfer documents in the Chain of Title, from the patent to the present.
Now, though those definitions should be common knowledge for every one that works with landownership, until now, we do not recall having ever directly posted them anywhere except in support of our Team Law beneficiaries. Respectively, we hope that this clarification will now be helpful to all of our forum’s readers.

Also, please be aware that as KingWm wrote, the recording (and thus research necessary for reviewing) of landownership records varies from State to State. Further, the most unique records of landownership in the country are in Texas; respectively, research methods that work in Texas are unique to Texas. In virtually all other State’s Clerk and Recorder’s offices (or their equivalent’s), the physical copies of Land records are stored in the County records exclusively with relation to the time of the recording. That means that the records were either taken as physical certified copies of the original records in the order that they were received into the record or their copies were filmed in the exact order in which they were received. Thus, such records can only be searched with relation to the time of recording.

Since many States have introduced the process of replacing (a gigantic mistake with regard to the security and accuracy of the record) those actual physical and photographic records with digital copies, stored in relation to an abstracted database that links to the digital copy, the records that have been thus digitized are now much simpler to review by searching for the data rather than by reviewing the actual record. Respectively, the digital records make it far easier for a given record to get lost simply because a data entry person can transfer or enter data incorrectly; or, someone can purposefully tamper with the digital record for nefarious purposes. Thus, in our opinion, it has now become even more important to secure your own set of Complete Title records that are kept and maintained privately.

Title companies that maintain title records were always a great help to people that wanted to secure that when they acquired land or real estate, the proper lawful transfer of Title was performed from sellers to the buyers. Thus, whenever they were commissioned as, or in relation to, an escrow agent (etc.), to secure a Title in transfer, they went to the Clerk and Recorder’s Office and the respective County Courts and retrieved certified copies of all of the related transfer documents then they would either (according to the terms of their agreement) compile a “Complete Title” document set or generate a Certified Abstract of Title to provide to the real estate Buyer along with the new Warranty Deed that would be generated by them for the Buyer at the close of Escrow. Then the Title company would store a certified copy of that record in their permanent records; which records were stored in relation to the location of the property with indexed records related to their client’s/landowner’s names. Thus, where a search of records at the Clerk and Recorder’s Office can take an incredible amount of time to review all of the records, the search of records at a Title company is completed relatively instantly by simply looking at where the land is located. That and their certification of records is the reason they are able to charge significant fees for their services.

Some of the responses related to Grand Jubilee (49 years) which some Title companies used as an excuse for only keep records old enough to secure Grand Jubilee; however, because an actual land transfer document from a chain of Title can easily prove such short term records inaccurate (especially in situations where fraud is involved—because fraud has no statute of limitation). Thus, because when a Certified Abstract is challenged in court with actual records that prove the Abstract is in error, the Title company suffers the losses incurred by their error. Thus, Title insurance was invented to eliminate such losses. However, Title Insurance guarantees nothing in relation to the actual Title to either land or the property appurtenant to it.

You then entered a post in this topical thread that had nothing to do with this topic; but, because other responded to that topic we will now shift to that matter regarding Corp. U.S.’ corporate nature.

Your offsite link was made to Cornell Law’s record of the code; to which record Team Law has already posted links to on our Online resources page, thus that link was already preapproved and the Forum’s Rule 9 was not violated by your posting of that link. Still, it is good that KingWm pointed that out to you. Our moderators also revised those posts to include links directly to those authorized sources as well as to the The Cardinal Rule of Definitions and other pages that may be helpful to you and our future readers of this topical thread. It may be quite helpful to you to go back and follow those links.

Your final posts were compressed into one and the nature of that final post fit into two distinctive categories each of which are covered in the rules as follows:
  1. The general nature of your final post was one that seems to be asking for advice; Rule 5well covers our policy regarding advice; and,
  2. The nature of your most recent questions are such that a response to the same would require Team Law beneficiary support; and, your previous posts indicate that you have already recognized that Team Law is worthy of your support; thus, Rule 31 covers our Charter’s limitation from providing further support before you are a Team Law beneficiary.
Respectively, we hope this information we were already able to provide is helpful to you. And we look forward to hearing from you as a Team Law beneficiary in the near future.
Be well and tell everybody about Team Law! :t^:
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