Map reading for Genealogists, When North isn’t

Understanding terminology found in deeds, patents, and surveys. Locating old properties on new maps.

Deeds, Patents and Surveys all tell a different story. It stands to reason that they all use a different language. Understanding the terminology used in each is an absolute must if you chose to reference your ancestors property on a map or visit it in person on the ground.


In this presentation I will discuss:


Deeds, Patents, Surveys: the differences


Boilerplate language: an overview of the basics


Legal land descriptions: Rectangular Survey vs Metes and Bounds


Cardinal direction vs survey direction: a look at declination (three different north angles) and how directions are written from compass direction.


Placing land descriptions and surveys on modern maps


 Repositories: Where to find  property descriptions and surveys