Deed Books & Land Records Protection

While towns, Cities and Counties hold birth, death and marriage records, the true measure of the importance of the Town and the Town Clerk resides in the Deed books which contain the deeds for all properties located with their jurisdiction. A deed is the conveyance of reality. It legally transfers the title of Realty from one to another. For the first land transfer a warrant needed to be issued in order to have a survey done. Truly, chaos would result without the knowledge and authenticity provided by the records in the recordkeeper known as the Town Hall and City and County Clerk in each municipality.

In many cases the deed will list the previous owner and may reference their deed as well as adjudications, articles of separation, marriage contracts, mortgages, ore leases, mineral rights, power of attorneys, releases, right of ways and soldiers discharges.

Deeds are also a valuable historical and genealogy research tool in addition to providing legal records for transferring land or property from one individual to another; and they are most widely used of the U.S. land records. These deeds are also a very reliable method to track ancestors when other records are unavailable and they provide information on the family members, social status, occupation and inheritance records through the generations. Early land deeds were extremely detailed and predate most other record sources and this makes these early land records of great importance as time marches on, as future land owners can rely on the history contained in this Town Hall and their Deed Books to authenticate their title.

Deed books contain records of different methods of title conveyance. It could be a simple sale completed with a deed of sale (indenture) and most typically is land but could include a household or household property, livestock or other items. In some cases, they represent “Strawman” sales where a trusted intermediary is used to modify a deed in some way. Deed books also include Property Distribution where the Deed represents a gift of property and may use terms like “for love and affection” or they may transfer the property for “One Dollar and other consideration” to effect the transfer and in some cases they include terms that accompany the transfer. Mortgage Sales are also recorded in Deed Books and may include terms in which certain payments or consideration must be made or the property reverts to the original owner if the payments are not made in a timely fashion as directed by the Mortgage. Over a period of many years, the borrower repays the loan, plus interest, until he/she eventually owns the property free and clear. The Mortgage; meaning “death pledge”, and refers to the pledge ending (dying) when either the obligation is fulfilled or the property is taken through foreclosure.

Title companies would be helpless without these Deed Books and Land Records to create a clear and clean title for each piece of real estate in a Town or County. Town clerks have carried on the heritage of protecting the records held in their vault since the beginning of our nation. They protect the records from a myriad of threats: Fire, flooding, mold, mildew and “slow-burn” and other effects of improper environmental control; as well as pests such as termites, mice and so on. In some cases, these records must be reconditioned to ensure their survival for future generations.

The Lyme Town Hall collection of records is unique in that it also includes Grant Books which have their lineage traced back to the Doomsday Books in England which represent the most accurate census of population, livestock, real estate and other property existing at that time. Over time these books faded from usage in Towns but Lyme has a collection of Grant Books that show a view of early American settlers.

Lyme is truly a representation of government of the people, by the people and for the people over its long history.

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