Thursday, October 13, 2011

Update from Salt Lake City

Well, I've been here a week now and thought I'd better post “something” so y'all would know I'm still alive! The days have been full (and fulfilling) and they have gone by quickly. Time flies whether you're having fun or not but seems to go by much quicker when you are enjoying what you are doing!

There haven't been any “breakthroughs” thus far but then I've been doing the “drudge” work, so to speak – gathering information from Deed Books. Yes, I'm digging into deeds once again. I've done some work in deeds “on location” in several counties in several states but it is so much easier and convenient to work on them here. Even though they don't have “everything” they do have much of what I need to look at. Of course, there are “a few” other things that I'll be working on as well.

And now, something to ponder...



The signatures above are for Charles Wiseman (my 2nd great grandfather) as found in Kosciusko County, Indiana Deed Book 57 pages 128 and 129 and recorded on February 27, 1885 (FHL Film 1705383). It is fairly obvious that the signatures are not the same. In fact, the two entries in the deed book are in a different handwriting (see below).

Also, Charles Wiseman resided in Switzerland County (in southern Indiana) when these deeds were executed. Thus, it is my conclusion that neither one of these is the actual signature of Charles Wiseman! Rather they are the interpretation of his signature that appeared on the documents that were sent to the Recorder's Office in Kosciusko County (in northern Indiana).

In other words, the signature is a transcription. So what this does for me is raise suspicions in regards to other “signatures” recorded in Deed Books or other types of records, such as this one for Wilhelm Foster. It's really kind of a bummer when you thought you might have the actual signature of an ancestor...


Kosciusko County, Indiana Deed Book 57 page 128 (FHL Film 1705383).
Note that the writing is different in the two entries.

2 comments:

  1. It has been my understanding and my experience for the deeds that I have found that the copy in the record book is just that, a copy, transcribed by the county clerk or his assistants. I believe that eventually the original went home with the "purchaser", it may have been carried to the courthouse for recording, but, then the purchaser took it with him.

    In my experience, it is pretty easy to figure it out by looking at pages before and after the deed I am seeking. All the handwriting has been the same.

    That is NOT to say that in some courts the deed was not "signed" by the grantor after being copied into the record book. Your signature examples sure are interesting, and may still be the original stuff.

    Think of it this way, and see if you can determine, is the record book a collection of separate pages with writing and then bound together, or is it a book of blank pages bound by a publisher, purchased and then written into. It might be hard to determine this from microfilm, but, easily seen if you have your hands on the original book in the courthouse. Most I have seen are a book of pages bound and purchased as a record book.

    IF the book is purchased as a record book then it would seem that your ancestor's as the grantor would have had to come in person to the courthouse and stood there and signed the book. Not out of the question, just something else to be concerning to us before we claim the signature is true and real.

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  2. I, too, believe that the so-called "signatures" in a deed or will book are transcriptions and not the true signature of the individuals involved. The employees in the offices were responsible for recording the information (including signatures) in the deed books. I have original deeds that were handed down in my family that were signed by the grantor in his own hand (or in the rare instance "His X Mark," when he could not or chose not to write his name). When seeing these instruments in the deed book, the signatures are not the same.

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