Course details

Understanding Title Deeds (503)

Tutor: Susan Moore

Title Deeds, documenting the ownership of land and property, are to be found in almost all record repositories, whether they be from a solicitors collection, a large family estate collection, individual documents from a variety of sources, or part of the National Archives. They can be a real bonus for family and local historians as they can include information that is not found anywhere else, though they can be thought of as difficult to interpret. This course aims to introduce the records in a practical way, to enable researchers to find them, to understand the different types of deeds, and, crucially, to be able to interpret them.

Title Deeds give come in a variety of shapes and sizes, are found in a variety of archives, and range from the relatively straightforward grant of land from one person to another, to the deeds that arise from complicated family trusts. As with so many apparently impenetrable records, there are short cuts and clues and hints to eliciting the information from them. And what information can be found! Family history information can include details of marriages, relationships and the social circle of friends amongst whom people moved. Local history and house history information can include detailed descriptions of land, with names of tenants, acreages, land use, and neighbouring plots of land and houses. The course will concentrate on the practical aspects of locating and understanding deeds rather than on legal history as it relates to transfers of land.

At the end of the course the student will have a knowledge of the type of records to expect, how to find them, and how to interpret to extract all relevant information.

There is a set book for this course, which students are asked to purchase before the course starts: Nat Alcock, Tracing History through Title Deeds: A Guide for Family and Local Historians, Pen & Sword, 2017
Reference will be made to page numbers throughout the course, so students may find that paper rather than digital copies will be preferable.

Lesson Headings:
  • * Introduction to Deeds
  • * Simple deeds
  • * More deeds – entails and marriage settlements
  • * Mortgages and some more obscure deeds

Each lesson contains exercises and activities and a minimum of one hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

This course is part of our Family History Skills and Strategies Advanced programme but can also be taken individually as a standalone course and you may chose whether or not to be assessed. If you are interested in enrolling on our Advanced programme please do not buy the course individually here but see this link for entrance requirements and contact details.

Relevant Countries: England, Wales

Course Length: 4 weeks
Start Date:   2024
Unassessed Cost: £70.00 Start Date Available Soon
Assessed Cost: £88.00 Start Date Available Soon
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