Saturday, March 29, 2014

New Hampshire deeds

Awhile back, I came across a site, nhdeeds.com,  where you can access property records for New Hampshire by county.

The three counties relevant to my own research are Rockingham, Cheshire, and Merrimack-- Rockingham being the most relevant, as virtually all of my New Hampshire ancestors resided in that county.

Getting the deeds is unfortunately not free, and for Rockingham, it's needlessly difficult.

For Rockingham, firstly, they use a Java applet, so you have to have that downloaded and enabled. A search box pops up, and you enter the name of the person you're trying to find a deed/record for-- and you have to specify "grantor" or "grantee" in a drop-down menu above the name field.

Once it brings up a list of relevant people, with the book and page numbers, you can select the one you want to view with "view document." You can view the watermarked image of the deed, but you cannot save it or print it.

You can only save and print the image yourself if you create an account and pay a $100 "set-up fee."

I frankly can't think of anyone who would pay $100 just to be able to print images of deeds, unless they are in some business that requires them to obtain copies of deeds regularly.

The annoying thing is that you otherwise have to send for copies by mail ($1 dollar per page plus postage based on number of pages-- you do not send a self-addressed envelope).

Merrimack County's site uses an easier and more modern system-- you can purchase and download copies of deeds instantly. The drawbacks: instead of $1 per deed, it's $4 (unless you get a monthly subscription, in which case the price is $2). Also, you can't even see an image of the deed until you buy it, so you may be buying a deed image that doesn't even pertain to the correct person-- especially if it's a common name.

I was able to send away for copies of deeds pertaining to my great-grandfather and his father from Rockingham County, and just now I downloaded a couple of deeds I found involving a 3rd great-grandfather who removed to Concord.

Property information plus historical maps plus Google Earth equals serious genealogical awesomeness. Just saying.