I’m reaching out to my fellow genealogists for some help with deed language. As you may know from previous blog posts, I’m fairly new to land records. Most of my immediate ancestors were urban folk who rented homes in Chicago, so land records were not a priority for me. But as I continue researching the line that’s been in the United States since colonial times, land records are essential to my research.
I’ve begun my land research in Michigan, where my ancestors initially purchased land, in Oakland County, from the government in the early 1820s. Of the deeds I’ve pulled so far, they contain the standard “boilerplate” information about the transaction. They are then signed by the grantor(s), with witnesses listed. But it seems that the ones where the wife is also a grantor, there is additional language recorded by a Justice of the Peace. This is what I am having a hard time figuring out, what exactly this language means. Following is an example of the language in question, that follows the signatures of the deed:
Territory of Michigan}
Oakland County} ss: Be it remembered that on this seventh day of March A.D. 1831 before the subscriber a Justice of the Peace in and for the county aforesaid Came Robert Parks and Polly his wife to me personally knowing to be the persons within described and who executed the within deed and severally acknowledges that they executed it for the uses and purposes therein mentioned—And the said Polly being by one examined seperate and apart from her husband acknowledges that she executed the within deed freely and voluntarily without any threats fear or compulsion of her said husband or any other person.
The portion in red is the part I don’t fully understand. Why was it necessary to do this, and what exactly does it mean? Any help would be greatly appreciated!