Where They Lived
The importance of the location of a subject's land is usually underestimated. Mapping or plotting the location gives a perspective of what migration routes were available—a telltale sign of where they came from. The parcel's location provides the researcher a perspective of what migration routes families took when relocating; the limitations of travel that delineated whom they did business with, how they got crops to market, who their children might marry, and so common—why deeds and marriage license returns failed to get filed. The type of land may answer questions about why towns (with their residents) moved or why a farmer failed in his efforts.
Below are sample exhibits from a report whose subject lived in "Irish Town" in Chillisquaque Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. Platting the land helped determine who the men and women were at the subjects "vendue" or estate sale; who migrated with the family; and why certain individuals were appointed guardians when the subject died. No grantor or grantee deeds were ever filed for this land. The owner was a widower raising five children. The courthouse was not the twenty-minute drive of today, but a trip down the Susquehanna River.