Filling In The Blanks: Part Four

Continuing my Edna Henry and family project, I am getting ready to start a Land Records search on 3030 Westfield Avenue, the property that William Henry owned in 1930 and his daughter Edna Henry owned in 1940, based on the U.S. Federal census for those years.
Since the property still exists I am going to go to the Maryland Real Property Data Search site to get the Deed Number so I can (hopefully) trace the property back to the Henrys.  Depending on how many times this property has changed hands, I may have to look at several deeds.
If you have never used this method of research before it can be frustrating and intimidating at first.  Stick with it!  Once you have some positive results you will love it.
Also, there are other ways to research a property.  This is just one way.

OK, so off to http://sdat.resiusa.org/RealProperty/Pages/default.aspx.  This site is public information and free (yay, I love free!!).
In the search area I will search in Baltimore City by Street Address.

Maryland Real Property Data Search

On the next screen I will plug in the street number and name.
Note the highlighted portion.

Maryland Real Property Data Search

I am not going to post entire screen shots of the next part because it will provide information on living persons.
Once I hit ‘Next’ the property information appears.
What we want is in the upper right area where it says Deed Reference:

The deed reference is 12136/00368.  12136 is the Liber (Book) and 00368 is the Folio (Page).
Also, always take note of dates.  Many times, plugging in a deed reference will generate several results.  This is because deed numbers are reused, but prefaced by the court clerk’s initials.  Knowing the date will help grab the correct deed.  The date for this deed is 2009.
For a little more information on researching land records, this article from the Baltimore Sun may help explain the basics. 
Armed with that deed reference we can start the real search.

The Maryland State Archives provides land records on mdlandrec.net.
To access the records you do need to apply for an account, but it is free.  At the workshop in May it was mentioned that certain email domains (the only one I remember is AOL) were having issues with the account process.  Since I already had an account at that point I really didn’t pay close attention…sorry.
Also, I would suggest you look through the HELP! link before getting started.  I have used this site for several years so I am fairly familiar with navigating my way around.
Once logged in the site looks a little, well…barren.
I am going to start by selecting Baltimore City in the upper left.

mdlandrec.net

Since I have the deed reference I am going to plug that in the search.
Otherwise I would search the indexes by location and year (much more tedious).

Deed reference search

Again, no full screen shots here, living people.  Also note that in this case the deed reference did not present multiple results.
There are a few items of interest in this deed.

SOURCE – BALTIMORE CITY CIRCUIT COURT (Land Records) FMC 12136, p. 0368, MSA_ce164_21289. Date available 11/03/2009. Printed 12/21/2014

The first paragraph above refers to a plat (drawing of the subdivision).  If I want I can go to plats.net (free!) and put in the plat number and get an image of the plat.
The next paragraph in this deed refers to Ground Rent.
In layman’s terms, ground rent is when one person owns the land and leases it to the person who owns the real property (house) on the land.  Baltimore City has a huge amount of properties that have ground rent.  You can read more about ground rent here.
Although I am not interested in the ground rent information I will follow those references.  There may be information that does mot appear in the actual deed.  Basically, READ EVERYTHING!
The last part refers to the deed.  There are different types of deeds, I won’t go into that.  But essentially, this is the reference we need to go back further.  FMC 648/0345 in 2000.
Remember, FMC are the clerk’s initials.

Along the yellow menu bar is the option to JUMP TO A NEW VOLUME.  This allows me to plug in another deed reference.
If I just plug in the Book (648) and Page (0345) numbers I will get 4 results.
This is where I need to take note of the date reference of 2000 or the clerk initials of FMC to select the correct record.

Result by Book and Page

However, if I plug in the Clerk (FMC), Book (648) and Page (0345) I will be taken directly to the record.
I repeat this process back through the paperwork, deeds, ground rent information, mortgages etc.
I finally get to a mortgage release for Edna B. Henry on 3 May 1940 (no mention of her parents) that has a reference to a mortgage release on 7 Jun 1939 (MLP 5927/187) for Florence E. Henry widow and Edna B. Henry.
So, Florence Henry was a widow on 7 Jun 1939.  This doesn’t mean William died on this date, but he was dead by this date.

SOURCE – BALTIMORE CITY SUPERIOR COURT (Land Records) MLP 5927, p. 0187, MSA_CE168_5935. Date available 02/10/2005. Printed 12/21/2014

Right below that mortgage release (on the same page) is another entry for mortgage on 7 Jun 1939 in the name of Edna B. Henry.

SOURCE – BALTIMORE CITY SUPERIOR COURT (Land Records) MLP 5927, p. 0187, MSA_CE168_5935. Date available 02/10/2005. Printed 12/21/2014

So basically a mortgage from one bank was paid off and another mortgage was obtained.
Interesting to note that this mortgage only lists Edna, no mention of Florence although it is the same day as the other mortgage record.  The mortgage record continues on the next page.

“parcel of ground known as” blah blah blah (deeds are really boring), “recorded in the land records” blah blah blah “Edna B Henry subject to the payment of” blah blah blah…”William R Henry having died on or about May 5 1937 and the said Florence E Henry having died on or about February 23 1939″, blah blah WHAT?!?!?!  Back up!  Yup, there it is.

SOURCE – BALTIMORE CITY SUPERIOR COURT (Land Records) MLP 5927, p. 0188, MSA_CE168_5935. Date available 02/10/2005. Printed 12/21/2014

Aren’t land records cool???
Searching back further there was another record that listed William’s death date (SCL 5762/564) and I learned that 3030 Westfield Avenue was purchased by the Henrys on 7 Dec 1920 by William, Florence and Edna.
As I searched the land records I downloaded PDF copies and filed them to be transcribed and entered into my database.  Normally I would do this as I search but because I wanted to created these posts “live” I couldn’t transcribe at the same time.
Oh, one other cool thing about the land records, source information is automatically printed on the left side of the pages in RED.  Sometimes it is a little hard to read depending on the page image but it is there.

I’ve looked at a lot of records but it did not take much time since I had reference numbers.
So, what questions have the land records answered? 

  • William R. Henry died on (or about) 5 May 1937
  • Florence E. Henry died on (or about) 23 Feb 1939

What questions do I have?

  • What is up with Edna’s husband (or a lack of a husband)?

If she got married in 1936 why is she still using the name “Henry”.  If it were 2014 I would not be at all surprised at a woman keeping her maiden name, but in the 1930s (and at least until the 1940 census in April)?  Maybe the Edna B. Henry I found in the Howard County marriage index wasn’t her, so the SSDI and Florida Death index entries aren’t for her either?

  • When did the house at 3030 Westfield Avenue get sold?

I never came across a land record for Edna selling 3030 Westfield Avenue.  I need to follow up on that, I may have missed something.

So now that I have potential death dates for William and Florence (I don’t want to rely on just information in the land records), searches of the Baltimore Sun and the Maryland State Archives death indexes are in order.

Let me say that I was a bit surprised when I found death dates for both Florence and William!
Remember that I chose this method of searching because the property appeared to stay in the family after William and Edna disappeared from the household (1940 census) AND the property still exists.  I thought there was a possibility I could get some good information and (for once) my hunch proved correct.  I said before how I love free.  I also I love LUCK!

OK, the dogs won’t walk themselves and it is football day.  So although it is so hard to stop, especially after finding some new information, those searches will have to wait.

2 thoughts on “Filling In The Blanks: Part Four”

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