Processioners’ records are another type of record that, while not terribly plentiful, are also underused. Every so many years, these records were updated by men appointed to survey property. They can be useful in determining land ownership over time, but they can also help determine a widow’s share and what the shape of the property was.
If you are searching land records in a PLSS state (township, range, section), then the owners square piece of land can easily be located. If you are researching property in a metes and bounds state (from the old oak tree to the maple tree next to the creek to John Smith’s corner), then processioner records might be very helpful.
Processioners began doing their work during colonial times, but they continued to be kept into the 1800s in some states.
This is a great way to see who the neighbors are, see the shape of the property and sometimes find a natural waterway or geographic marker that will allow you to fix a location on a modern map.
Here is an example of one:
Washington County, Kentucky, 1819
NOTE: Begin below the line, to the left of diagram
Agreeable to Notice we met at the house of Hannah Wilson on the 1st day of February 1819 and from thence proceeded to (measury?) and establish the meets (sic) And and bounds of a 500 Acre Survey which was pattented (sic) to Jacob Myers Also of Joseph Cartwright on pleasant River Watters of the beech fork which is Now claimed by Josiah wilson’s heirs Beginning at A A Sugartree hickory And dogwood on John Hardins line by (Abiaeh Shider?) by Martin Hardin Senr Whose deposition was there and there taken and Runs from thence S27 E 191 poles pattent Call S31 n 27 E 206 poles to B at the (?) of Anderson Jeffries land the corner the (P…) caled (sic) for in the pattent was there and then proven to have been destroyed and in the Room of which we planted a Stone N 77 E about one pole from a white oak in Mr. Pettits pasture South sixty (Nine?) west four hundred and twenty footes come to Martin Hardins (Survey?) line thence then S 27 E 21 1/2 poles with his line to his corner (with?) Red Oaks at D which is Marked with three chops on the North (westwardly?) and three on the South westwardly Side from thence Run S 27 E 61 1/2 poles thence at a Right angle S 63 W 19 1/2 poles by the dirrection (sic) of Wilsons heirs to E a Red oak Marked as A corner tree at which place the Deposition of Martin Hardin Senr was taken thence Run N 51 3/4 E 450 poles to B the Stone (A ?) mentioned.
William M. Beall
Survey enlarged from drawing above
The survey was then entered into the books at a future court session.
To find processioners’ records, check the local county court house to see if they have any surviving records.