Land and Property
There are volumes of records relating to land and property transactions in Pennsylvania.
Recorder of Deeds
Online Land/Deed Records
If you have land/deed records that you would like shown on the Somerset County web-site, please contact April Phillips
Pennsylvania's Land settlements:
In the period before the grant to William Penn, Sweden, the Netherlands, and England established settlements along the Delaware River in what is now Chester County, PA. Land records during this period will be kept in the State Archives of New York and Delaware.
In 1681, William Penn received a charter from King Charles II declaring him absolute owner of the land of what is now Pennsylvania. As such, he had the authority to dispose of the land with little restriction. He recognized claims to the land held by the Native Americans and maintained a policy of purchasing land from them before selling land for settlement. This same policy was mostly adhered to by his descendants. William Penn also purchased the land of what is now Delaware and distributed this with his sons during this same period.
This proprietorship lasted nearly 100 years and produced volumes of paperwork. However, many settlers settled on the land without proper title and this cause disputes with the Indians. The proprietor attempted to solve much of these concerns and tried to obtain rights to the land. The Revolutionary War brought an end to the proprietorship.
With the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, Pennsylvania found itself owner of all the unsold land. The proprietorship process of land distribution continued for many years after the war.
The Title Application Process and Distribution of the Land:
Military Bounty Lands
The state awarded some lands for military service. Certificates of depreciation were issued to Revolutionary war soldiers to supplement the money they received. These certificates were sold or redeemed for land in the Last Purchase treaty area in western Pennsylvania in 1784.
Eligible veterans drew lots for a piece of land and then paid a fee to receive their certificate. Most soldiers sold their certificates rather than settling on the land.
This county is part of the USGenWeb Project, a non-profit genealogical resource web system, and is maintained by April Phillips and Connie Burkett with help and information provided by other volunteers.
Last Revised: August 4, 2009