I'll do my best to deal with some of your questions, but I hope there
will be additions and corrections to my comments here from experienced
members of this list.
Is it usual for the metes & bounds from old deeds to not make
closure, not to actually end back at the beginning?
In my limited experience with
old descriptions (1800+) in Halifax
County Virginia, most of my plats do not close. Some do, and I can
only guess that not all surveyors were equal. Many later deeds contain
descriptions merely copied from the deeds to previous grantees.
Is it usual for old deed (or any for that manner) to have glaring errors? I've got a
few that obviously have the opposite direction recorded. Either a W instead of E as in
N60E instead of N60W, that sort of thing. And others where part of the equation is left
Actually, since most of the descriptions come from deed records in the
county court, I believe that errors in recording did occur - and
often. Since most grantees walked their boundaries with neighbors if
possible, and many were illiterate, they were no doubt less dependent
upon written descriptions than we are today. I have found errors
similar to those you have described. It is good practice to make a
record of the original description and the changes made for the
purpose of closure.
I have plotted a few parcels which seem to plot okay, they fit together okay, but
they're supposed to reach between two creeks, but they don't even come close to
spanning the distance. I'm probably mistaken on the where the parcels belong or some
other error of my own, but is it possible I'm doing something wrong in my use of the
This is a difficult question because of the number of factors that may
cause this result. And the course of the stream may have changed, due
to interventions of Mother Nature or at times, the Corps of Engineers.
Others on this list with more experience will be better able to
comment on this problem.
Corrections for declination. What source is available to indicate
the declination for a given year. Declination does not stay the same so that noted on
todays topo quads will not be accurate for years past. Even twenty years can make a
difference. Is this just a best guess thing based on how parcels appear on the map or is
it even something that needs to be dealt normally?
If you have not already done so, you may wish to check out the section
on the web site which deals with Declination. Go to
Scroll down to Land Records Reference, click on link to Reference
Scroll to Terms You'll Come Across, click on link to Corrections for
compass declination errors.
Many people do not believe that corrections for declination for early
descriptions in Virginia deeds are significant. The significance of
the correction may depend upon the geographical area.
I hope that others will be able to contribute their experience with
the issues expressed in questions above.