There may be multiple issues at play here. However, without the legal
description you are working with, it is difficult to give you a conclusive
answer. In general, it is not practical to try and match DeedMapper acreage
to the recorded acreage of old surveys.
To begin, it sounds like you have two lines with undefinable bearings: "back
to the beginning" and "meanders of the Potomac River." In DeedMapper, you
must define the distance and bearing for all but one side of a property.
Also, DeedMapper doesn't actually following the meanders, it just draws a
straight line from one point to another. I have one example of a meander
that follows three dramatic curves in a river, but the DeedMapper drawing
shows a line cutting off the humps.
Second, as for the acreage estimate differences in DeedMapper between 312.1
and 421.7, that is something you can ignore. DM is just calculating based on
the information it is given: garbage in, garbage out.
Finally, the extra 46.7 acres is also not something you should worry about,
for a variety of reasons. Surveyors back then were generally not very
accurate -- some because of their education and instruments and some because
of their drinking problems. Today we have surveying errors down to fractions
of an inch, but back then surveyors routinely had compasses that sent them
off track by a number of degrees. The Potomac meanders probably make a
significant impact on the calculation as well, considering that DeedMapper
is not accounting for them and the original surveyor probably just
guesstimated. Back then it was also common for county surveyors to "add"
acreage to a plat, kind of like a baker's dozen, so that they weren't
accused of shorting the land's original grantee.
You may find that as a property is sold repeatedly, and resurveyed, that the
distances, bearings, and acreage are revised. This is OK. The purpose of a
deed is to make an attempt to describe the situation on the ground, but
language usually fails us. You can take multiple surveys of the same land
and figure out an average, or choose the one that best describes the plot as
you know it to be.
If you are attempting to place more than one plot, focus more on matching
the shapes than on matching the acreage. After you do a few, you'll notice
that only a small number are really close - the majority will be off by a
pretty significant number of acres.
Hope this helps,
Paul K. Graham
From: L. J. Masters [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, January 10, 2005 7:14 PM
Subject: [DMU] New User of Deed Mapper
Goal:To place individual land purchased through 1759
within the boundaries of the 1737 Prince Georges Land
Patent, Sky Thorn (aka Skie Thorn and variant spellings)