RECORD GROUP: County Clerk
RECORD SERIES #: 3200
SERIES: Partitions of Land
DATES: 1762-1960 (bulk 1835-1890)
VOLUME: 1.5 cubic feet and 1 volume
by David Baird of Millstone 1876
- loose papers
- one disbound volume
The partition process, also called a division, began when one of the heirs for the land petitioned either a Supreme Court justice or three justices of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas in the county where the land was located. Since most of the records in the Monmouth County Archives result from the latter, subsequent references will be to the county-level procedure.
The Common Pleas justices then placed a notice in the newspaper that they intended to appoint three impartial Commissioners in six weeks. After notices in a local newspaper such as the Monmouth Democrat, the Commissioners were appointed if there were no objections. The Commissioners then appointed surveyors, who under their supervision made a map of the land showing where the dividing line or lines should be made to make an equitable division among the parties. The lots were divided according to value, not size, as the Commissioners had to take into account such features as improvements, utility for farming, woods, and buildings.
The Commissioners then advertised in the newspaper that they would allocate the lots by ballot in three weeks. At the allotment, the Commissioners set up two ballot boxes. In one were the names of the parties; in the other, the lot numbers. An individual would pick from one box, then the other until the all the lots were assigned. The Common Pleas justices turned over the records pertaining to the partition to the County Clerk, who recorded them in the Division of Real Estate book.
Although the above procedure was usually followed, rarely, instead of partitioning the land, the Commissioners were authorized to sell the land because they could not divide it up equitably. The land was sold and the money was distributed instead. Records of such sales were made and recorded with the partition records. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, some of the proceedings were conducted by Circuit Court, rather than Common Pleas, justices.
Partitions of Land, loose papers, 1762-1960, and one case from 1690, consist of records of partitions of estates of deceased persons, but also containing a few other transactions concerning land, especially annexations by towns.
Types of loose documents include, but are not limited to, notice of application; appointment of commissioners and signed oaths of same; map; field book (notes); Commissioners Report (of partition or sale); clippings of newspaper notices; and list of costs. Some folders contain incomplete records, such as only a map. There is also one folder containing a family tree, ca. 1930, for the Farr family. Many of the cases are recorded in both the book and in the loose papers.
Partitions of Land, Division of Real Estate book, 1835-1903 with index (disbound), is a chronological record of partitions and land sales. It includes transcripts of various documents, including but not limited to, application; orders to nominate Commissioners and to insert notice in newspapers for six consecutive weeks; sworn statement from newspaper editor that notice was made; appointment and oaths of Commissioners; oaths of surveyors; report of surveyors (‘Field Book’), including detailed descriptions of each lot and map(s) showing dividing lines; report of Commissioners; judges’ confirmation that they have inspected the report; and order concerning assignment of costs.
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