Common Errors in Deed Descriptions
If you are abstracting deeds from a Deed Book, several kinds of errors can be expected.
The Deed Book contains the clerk's hand copies of the actual deeds or copies of information
taken off the surveyor's plat drawing. The copy could easily have several kinds of
Mistakes in deed descriptions will make themselves evident when you draw them out.
The most common error is that the plot "fails to close", meaning that the last line of
the survey does not return to the point of beginning. Generally, faulty deeds have
only a single error, so with practice you can learn how to correct the deed description.
In rough order of popularity:
- Declination (compass) errors - Error caused by the use of a magnetic compass to
locate true north. More information about declination errors is available.
- Confusion of digits - N57E becomes N37E or vice versa. The digits 6 and 0
were confused, 5 and 3 were confused, and occasionally 1 and 4 were confused.
- Reversal of direction - N57E becomes S57W.
- Missing legs - As you will see while abstracting, it's easy to skip a line description,
or to forget either the heading or distance. This was particularly common with respect to the last, or "closing"
line of the plot.
- Mirror of direction - N57E becomes N57W.
- Reversal of digits - N57E becomes N75E.
- Missing lines - Sometimes a whole line of the original deed was not copied. One or more
"legs" could be skipped.
- Slipped descriptions - Corner descriptions are "off by one".
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