Scanning v. photocopying - the Tract Index

The joke is on me. I've been scanning my genealogy papers to PDF and JPG formats in preparation for a research trip to Kansas. I woke last night, remembering that I hadn't seen an important set of photocopied tract indices of recorded Osborne County deeds. I actually reached a pad and wrote a note to remind me for today's work.

After searching a few hours for them—fruitless—I thought, Hey, you were writing a Wikipedia post about this resource. I remember now that I had to use Photoshop to piece four pages into one. Maybe you scanned at least a few of the pages.

Well, they were all scanned. Waiting for me to look in the right place. And one set had been sewn together for that Wikipedia entry.

Tract index of section 27 of town 8 south, range 11 west of the principal meridian, Bloom township, Osborne county, Kansas

What is a tract index?

This tract index, a somewhat dynamic historical record, has dates that range from 1890.05.21 to 1903.09.29. The tract index clarifies that
  1. The Sheriff owned the land title to the northwest quarter section (NW/4) and granted it to the Mutual Life Ins Co on 1891.02.03 via a Sheriff's Deed (a type of Quitclaim Deed).
  2. Michigan Mutual Life Ins Co transferred the title to Peter Simeon on 1898.0214 via a Warranty Deed.
  3. Peter Simeon and his wife transferred title to Michigan Mutual Life Ins Co on 1898.02.14 via a Mortgage.
  4. Michigan Mutual Life Ins Co transferred the title to Peter Simeon on 1903.09.29 in Satisfaction of the mortgage.

Atlas page, Bloom township,
Osborne county, Kansas, 1900

For comparison, here is an atlas page (sometimes called a plat map) that includes the section as part of Bloom township, published in 1900. Click on the image to see it enlarged. As a static document, it records the current ownership prior to publication. Section 27 is in the middle of the map, below the middle indicated plateau. The atlas shows that Peter Simeon is the sole owner of NW/4.

Correlation between the tract index and the atlas is made a bit difficult by the pagination of the tract index, which shows the NW/4 at the top of the right-hand page. This is not always the case, so note carefully whether the tract index has such a reversal.

Other owners mentioned in the tract index are John Brummer, Crippen Lawrence, Sullivan Barton, John Endres, Theodore Arens, Ignatz Hake, F.M. Owens, William O. Harrison, and A. Anderson. Only Peter Simeon and John Brummer are named on the atlas section.


Once everything is scanned to JPG or PDF format, I'll no longer have an urge to page through binders, trying to find the item I need. So far, that's true just for my Kansas materials. I'm not sure what is next, but the longest shelf now is marked "DEU" for the Germany materials.

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