We all bring our personal life with us to our genealogy research. That can impact how we approach our research, the information we know about our family, and the records with which we are familiar because of experiences we had before we ever started genealogy. What matters is a willingness to learn, grow, and admit when we do not know something.
The 1875 “Certificate of Purchase” issued to Conrad Haase as the plaintiff was one of those things I was not entirely certain about when I located it in the land records of Hancock County, Illinois. The item was found while searching for Conrad in the grantee’s index to land records. I was trying to determine when and where he had purchased property in Hancock County and make certain I had not overlooked any records.
Turns out that I had.
Years ago when I initially researched Conrad, I had focused on the earlier part of his life–that part when he was married to my ancestor Barbara Haase. Barbara and Conrad had lived in the general area of Tioga, Illinois, roughly during the 1860s and 1870s, while they were married. It’s how her daughter, Franciska, met her husband. In was in the 1870s that the Haases divorced with Barbara moving to Warsaw and Conrad moving to the northern part of the county and settling near Nauvoo. It’s probably been thirty years since I’ve really looked at Conrad. Initially, I did little followup on him after he and Barbara divorced. After all, he wasn’t an “ancestor” and I had found the deeds and other land records for when they owned property near Tioga. That’s all I needed. That was a mistake, but I knew much less about research then than I do now.
So I decided to try and locate more information on Conrad after his divorce from Barbara. Part of that research was documenting the his land ownership in the northern part of the county–where Nauvoo is located.
One index entry for Conrad in the grantee’s index to land records was for a purchase of property in 1875. The item was filed with the land record, but it was not a warrantee deed, quit claim, deed, or other item I was used to finding. It was in a volume titled “Certificate of Purchase.”
One mistake would have been to not include the information about the volume from which the record was obtained. As a matter of practice, I always include the cover of the record book so that I get the title correct. That’s always advised. It is imperative when you are uncertain what you are looking at.
A little searching revealed that this certificate of purchase, signed by the Master in Chancery, was issued because Conrad Haase had paid the back taxes on the real estate referenced in the deed. That is what a “certificate of purchase” was referring to at that point in time. It’s one of those things that a researcher may not initially know what it is for if one has not had any experience with them in their pre-genealogy life.
Now there are just several questions:
- Where is the property located? I can look at county maps or plat books to determine that.
- How did it leave Conrad’s possession? I need to see if it is mentioned specifically in his will or if there is a land document indicating who the subsequent owner was.
- Who is Ida Haase–more appropriately, “Who was Ida Haase?” The reference to her estate as the defendant suggests that she was deceased (or very possibly incompetent) at the time this document was drawn up. There are no death records in Illinois in 1875, but there could be a probate for Ida, a record of the court action that resulted in this certificate (the case number is mentioned), and land records for how she obtained the property.
- Is there a connection between Ida Haase and Conrad Haase?
One questions from a certificate of purchase.