We’ve changed a few names and details to make the example slightly easier to follow.

Henry and Melinda Smith owned a one hundred acre piece of property in Ohio in the 1840s. Their dates of death are not known and there is no probate file for either of them, but there are three quit claim deeds executed to their son in the 1850s that apparently transfer ownership in their one hundred acres to him. It’s the same property that Henry purchases in the 1820s.

Two of the deeds are drawn up in March of 1852. Both of them are signed by a husband and wife and quit claim their interest in the property Henry purchased in the 1820s. The description matches perfectly. One couple lived in Ohio at the time and the other lived in Illinois. There is one more deed quitclaiming property to the son, but it’s drawn up in 1859. This deed is not a husband and wife couple, but a number of individuals with the same last name all quitclaiming the same property that the two couples did in 1852 to the same man.

My working theory is that the third deed was executed by the children (or heirs) of another sister of the two women listed in the first deeds, another daughter of Henry and Melinda. A potential reason for the nine year delay is to allow all of those heirs to arrive at the age of majority so that they can legally execute a deed in their own right without a guardian being appointed.

There are several reasons a family may wait to finally settle an inheritance or an estate. One reason is waiting until all the heirs reach the age of majority. That allows the family to handle the situation without having to have a guardian appointed for any minor heirs.

Of course, this is speculation and other records should be referenced in order to see if additional information is consistent with this working theory.

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