Property records are a rich, underused, source for family history, particularly before the mid-nineteenth century. Before the 1870s men owned their wives’ property, which was typically inherited by men.
Even when women are apparently absent, the records contain subtle evidence of family relationships.
The most informative property records often feature women because of married women’s rights via dower and marriage settlements, trusts, and inheritance by single women and widows.
Using examples from the manorial court, I explain how to interpret property records and extract hidden family history information from them.