On his TransylvanianDutch blog, John Newmark defines an amanuensis as “a person employed to write out what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.” For more information about this daily blogging prompt, see John’s post Amanuensis – Why?.
I have amassed quite a collection of scans of handwritten documents related to my ancestors—primarily marriage records, deeds, and wills. As I have been transcribing these documents, it occurred to me that most of these documents were not actually written by my ancestors, but rather dictated to someone else, and then transcribed by a clerk into official records.
This morning I decided that I would transcribe some Spurlock deeds; the first image I pulled up contained two deeds to which M.D.L. Spurlock was a party. M.D.L. was my great-granduncle, second son of Ransom Spurlock, my 2nd great-grandfather. In fact all three of the deeds recorded on that one page were for the same piece of property which was described as "The North East Quarter of the North West Quarter of Section Eighteen 18, in Township Nineteen 19 Range 5 Five West, containing Forty Acres more or less." Here is the image of Book L, Page 319, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, Conveyance Records:
Source: Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, Conveyance Records, L: 319; FHL microfilm 265,982.
The first full transaction on the page is the deed by which 40 acres of land is conveyed by M.D.L. Spurlock to George Haburn in August 1875:
The third deed on the page is one in which George Haburn sold the 40 acres he purchased from M.D.L. Spurlock to Henry Nash Thompson in July 1876! I didn't copy the next page from the record book, but I suspect that there may be have been some additional documents recorded all related to this same piece of property. It appears that none of the earlier transactions had been recorded and all were being done at the same time to show that the last person selling it had clear title.
© 2012 Denise Spurlock