Sunday, October 10, 2010

Answers to Yesterday's Skill Challenge

Yesterday I challenged readers to answer 10 questions about an 18th century deed.  If you haven't done it yet read that post first.

The challenge may have been easy for very experienced researchers but might have been a bit of a challenge for someone who has never seen an old deed before.  Tomorrow I will post a full transcription of the deed.

Here are the answers to yesterday's questions:
1.Who is selling the property? The seller of the property is Ichabod Seaver. 

2. Who is buying the property? The buyer of the property is Tisdale Puffer. 

3. Who is the grantee?  The grantee is the person buying the property.  In this case, the grantee is Tisdale Puffer

4. Who is the grantor?  The grantor is the legal term for the person selling the property.  Ichabod Seaver is the grantor on this deed.

The house which Ichabod Seaver sold to Tisdale Puffer in 1795
5. Where is the property located (town, county, state)?  The property is located in Medway, Norfolk County, Massachusetts.

6. Explain the profession of the buyer and seller in modern terms.  Both Ichabod and Tisdale are cordwainers.  The modern term for a cordwainer is a shoemaker.

7. About how many acres does the property contain?  The property contains 14 acres "more or less."

8. How much did the property sell for? The property sold for "one hundred pounds lawful money."

9. Is the house in the East or West part of town? The house is on "a certain tract of improved land lying in the East Parrish in Medway."

10. Bonus: What is Ichabod's wife's name? Ichabod Seaver's wife is named Rebecca spelled in various different ways in the document

So how did you on the skill test?  Let me know in the comment field


  1. I got 100% but the handwriting was not too bad to decipher in this document. I've seen worse, and that really hampers picking out the important details.

  2. I couldn't make out "Tisdale". I was ok with everything else. I have a question... is there some odd shorthand being used to write out "aforesaid"?

  3. The aforesaid appears like this "aforesd". I can't replicate it exactly. The "d" is a raised d with a line under it. During the 18th century it was very common to abbreviate names and words. This is an example of that abbreviation. You see this sort of thing on gravestones of the times. For more examples that will be clearer to see visit

    The name Tisdale is very sloppy. Sometimes you need to view a few examples of the same word to decipher it. Here's an old handwriting chart that shows the "T" written the same way as in the name Tisdale.

    I hope this helps.