Indentures and other land transactions registered with the Registry of Deeds ca 1889-present
In 2016, I spent several days reviewing the Volumes of the regular series of registers at the Registry of Deeds in St. John’s. These Volumes cover a period from approximately 1888 to the present time. The starting date is somewhat different from one district to another because the Southern, Central and Northern District Courts did not all wrap up their activities at exactly the same time. Most recent documents since 1982 are now scanned and therefore not actually found in these printed volumes.
I checked these ROD records only for records pertinent to my paternal ancestry (Morrys, Carters, Windsors, etc.) and maternal ancestry (initially only the Wheeler line). I had already scoured the Southern District Court records for entries pertinent to my paternal ancestry but, since many of the family gradually moved to St. John’s and nearby areas, there was a good chance that I would find entries of interest in that system as well. Similarly I had checked the volumes of the Central District Court in 2016 for anything pertaining to the Wheelers of Torbay Road and found half a dozen entries of interest up to 1887 but knew that there would be more after that date in the regular series of ROD registers.
In the course of my visits to the Registry of Deeds, I noted down from the indexes of these volumes any entries that might be of interest to my paternal and maternal lineage. I only made copies of a small number of these documents using the self-serve photocopy machine, or in some instances camera or hand held digitiser (both of which are forbidden in the Registry for no explicable reason). The ones copied are those of greatest interest to the family history. The others noted may be copied later on as time permits.
Apparently there is a plan afoot to have all of these older documents scanned professionally so that they can be accessed by computer, as is the case for modern land registers already. I have only obtained one officially scanned copy of such a document from Steve Barnable at the Lands Directorate and it is head and shoulders better than a photocopy or even my own non-professional scans, so the day when all of these have been rendered in this fashion cannot come too soon for researchers and those concerned about the preservation of these historical documents.
In total, I have made copies of 16 documents dating from 1893 to 1945 from all the Volumes of the Registry of Deeds of pertinence to Wheelers and Bishops likely to be of my lineage (there are many other documents pertaining to unrelated Wheelers). I have also copied 22 documents pertaining to my paternal line dating from 1828 to 1970. The reason that there are documents in these Registers predating the time at which the Registers themselves began to be the repository of all land transactions in Newfoundland is because, in some instances, the original deed or indenture was never recorded at the time it was written and remained unrecorded until some challenge necessitated bringing the original documents into the Registry office to be recorded, as a means of fending off spurious claims as to land ownership.
Documents photocopied or scanned at the Registry of Deeds in St. John’s in 2016
The list that follows is a short form index of all documents at the Registry of Deeds in the regular Volumes of the Registry that I have copied and that are available in PDF form. I will transcribe all of these and make them into MS Word files as time allows.
The entries indicate the source (ROD Volume), the pages (referred to as Folios) on which those documents appear in the Volume, the names of the principals involved, and the date in the form dd-mm-yyyy. In many cases there are several dates on each document as it passed through various stages of being prepared, registered and approved by the court. The date given is therefore approximate. The names shown are as they appear in the document in question, though I have abbreviated some longer names by using initials. In many cases the spelling of names in the index and sometimes in the document itself is incorrect as we know it.
Note that I have ordered the documents by Volume and Folio regardless of whether they pertain to my paternal or maternal line. Almost all documents occupied more than one page (Fol) but in a very few instances they took up only a single page and, in those cases, FOL will be followed by a single page number.
Finally, I can only apologise for the poor quality of some of these copies. I did the best that I could considering the primitive copying conditions and rules that presently exist at the Registry of Deeds. The transcripts, when I make them, will reflect the poor quality of the photocopies in some instances, with gaps or question marks where words were either cut off or undecipherable.