Book of Deeds and Mortgages: Identify Your Ancestor’s Real Property

Book of Deeds and Mortgages: Identify Your Ancestor’s Real Property

Identifying the cadastral lot number of your ancestor's farm based on his listing in a census requires a few steps, which I will demonstrate in this post. I have chosen to base the example on Anders Madsen, farmer in Dreslette Parish (Båg Hundred, Odense County).

1860 Census as the Starting Point

Anders Madsen in the 1860 census of Dreslette Parish

The recorded information suggests that Anders Madsen owned the farm, because he is listed as a gaardmand.1

From 1845 a realregister had to be kept and sorted by cadastral lot number. It was a book kept by the bailiff's office with one page per cadastral lot number. Some offices had already started using this system or a system of a book sorted by owner. If so, they were allowed to continue using the system until a new book had to be taken into use. The time span for these books therefore differs from place to place.

At Sall Data's website, you will find realregistre under Ejendomshistorie (real property history). Having chosen Odense Amt and Båg herred, I can see that the office for Båg Hundred kept one book per parish from 1858. There is a navneregister (an alphabetical index), so we will start looking for Anders Madsen therein. Remember to find the index to the realregister; there may be indexes to other records, as well. Anders Madsen, "Gmd i Dreslette" (Gmd is short for gaardmand) is listed as shown below. Although it has been crossed out, I can see that the index refers to folio 11.2

Anders Madsen in the Index to the Realregister

Information in a Real Property Registry

Many real property registries look quite messy, but if you try to focus on the preprinted headings, it is relatively easy to find the section listing the owners. Each property spans two pages. At the top of the pages is the name of the ejerlav (real property area) and at the top of the right page is the matrikelnummer (cadastral lot number).

In this case I found folio 11, which shows Dreslette Sogn, Dreslette By, lot number 4a.3 Below the lot number is a section called eiendommen (the property), which lists changes to the lot. The lower part of the right side lists the owners in the section named adkomster (titles). The left side lists hæftelser (bonds, mortgages etc.). Today I will focus on the titles.

Dreslette Lot 4a Titles

The columns list entry number, date of the document, date of the publication in court, reference to the book of deeds and mortgages, name of the owner and a short description of the document, and finally remarks. Line two says Anders Madsen and the next two lines show his deeds, the first deed was for lot 4a and the second was for lot 4b. Thus, Anders owned both these lots. The references to the book of deeds and mortgages (17/87 and 17/89) refer to book 17 folio 87 and 89.

The list of titles also shows that the next deed was written on 22 December 1886. Even though that deed gives the title to someone else, it contains information about Anders Madsen, so if he was my ancestor, I would look at that document, as well. However, in this example I will focus on the deed for lot 4a.

Finding the Copy of the Deed

First you need to find the correct skøde- og panteprotokol (book of deeds and mortgages), in this case book 17. They are also cataloged under the record type ejendomshistorie. The list does not contain the book numbers, but knowing the year of publication makes it easy to find book 17, which covers years 1856-1858. The book of deeds and mortgages contains copies of all documents which were publicized in court. Publication could take place years after a deed was made; if so, bear in mind that you need to look for the book covering the year of publication and not the year the document was made. At the bottom of folio 87 verso and continuing at folio 88 recto, I found the copy of Anders' deed.4

Copy of Anders Madsen's Deed from 1856

The first part of the deed translates as follows:

Deed. Number 762. We Frederik the Seventh etc. etc. (sounding the same way as deed number 256) as we by this deed sell to Anders Madsen the farm previously his mother Mads Hansen's widow's copyhold farm at cadastral lot number 4a in Dreslette Town and Parish under Frederiksgave Manor, as well as the land belonging to the farm.

So not only have we found the lot number, but we have also been given information about his parents: His father was Mads Hansen, who had died by then; his mother was still alive and she had held a copyhold lease contract for the farm.

More Types of Real Property Records

Over the coming days I will look at other types of real property records and I will demonstrate how to find today's address from the lot number.


Source references:

  1. Dreslette Sogn, Båg Herred, Odense Amt, Folketælling 1860, folio 26 recto, Anders Madsen head; digital images, Sall Data ( : accessed 1 April 2019).
  2. Båg Herred, Odense Amt, Navneregister til realregister, Dreslette Sogn, 1858-1950, unpaginated, M, "Madsen Anders, Gmd i Dreslette;" digital images, Sall Data, "Navneregister til realregister og Tillæg I-VI til realreg. Dreslette sogn, 1858 - 1950" ( : accessed 1 April 2019).
  3. Båg Herred, Odense Amt, Realregister, Dreslette Sogn, 1858, folio 11, Dreslette By, Matrikelnummer 4a; digital images, Sall Data, "Realregister til skøde- og panteprotokol Dreslette sogn, 1858" ( : accessed 1 April 2019).
  4. Båg Herred, Odense Amt, Skøde- og panteprotokol, 1856-1858, folio 87 verso to 88 recto, skøde [deed] 762; digital images, Sall Data, "Skøde- og panteprotokol - Båg hrd. og Assens ret, 1856-1858" ( : accessed 1 April 2019).
  5. The image at the top of the post: Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels. Free to use.