The property ledger is the most technical and distinctive of the entire series of real estate records, and one of the most important. It records all the details of every piece of property in which the concern is interested. In other lines of business there is no record with which the property ledger may compare, unless perhaps a perpetual inventory; but real estate is a less liquid asset than merchandise, and the items of a property ledger have a value far more permanent than the items of a mercantile inventory. Particulars regarding merchandise can usually be gathered from filed invoices, whereas the corresponding information regarding real estate is more varied and technical, and is more difficult to obtain as it must be drawn from a variety of records. The property ledger will be found equally useful in other lines of business when large tracts of land are held.

Column

Purpose of Column

Width

Inches

1

For description (By metes and bounds or by forties)..........................

67/8

2

Section..................................

7/l6

3

Township..................................

7/16

4

Range.............................................................

7/l6

5

Whence Derived

Deed No...........................

1/2

6

Date of Deed.......................

3/4

7

Grantor.......................

1 1/2

8

Recorded

Book...........................

1/2

9

Page...................

1/2

10

Abstract No..............................................................

11/16

11

Previous Transfers

Instrument...............................

3/4

12

From..............................

1 1/2

13

To ...............................

1 1/2

14

Recorded

Book............................

1/2

15

Page...........................

1/2

16

Value

Valuers..................................

1

17

Date..................................

3/4

18

Amount...........................................

1

19

Cost....................................................................................

1

20

Encumbrances

Nature ...................................

1

21

Mortgage No............................

1/2

22

Amount........................

1

23

State and County Taxes

[Year.............................

1/2

24

Valuation.............................

1

25

Amount of Taxes..........................

1

26

Date Paid.............................

3/4

27

Receipt No....................................

5/8

28

Charges

Date.......................................

3/4

29

Purpose...........................................

1 5/8

30,

Amount........................................

1

31

Disposition

[Date........................................

3/4

32

To .................................................

1 1/2

33.

Sales Record......................................

3/4

34

Remarks.............................................................................

6

Form 20. Property Record or Tract Book (table showing the nature and width of columns).

Form 21. (a) Property Ledger (face)

Form 21. (a) Property Ledger (face).

Form 21. (b) Property Ledger (back)

Form 21. (b) Property Ledger (back).

Owing to the many purposes which a property ledger serves, it is difficult to devise a single form which will in all cases yield the best results. Several forms are therefore given, which, besides meeting the requirements of the special cases for which they were designed, will suggest forms suitable under other conditions. The problem is to provide a record which is convenient for reference and which exhibits clearly all the essential facts.

Forms 20 and 21 illustrate respectively the bound volume and the loose-leaf book. Experience has demonstrated the great superiority of the loose-leaf form. It is more convenient in size, and provides for indefinite expansion by the insertion of additional leaves wherever they may be required. On account of this elasticity it has nearly displaced the bound book.

Form 20, the bound volume, can be used to best advantage in cases where no new land is to be acquired, i.e., where the concern can at once make up complete and final lists. The following remarks apply equally to Forms 20 and 21.

The first step in writing up a property ledger is to select the unit, and as there is no uniform method of surveying which has been adopted throughout the entire United States, it is impossible to give forms applicable everywhere. The examples which follow are based on a United States township as being the most generally used.

In making the entries, the data should always be taken direct from original deeds and not from transcripts or memoranda. Every time a description is copied the probability of error is multiplied, and for this reason the record should always be made directly from deed to ledger.

For convenience in making up tax lists and tax returns, it is best first to arrange the lands by counties, as it is usually the county which assesses and collects the taxes. Having done this, let it be assumed that the unit within the county is the township. This unit is six miles square, and is ordinarily divided into 36 sections, numbered from 1 to 36, although it frequently happens that, owing to old grants or other similar causes, townships are irregular. In such instances the irregular sections are usually indicated by numbers from 37 upwards. As a rule, all the lands owned in any one section should be entered on the same sheet of the property ledger, although in some cases a finer subdivision may be made with advantage, as for instance, where different lands in the same section are derived from different sources.

The sheets of the property ledger should then be arranged in regular order, either of township or of range, some offices preferring one order and some the other. By the order of township is meant the following arrangement:

Section

1

Township

1

Range

1

,,

2

,,

1

,,

1

,,

1

,,

1

,,

2

,,

2

,,

1

,,

2

,,

1

,,

2

,,

1

,,

2

,,

2

,,

2

The regular section consists of 640 acres, divided into quarter sections and described as N.E. 1/4, etc., each of which is again subdivided into 40-acre tracts, described as N.E. 1/4 of N.E. 1/4, etc. When a whole section, or any portion consisting of more than 40 acres, is written on the property ledger sheet, the tract should be broken up into these forties, and the exact acreage be shown. It will be seen in the timber land record shown in Form 22 that 16 lines are provided, one for each "forty" in a section, so that if this plan is followed, the disposition of any forty may be shown without disturbing or rewriting the descriptions for the rest of the section. It will frequently occur that descriptions of small tracts in irregular sections are so complex that it is advisable to enter each one on a separate sheet as in Form 23.

Form 22. (a) Timber Land Record (face)

Form 22. (a) Timber Land Record (face).

Form 22. (b) Timber Land Record (back)

Form 22. (b) Timber Land Record (back).

Warranty Deed

From Charlotte H. Holland and husband

To Annie Eliza Skinner

Deed No. 5

Consideration:

$1,000.00 Dated: February 8, 1917

Recorded: Book "122" page 99

Conveys:

Part of the Richard or Mill grant

Beginning at a cedar stump on the left and S. bank of "Big Pottsburg Creek" from which stump a cypress tree 30 in. in diameter and marked with an "X" bears S. 25 deg. E distant 19 links, etc. (balance of description omitted).

Re-recorded: "3" " 236

Sec. 52, T. 2 S. R. 27 E. 31.77 acres

Warranty Deed

From Daniel E. Thomas

To Annie E. Skinner

Deed No. 6

Consideration:

$100.00 Dated: November 6, 1917

Recorded: Book "6," page 322

Conveys:

The most easterly 8 acres of that certain 15-acre tract conveyed by Uriah Bowden and wife to Cornelia Taylor, September 27, 1899.

Recorded in Book "A L," pp. 733-4-5-6, being part of the F. Richard grant

T. 2, S. R. 27 E. 8 acres

having been conveyed to the grantor by 0. B. Taylor, April 11, 1915.

Form 23. Record of Deeds Received.

It is sometimes required to form a bound-book record from a mass of deeds covering contiguous lands. In such cases it is convenient to use the listing slip shown in Form 24 for the description of the property. These slips measure 5 X 11 inches, and when printed can be put up in pads. They are written up, one for each deeded piece of land, arranged in order, and copied into the book, the entries being checked against the original deeds.

The property record outlined in Form 20 is one used in an office which controls large tracts of land of varied character and widely distributed. It is a bound book and its data was compiled by the use of the land list shown in Form 23, and, as no further lands were acquired, the bound-book form has not been found inconvenient, though the entries relating to taxes have overflowed the space allotted to them.