I want to start by saying that while I take the quality of my work very seriously; I don’t take myself too seriously. Sharing my mistakes is not a suggestion to make them or an endorsement of them. That being said, this a small humorous cautionary tale, “don’t do as I did.”
Who knew that deed records could sometimes be found online? Not me, at least not before my Boston University course. Thank you BU. After I learned how to research deeds from the comfort of my own desk chair, I decided to do a search for some ancestors in Maine. Whenever I get a new tool, I always want to practice. Learning about a new type of record and where to find it feels a lot like a magic to me. Kennebec County has a great website for deed research. I might have struggled with the lesson initially, but my good grade helped me feel pretty confident about the steps to take.
✔ Find the county register of deeds
✔ Install Java (this seemed to be necessary at both sites I searched)
✔ Clicked “name” and search
✔ Order the records
This was easy, and when names and towns I was looking for popped up with deeds and mortgages, I got really excited. I started putting document requests in my basket. This was proof that I had learned the lesson well. It was pretty satisfying as I closed the page and settled down to wait for the copies to come in the mail.
A few weeks later when there was a lull in my projects I started thinking that this was taking a long time to get the deeds. With so many things available on the web, we are getting used to instant gratification for information. I figured I better check back and see what the story was.
Well, so far I did not put “✔ Read directions” on the above list. That probably should have been first since after you check out you DOWNLOAD the records! I had unnecessarily waited those few weeks. It was a silly mistake and didn’t really cost me anything but time. Mistakes can be good learning opportunities and in this case it provided a few laughs and slightly delayed instant gratification.
I went back to the Kennebec County Maine Register of Deeds to re-trace my steps. Effective October 9, 2013, “you will receive 500 free images per calendar year.” The copies were pretty inexpensive when I did the research but free, how great is that?
Hopefully “✔ Read directions” has moved up to the top of the list. Hopefully.