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The Combs &c. Research Group's Deed Mapping Project is not only new, but still very much in a "beta-testing" phase. The following is a tentative "rough draft" of how we hope it will work.


(1) What is "Deed Mapping?" Collecting all possible Detailed Land Records (whether patents, grants, surveys, deeds or wills) for a specific tract(s) of land and all adjacent tracts; then "arranging" the tracts so as to determine (a) exact location of land; (b) ownership history; (c) neighboring land owners

(2) Why Deed Map? Learning Where Exactly our Combs lived, Who Exactly lived next door to them, who Lived on the property earlier, how it was acquired, how disposed -- may provide both/either ancestors and descendants; marriages of daughters, and "presumed" relationships.

EXAMPLE #1: If we learn that William KENDALL of Richmond and Stafford VA lived adjacent to Mason Combs of Richmond and Stafford VA, then the case for William KENDALL having been the same KENDALL who was husband of Mason's sister, Elizabeth, is vastly strengthened.

EXAMPLE #2: If we learn that Mason Combs of Richmond & Stafford VA lived "next door" to Joseph Combs of Stafford, we can probably quit looking in Maryland for Joseph Combs.

EXAMPLE #3: If we learn where William Combs of Richmond VA lived relative to where John Combs of Richmond VA lived, and it turns out to be much closer than heretofore thought, then we may also learn that the BROWNS who lived next door to William Combs of Richmond and the BROWNS who lived next door to William's brother, John Combs of Richmond, also lived a lot closer to each other than previously thought, and THEN if we find Josiah BROWN in Stafford VA living next door to William & Elizabeth Combs Kendall in Stafford, well... <g>

EXAMPLE #4: If we learn that one Joseph Combs of Loudoun Co VA lived on Goose Creek _adjacent_ to Col. Levin POWELL, then we can probably accept that that particular Joseph Combs was the same who was m to Elizabeth HARRISON whose sister m Col. Levin POWELL (Harrison Family Bible Record, a transcript of which we are still seeking).

EXAMPLE #5: If we find William Combs of Russell Co VA living adjacent to CODYS and STACYS, and ALSO living adjacent to Annah THOMPSON Combs' JACKSON and THOMPSON grandparents, then we've got a Hot Clue that "somehow" William Combs, Sr. who m Sarah MILLION, was kin to the Mason Combs family of Surry Co NC.

In other words, in addition to hopefully finding "inherited land," we can also "segregate" and "group" the Combs when we have multiples of same name in same county. (Francis of Hampshire VA another example?)

(3) Are We Deed Mapping only in Virginia? No. Deed Mapping has begun in Surry & Wilkes Co NC and Fayette Co PA, and is planned for a number of counties - northern or southern makes no mind - all it takes is volunteers. VA will be more involved initially primarily because the Virginia State Library and Archives has uploaded all early state patents and grants (See Below), thus for that state we already have full land descriptions.

(4) How to Deed Map?

(1) Collect all possible land records; (2) transcribe the land descriptions within the records in DETAIL. (3) Post to the Combs Research List the records transcribed and (4) we will start entering it into the DeedMapper program; following which (5) the resultant data can be posted to the list in text format PLUS to the web in the form of an actual map showing land history and neighbors (That's the plan anyway).


What is Needed for VA Researchers

(1) Go to the Combs Land of Virginia Web Site

This site contains abstracts of all Combs (& var. sp.) Land Patents for (a) the State of Virginia and all Combs Land Patents for (b) North Neck (NN) Virginia. (Two separate types of grants). Select one or more Combs Land Records from that site.

EXAMPLE (abstract as originally copied from VSLA Card Index):

13 Mar 1696/7. (NN VA 2:263) John Combs. 200a. Adjoining TANKARD, YARRETT and UNDERWOOD.

Note: The VSLA Card Index shows N. N. Grants 2, page 263. The above is our abbreviation of same.

(2) Go to the VSLA Land Card Index

This site includes (among others) 4 options:

  1. Land Office Patents and Grants - Surname Index
  2. Land Office Patents and Grants - Chronological/Numerical Index
  3. Land Office Grants, North Neck Grants - Surname Index
  4. Land Office Grants, North Neck Grants - Chronological/Numerical Index

Normally, the procedure is to first go to the Surname Index sites in order to obtain the Book and Page number of the record, and then to go to the Chronological/Numerical Index.

In the case of the Combs, however, we have already been to the Surname Indices of both (a) the State Patents and (b) the North Neck Grants and copied the information to the above-noted Combs Land of Virginia Index, which means that you can skip the Surname Index and go directly to the Chronological/Numerical Index, and then Click the Book and Page Number you need.

Note: When you get to the Book and Page Number you need, you will be advised by VSLA that you will need their (free) TIFF Viewer in order to view the actual copy of the record. This _may_ not be true. It is possible that the graphics program(s) already on your computer may be able to "read" the VSLA TIFF copy.

Suggestion: Try to read the copy first, and if that does not work, then follow the VSLA instructions provided for downloading and installing their TIFF program, after which your computer will be able to use the TIFF Viewer to open and view copies of the original patent/grants.

(4) Once you have the copy of the patent/grant on your computer screen, Click Print for a hard copy.

(5) Transcribe the Land Description of the hard copy in DETAIL, including the Book and Page number and the date at the top of your transcription, and Post same to our Combs Research List.

EXAMPLE, using the above John Combs' Record, of a transcription including a Detailed Description of the Land:

13 Mar 1696/7 (Richmond Co VA NN Grants No. 2, 1694-1700, p. 263) John Combs 200 Acres beg. at a hickory by the river side on the line of a patent of one William YARRETTS now in the occupation of Mr. TANKARD and running along said line north, northwest, 12 purches to a stake and white oak thence along another line of YARRETS north, northeast, 3/4 of a degree East 320 purches to a red oak corner tree to UNDERWOOD & YARRETT, thence along a line of UNDERWOODS North 9 degrees, West 15 purches to a stake by small hickory thence West 15 degrees, North 102 purches to a white oak and a branch, thence south, southwest 3/4 of a degree West 308 purches to a Chestnut Oak upon the bank of the river on the Northwest side of a branch near Indian Needs Old Field, thence down the river its' several courses to the first mentioned station containing and being now laid out for 200 acres go together ye to have used to hold ye yielding and paying 4 shillings yearly ye provided ye dated the thirteenth day of March one thousand six hundred and ninety 6/7. W. F. GB. (Excerpted from original by Denise Mortorff, 1998)

What are the Important Parts of the above record? (1) Obviously, the Name, Date, Book and Page Number of the record are necessary, but most important to the Project will be: (2) the Detailed Description of the Land itself. It is this Detailed Description of the Land that is entered into the DeedMapper program, resulting in both a History and Map of the Land Tract.

Note: As each Virginia record is transcribed and posted to the list, we will update the Combs Land of Virginia web page so that none of us will be doing duplicate transcription work. We will also create web sites for each "Combs Neighborhood" such as our website (initial report) for the above John Combs' Neighborhood, which brings us to the next step:

(6) The Land of the Neighbors. As will be seen when you view the above web page, we didn't stop with John Combs' Land, but went on to extract records of the neighbors. In the case of the above web site, you will see that not all of the records include details yet. Some of the records at that site are complete, including Detailed Land Descriptions whereas other records still need to be viewed and printed from either VSLA or the Sparacio Record Book transcriptions or copy of the original record so that we have Detailed Land Descriptions for those sites also.

(7) How do you find the neighbors' land? (a) Once you have transcribed and posted a Detailed Combs Land Transcription, we can check our pre-existing resources to see if we already have the book and page number for the neighbors' land. If so, we'll post same here to the list. If not, then you will need to go back to the VSLA website to the applicable VSLA Surname Index to find the Book and Page number for the neighbors, land, then go to the VSLA Chronological/Numerical Index, and view, print, transcribe and post the Detailed Land Description for the Neighbor's land.

Sound complicated? Well, it is... sort of. But only at first... kind of like riding a bicycle? <g> In fact, once you've followed the above steps One time, and after that, it's a Piece of Cake -- particularly since several of us on the Combs Research List have resources to provide Book and Page Numbers for you in advance for both North Neck Grants and State Patent/Grants so that you don't have to "wade thru" the VSLA Surname Index, but will be able to go straight to the record page you need.

(8) As the Detailed Land Descriptions are posted, we will create and keep updated a web site for each "Combs Neighborhood" so that we know "where we're at" at all times.

(9) In addition to the Detailed Land Descriptions, one more item we'll need will be the actual Maps for each "Combs Neighborhood. If possible, it would be helpful if those contributing to this project were to be able to figure out from your land descriptions which map is the appropriate one for your "Neighborhood."

Using your Detailed Land Description, IF it includes name(s) of creeks, rivers, mountains, etc., you can then go to USGS Mapping Information where you enter the name of the state and the stream, mountain (land feature), click Submit, and will be shown a map that will include the Latitude and Longitude of your Combs Neighborhood.

Note: Some of these are "easy" to find. Others are almost impossible without a Lot More Data. If it turns out not to be easy, not to worry: We can probably use other means in addition to the Detailed Land Description to figure out where the land is.

EXAMPLE: In the case of John Combs' Land above, no stream is named; however, because we have numerous later deeds in regard to Underwoods' Mill (later Foxhall's Mill), and because we know that the Underwoods bought out Foxhall's lease of the Mill, and then sold out to the Bristol Mine Works, we were able to find what we believe is the "Combs Neighborhood" because we believe(?) that it's on what is now called Bristol Mine Run --on the County Line between present-day King George and Westmoreland Cos VA.

In other words, as noted above, we have so many additional resources in Virginia, that by working together, we can probably find out where the land is located anyway.

NOTE: Also note that in Virginia, in addition to the Combs Land of Old Rappahannock above, we have also just begun mapping a second site, that of Goose Creek in Loudoun Co, VA

Questions? Email the Combs Research List


Last updated 07 Aug 2007
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