Charles Jones Blog


Searching of county land records requires knowledge, experience and good instincts.  More in-depth searches that move past the “typical” 60-year timeframe of a county search or require substantially more investigation are known as Project Searches.  A seasoned searcher will know after a short time if a search request falls into this category.

A good example of a need for a Project Search concerns a utility company that owns thousands of properties.  Anytime an easement is needed such as for county road widening or a land lease is needed for a cell tower, the deed for the specific property in question must be found and researched.

Situations can become evident in the course of a “routine” county search that require the more in-depth investigation of a Project Search - and accordingly require an experienced searcher:

  • Multiple tracks and chains of title - A current deed on a piece of property may show just one block and lot. However, the searcher discovers during a 60-year search that at some point in the past the same property was actually divided into ten different blocks and lots. A consolidation deed may have been recorded unifying all the lots and blocks. However, the searcher must still go back and research the chains of title for ALL of the individual blocks.
  • Land locked properties - Properties that are surrounded by other properties may show no road access on research materials such as tax maps, historical filed maps and aerial maps. A property cannot be insured if there is no road access. The searcher must go back and look for evidence of road access at some point in time. Reasons for current land locked properties can be past subdivision or land changes over time, such as a past farmland that utilized a dirt road but no longer exists.
  • Gore – A gore is a missing piece in a deed’s property description; it is an area of the property without known ownership on current maps and documents.  Gores can cause issues when ownership is questioned and adjacent property owners disagree. A gore can also create a land locked property if the gore lies along a street or entry way.  The searcher must investigate back as far as needed in order to find proof of ownership of the piece of land in question.

While all county records searches require skill and expertise, Project Searches pose unique challenges which only an experienced searcher can tackle. Investigating such situations means that the searcher cannot limit his or her efforts to the walls of the county record rooms. Our searchers at Signature have been in the counties for a long time, and possess the institutional knowledge of the counties that is needed in order to accurately complete these searches. We can handle your NJ County Search Project no matter how deep it goes. Large County Search projects are often more complex and go much deeper than meet the eye. Don’t let a shallow search sink your closing date. If you have questions about county or Project Searches, please contact me at mclickner@signatureinfo.com.

The information provided is for informative purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice or a legal opinion.  For legal advice, please consult an attorney.

Malinda Clickner

Manager, County Search Division

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