18 August 2016

Daniel Fenn and Hopkins Rowley Vermont Land Records

Land records can provide relationship information on our ancestors and I wanted to make sure I didn't overlook these important records before I head to New England to conduct research on my Fenn and Rowley family.

Specifically, I was looking for Daniel Fenn's and Hopkins Rowley's Vermont land records.  I am trying to identify the parents of Daniel Fenn, who married Huldah Rowley, and to provide proof for Hopkins Rowley being the father of Huldah. Research already conducted shows Daniel Fenn and Hopkins Rowley in Pittsford, Rutland, Vermont and Shoreham, Addison, Vermont.

First place I went to look for Vermont land records was Family Search.org.  I ordered the following land records.

  1. Microfilm No. 28954-Shoreham Grantee and Grantor Index v 1-18
  2. Microfilm No. 28689-Pittsford, Vermont Index to Land Records (1770-1951) and Vol. 1, 1761-1790.
I photographed (old microfilm machines at my local Family History Center) the pages of Fenn's and Rowley's that bought or sold land. I went home and compiled a Deed Index chart for each surname and location and ordered the land records I needed. I ordered the following land records.

  1. Microfilm No. 28690-Pittsford Vermont Land Records, 1787-1801, Book 2,3.
  2. Microfilm No, 28957-Shoreham Vermont Land Records, 1812-1822, Vol. 5,6.
  3. Microfilm No. 28958-Shoreham Vermont Land Records, 1822-1829, Vol. 7
  4. Microfilm No. 28959-Shoreham Vermont Land Records, 1829-1851, Vol. 8
I spent hours going through these land records at my local Family History Center that is only open four hours a week.  One of the Shoreham volumes was so frustrating because the microfilm pages did not show the page numbers, so I am sitting there counting page by page and finding one and having to start counting from there.  I had to do this volume in two trips because I was getting a headache from concentrating so hard.  It might have been my bifocals, who knows.

I found land records for Daniel Fenn and Hopkins Rowley. Hopkins Rowley even sold land to Daniel Fenn.  I was so hoping for information about their relationship, but no luck.  I did find a couple of instances where Hopkins Rowley sold land to his sons, which was stated in the document, Silas and Myron Rowley.  Now, if I could prove Silas and Myron were the brothers of Huldah, I would be happy. 

Finding Daniel Fenn's parentage is going to take further research, but I found a few Fenn names in early Pittsford, Vermont that look promising.

Occasionally, I would find evidence of previous residences.  For example, Jonathan Rowley of Richmond, Berkshire, Massachusetts bought land in Pittsford, Vermont in 1773.  Jonathan Rowley is the father of Hopkins Rowley.  This was the first time I saw a record showing Jonathan Rowley having a connection to Richmond.

I haven't transcribed all the land records, but that is the next thing I will do.  I want to have it done before I leave for New England.

I have left land records for later in my research and I would encourage researchers to look at them sooner, maybe right after using Census Records.  It helps place a specific person in a specific place. In addition to providing locale, land records can provide relationship information.  Land records are some of the most important records researchers can use when conducting good genealogy research. You never know what you will find in land records, so don't overlook them.  


  1. Good post. I like the way you tell what you researched as well as what you found. Land records take time to research, and many pass these by because you have to go to microfilm.

  2. Thank you, Grant. I agree land records takes time, but I have found familial relationships in them and it is worth every hour I have spent pouring over the microfilms.