by Local History Librarian David
For much of the twentieth century, an updated Abstract of Title was required when transferring real estate. Such a document was a compilation of all the transactions made for a specific piece of real estate, thus tracing the owners back to the early 1800s. The purpose was to ensure against any encumbrances on the property, guaranteeing a clean title.
By the mid 1970s, Abstracts of Titles were becoming less common. Replaced by title insurance, many lenders dropped them as a requirement. Homeowners no longer had to update the abstract when selling their property, and many were discarded. Those that survive are valuable documents providing a glimpse into the past.
They provide information on who owned the property and when. They can indicate when structures were constructed or how the land was utilized. In Ohio, they trace ownership all the way back to when a land grant was made by the U. S. Government. Bexley falls in the Refugee Tract, and the first owners of these lands were refugees displaced from Canada and Nova Scotia during the Revolutionary War. They received grants to the land we now call Bexley as compensation for the land they lost for supporting the colonies.
The names of the refugees and founding fathers of the United States can be found in the first several pages of an Abstract of Title. In the pages that follow, the history of a plot of land is traced all the way to its subdivision into housing lots as the community of Bexley emerged.
Do you have an Abstract of Title for a piece of Bexley property? Bexley Public Library would like to borrow yours to digitize. The digital copies will be presented in an online database accessible for researching the history of your house and property. Help share history with your neighbors. If you are interested in loaning your Abstract of Title, please email BPL’s Local History Librarian at email@example.com